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How can I get my car to start?

My much-babied, recently inspected 2008 Scion xD won't start! When I got in the car yesterday morning and turned the key in the ignition, it made a buzzing/grrrr sound and some of the dash lights come on -- but that was it, the engine wouldn't turn over. I tried again about a half hour ago, and it did start up after a little hiccup, so I thought maybe yesterday was a fluke. But when I got in the car just now to actually go somewhere, it refused to start up again. Now the radio won't even turn on, though most of the dash lights still do. I tried rolling it down the hill, pumping the breaks, all the stuff non-mechanically-minded me can think of. Help! What can I do right now to get it to start and to get the engine to turn over? [more inside]
posted by rue72 on Dec 19, 2013 - 18 answers

Bought a used lemon. Now what?

How can I end the suffering of having purchased a terrible used car under duress? [more inside]
posted by anonymous on Dec 17, 2013 - 15 answers

How long should I wait before refinancing my car?

How long should I wait before refinancing my car? [more inside]
posted by Evilspork on Dec 15, 2013 - 4 answers

Good Toyota shop in Los Angeles for maintenance and repairs

Recently moved to the South Bay area of Los Angeles County and I am looking for a good place to take my Toyota Corolla for any maintenance and repairs it may need. [more inside]
posted by jayder on Dec 13, 2013 - 6 answers

getting a car ready for winter

My friend has 2 cars; a '77 Toyota sedan, and a "06 Subaru Forrester. Most of her driving is in the city and some highway. I have brought up the idea of winterizing them both; tuneups, de-icer, scraper, better wiper blades, windshield fluid, tires, more weight in the rear, sand, shovel, emergency flash, cell phone charger.......she has let me know the tires are not changing. Any ideas for making the cars, and her time in them, safer and more secure? Best battery? Oil?
posted by ebesan on Dec 11, 2013 - 23 answers

Which car should I keep?

I own two cars. I need only one. But which one? Both are very reliable and always have had regularly scheduled maintenance. Their resale values are both tiny. Overall I am not partial to either one. So tell me which one I should keep in the driveway. Most importantly, tell me WHY. [more inside]
posted by Longtime Listener on Dec 4, 2013 - 30 answers

A good mechanic near New Orleans for a '94 4Runner?

This is a long shot, but does anybody know a good mechanic in the New Orleans area who'll work on my old 4Runner? I'm having a hard time finding one for some reason. [more inside]
posted by Scientist on Nov 29, 2013 - 5 answers

CD's not playing properly in my car?

When I burn a CD, some songs that sound fine in iTunes on my computer will inexplicably have between 3-20 seconds of 'silence' at the beginning, thus causing my car's CD player to skip them if I don't fast forward to the actual music...WTF? (do my best to give some Tech Specs inside!) [more inside]
posted by PeppahCat on Nov 25, 2013 - 11 answers

How might I squeeze a little extra mpg out of my old truck?

I've become mildly obsessed with trying to improve the fuel efficiency of my old truck. I've already done all the basic things and I realize that I'm fighting physics at this point, but what else might I consider if I wanted to make a bit of a hobby out of it? [more inside]
posted by Scientist on Nov 19, 2013 - 28 answers

The alternative is removing either the dashboard or my knees...

I really want to have something small and sporty but I've just had my heart broken by discovering i'm too tall for the MR2, MX5 and GT86. Is there anything available in the UK that I will be able to drive? [more inside]
posted by sodium lights the horizon on Nov 16, 2013 - 17 answers

1994 Toyota 4Runner with bad muffler/tailpipe – what to do?

My 1994 Toyota 4Runner (V6, RWD) has a bad muffler and/or tailpipe. It runs loud, but not undriveably loud. Today I took a good look under there for the first time since buying the truck (pictures within) and I would like some advice on the best and most cost-effective way to proceed. Bonus mystery switch question at end. [more inside]
posted by Scientist on Nov 12, 2013 - 15 answers

What should I keep in my truck's toolbox?

So I have an old truck. I'd like to hear your suggestions for tools, spare parts, fluids, etc that I should keep on hand in the truck either in case something goes wrong or in case I find myself having to do something tool-related while I'm out of the house. Hit me with your best suggestions! [more inside]
posted by Scientist on Nov 5, 2013 - 20 answers

Car Insurance- Get them involved or Don't get them involved?

3 years ago my husband backed into a concrete pole in a parking garage while away on business. It has rendered the hatch back useless. We are now moving and need the hatch back more than ever. For many reasons we never informed our insurance company and never fixed it. This is what our insurance is for; right? [more inside]
posted by m. says: on Nov 5, 2013 - 19 answers

A car like a lightning bolt?

Earlier this year, while I was in Germany, I noticed an unusual car. I've never seen anything like it, and my best description of it is that it looked like a lightning bolt. Any ideas what it might be? [more inside]
posted by Put the kettle on on Nov 2, 2013 - 10 answers

Keep the beater car, go without a car, or buy a (new to me) car?

My boyfriend has a 2002 Ford Taurus with 300,000 miles on it. It burns oil and has some impact damage on the front so that you have to remove the plastic grill to open the hood. It needs an inspection sticker and getting one will require a new windshield and possibly some other repairs. He has just purchased a new vehicle and wants to wash his hands of the Taurus. He says I can have it if I want it. [more inside]
posted by domo on Oct 30, 2013 - 28 answers

Trading In A Car Purchased Last Year with 4-Year-Loan

So my girlfriend and I broke up. And the car I purchased last year was for us- larger than I would need myself, more expensive than I would purchase on my own. Can I get rid of this or trade it even though I still owe on it for three more years? [more inside]
posted by tunewell on Oct 25, 2013 - 10 answers

I don't know how to google for the car stereo features I'm looking for

I want to buy a new car stereo, but have no idea how to google for the features I'm looking for. What I really want is a double din stereo that has a usb port on the front where I can plug in my iphone 5 and play it through the stereo. Now comes the hard part, I want to control the iphone from the iphone. Not through the stereo interface. In otherwords, I want to use the USB port as an Aux out. [more inside]
posted by bswinburn on Oct 21, 2013 - 10 answers

When is E85 worth it in a FlexFuel vehicle?

Our vanpool just switched to a 2014 Dodge Grand Caravan. It's a FlexFuel vehicle and we'd like to know when/if it makes sense to use E85 fuel. We live in Minnesota. Our typical commute is 40 miles at highway speeds. Environmental concerns will be weighed, but so will economical ones.
posted by advicepig on Oct 9, 2013 - 8 answers

Cargo van options with decent gas mileage?

I'd like to find a newish, reliable cargo van with under 100,000 miles, good gas mileage (at least 15+ city, 19+ highway), and a high top. The first two are strongly preferred, the high top could go either way I suppose. My budget is under $18K. [more inside]
posted by jsturgill on Oct 8, 2013 - 2 answers

What's a car for a tall dad, with two carseats and two dogs?

I'm the dad of a growing family - a two-year-old, a baby about to be born, and a wife. And two small dogs. We need a family car, and are looking for something that will accommodate: * Dogs in the back (a wagon or hatchback) * Two rear-facing carseats. * A tall (6'3") man in a front seat. [more inside]
posted by YoungAmerican on Oct 2, 2013 - 34 answers

Taking action about a dangerous road/intersection

Near where I live in Boston, there is a dangerous road, and a particularly dangerous intersection. I'd like to take action to have someone take steps to remediate it. Can you recommend specific resources and data to use to make the most compelling call to action? [more inside]
posted by Admiral Haddock on Sep 27, 2013 - 9 answers

Is there an Apple of carmakers?

Which carmakers these days (that sell in the US) have really good build quality? I'm thinking high quality interior materials, excellent fit and finish, as well as well thought out interior components like control layouts, displays, and compartments? Maybe carmakers (or models) that are known for little surprising details? I'm now starting to look for a smaller sedan or maybe hatchback/wagon under $40K. Some of the models I'm looking at so far are the Volvo S60/V60, Subaru Legacy/Impreza, Toyota Prius, Audi A4, maybe BMW X1.
posted by jroybal on Sep 26, 2013 - 25 answers

How can I fix up an old VW Beetle on an almost non-existent budget?

I don't have a lot of money, or experience, or tools, and about a year ago I asked about fixing up an old Fiat. Most people told me that wasn't a great idea, and that I should look into Volkswagens, and since then I've fallen in love with the VW Beetle. My question is this: what are some ways I can (1) find a VW Beetle that is a good candidate to wrench on that probably won't need everything but the chassis replaced and (2) get into the "old Beetle enthusiast" community without having a ton of disposable income? [more inside]
posted by epilnivek on Sep 26, 2013 - 7 answers

Am I associated with the criminal underworld?

I've noticed some odd things about some acquaintances' vehicles recently. One acquaintance has multiple (new/new-ish) vehicles that have never been fitted with license plates (this is in the US, in a state where one gets temporary registration before receiving plates mailed from the DMV). Surely this is not simply to save on registration fees, or to avoid red-light-camera tickets...? Another acquaintance purchased a new Hyundai from a dealer and it has the standard "objects in mirror are closer than they appear" written exclusively in Korean on the passenger side mirror. That's not normal for the US, is it? Will definitely not act on any ideas; just curious.
posted by karbonokapi on Sep 25, 2013 - 16 answers

Fix it or Sell it

Over the past month or two my car has started exhibiting several problems, and I'm trying to figure out if it's worth the expense and hassle of repairing it or start looking for a new car. [more inside]
posted by backseatpilot on Sep 24, 2013 - 21 answers

A remote control car with a "booster"

What is it and where can I find one? [more inside]
posted by pretentious illiterate on Sep 20, 2013 - 2 answers

I don't know how to buy a used car, but I need to buy one soon.

The family's cars all got busted around the same time. They need to be replaced. I, individually, need to buy a used car. This will be the first car I buy on my own account. I have a tight budget, and I can't afford a mistake. I don't want to buy a money sink, but I don't want to sink all my money up front, either. I don't know cars at all: How can I find a good deal? What should I avoid? Details inside. [more inside]
posted by Rustic Etruscan on Sep 12, 2013 - 25 answers

How should I cope when sharing a car with a dangerous driver?

I've recently had occasion to take a multi-hour drive with someone who who very consistently drove in a matter that felt very dangerous to me. There was a lot of tailgating, sudden lane changing, and more than a few last-second turns. I sat quietly in the back seat. [more inside]
posted by Sokka shot first on Sep 5, 2013 - 24 answers

Should I dump my car?

We have a 2002 Mazda Protege5 with 140k miles on it. The repair costs seem to be escalating and we are trying to decide whether to keep it on the road. [more inside]
posted by vilcxjo_BLANKA on Sep 4, 2013 - 19 answers

Bumper Stickers!

I want to slather the tailgate of my truck in bumper stickers. I am a science-minded, fun-loving, environmentalist, social-justice-oriented, politically-progressive dude who fancies himself a connoisseur of the pithy phrase. (So, pretty much your average MeFite.) What are some of your favorite bumper stickers that you think a chap like me would appreciate, and where can I buy them? [more inside]
posted by Scientist on Aug 28, 2013 - 36 answers

What kind of vehicle should we buy for our vintage clothing business?

A friend and I run a small-but-growing online vintage clothing business. We've recently branched out into showing at vintage truck shows in the Chicago area. As of now, we've been using a friend's Saab hatchback. Unfortunately, this isn't a really a sustainable option for us; it's also a bit of a tight fit for our 200ish garments, 2 - 3 clothing racks, bust, and table. We're interesting in purchasing a used vehicle so that we can continue to travel with our merchandise. Ideally, we'd like something that is reliable, safe, and has some extra space to grow alongside our business. Unfortunately, our budget is on the low side: we'd like to spend less than $5000... the cheaper the better. Thoughts? Recommendations? Should we rent instead of buy? Thanks for sharing your wisdom! [more inside]
posted by moxie_milquetoast on Aug 27, 2013 - 12 answers

Maxima vs Acura TL smackdown

Debating a new car. Nissan Maxima versus Acura TL? Or something else entirely? [more inside]
posted by treehorn+bunny on Aug 15, 2013 - 9 answers

Big & Tall People of Metafilter -- what do you drive?

A very good friend of mine is car shopping, and to say he's getting frustrated is an understatement. He's a pretty big and tall guy, obviously wants to be able to fit comfortably in his car, is looking to buy new, and is having absolutely no luck finding a car that matches his requirements. [more inside]
posted by cgg on Aug 14, 2013 - 47 answers

How do I remove smoke oder from a car?

My mom gave my daughter a great deal on a car previously driven by my step-dad. However he was a smoker, and he smoked in the car for 10 years. How do I deoderize the interior and remove the stale smoke oder?
posted by COD on Aug 2, 2013 - 19 answers

What factors are making my car uncomfortable for passengers?

We have a peugeot 5008. As a driver I find it a lot of fun to drive because for a hybrid 7 seater its pretty nimble and responsive. However, as a passenger, the car is a vomit inducing roller coaster ride. [more inside]
posted by postergeist on Jul 30, 2013 - 12 answers

Is it socially acceptable to tell my friends about a new car ?

I just bought a new car and was wondering whether it would be tacky to put up a picture of it on Twitter/FB or a blog.
posted by touareg on Jul 28, 2013 - 35 answers

My car is officially a money pit. Should I sell it or keep it?

When do you know the time is right is to give up a car? Special snowflake details inside. [more inside]
posted by Calzephyr on Jul 27, 2013 - 26 answers

Best 'responsible' used car for less than $10k?

What are the best commuter cars from the past few years that I could get for less than $10,000 today? Snowflake details inside. [more inside]
posted by empath on Jul 26, 2013 - 31 answers

Could a cigarette lighter USB charger drain my battery?

If something is plugged into the cigarette lighter port of a car while it is off (that is, no key in the ignition), can that thing inadvertently draw power (and possibly drain the battery) especially if it is cheap or faulty? Or does turning the car off remove that possibility entirely?
posted by Feel the beat of the rhythm of the night on Jul 26, 2013 - 9 answers

We're a 95% match

How do I go about test driving a car that is perfect for my needs—in terms of price, personality, condition and fit into my life—except that I don't drive manual? [more inside]
posted by littlerobothead on Jul 24, 2013 - 39 answers

Frustrating Car Question

I have a huge car financing question that is giving me a headache. I plan to travel soon so I wish to pay off the amount I owe on a car that I've financed through Toyota Financial Services. This didn't seem like it would be such a huge deal, but then I run into this gem. [more inside]
posted by ishrinkmajeans on Jul 22, 2013 - 19 answers

Best and safest way to privately sell a car.

I am in Missouri. I have a car that I'd like to sell, but I'm concerned about how to do the transaction safely and securely. It's a desirable used car on which I owe about 12k. Similar cars with more mileage are selling in the $17k-$18k range (trade-in is in the $15k range). We're going to replace this car with a lease with payments I'm happy with, so I'd like to cash out that equity. [more inside]
posted by Jacob G on Jul 14, 2013 - 9 answers

Are there still car stereos with decent knobs?

How can I find a decent replacement stereo for my 2005 Audi TT roadster? One with real knobs and no laser light show? [more inside]
posted by YoungAmerican on Jun 30, 2013 - 8 answers

Bargaining chips for buying newish used car

Is purchasing a used car outright with cash a bargaining chip for negotiations? What add-ons should I turn down from the dealership? [more inside]
posted by Ms. Toad on Jun 27, 2013 - 17 answers

Which antique/classic cars seat 8 people?

My brain and googlefu is having a hard time with this one. People used to reproduce more back in the day, therefore, shouldn't antique cars seat more people? Does anyone have a list or know of which classic/vintage/antique cars seat at least 8 people. I'm thinking driver, passenger, and two rows of three.
posted by allthewhile on Jun 9, 2013 - 27 answers

Reluctant commitment-phobe driver seeks short term bulletproof wheels.

Can you help me solve my rapidly deteriorating transportation situation? I am a car dependent person who hates everything about cars, and my relatively beloved 1985 Mercedes 300 seems to have finally had it. In spite of the child's voice in my head screaming I DON'T WANT TO, I need to figure out how I'm going to get myself to and from work...maybe too many details below! Personal experience with car lease takeovers as well as general life advice about solving this problem like a grown up especially welcome! [more inside]
posted by justjess on Jun 8, 2013 - 8 answers

How can my friend return a too-expensive car in California?

...or alternatives [more inside]
posted by jander03 on Jun 5, 2013 - 6 answers

How can I let my parents drive/insure a car I own in North Carolina?

I'm trying to figure out a way to have a car that I own insured and driven primarily by my parents. I can't transfer the title, as there's still a lien and I will be making payments. However, my parents need a car urgently, so I need to get them to a good, insured state with a reliable automobile. Does anyone have experience with this?
posted by sonic meat machine on May 31, 2013 - 11 answers

VW - Y/N?

Is buying a used VW (or Audi) really that bad of an idea? [more inside]
posted by Venadium on May 24, 2013 - 31 answers

PT Not Cruising

I'm having overheating trouble with a 2001 PT Cruiser recently given to me by my father-in-law. [more inside]
posted by gerryblog on May 18, 2013 - 12 answers

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