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.
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]
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.
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]
What is it and where can I find one? [more inside]
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]
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]
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]
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]
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]
Debating a new car. Nissan Maxima versus Acura TL? Or something else entirely? [more inside]
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]
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?
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]
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.
When do you know the time is right is to give up a car? Special snowflake details inside. [more inside]
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]
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?
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]
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]
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]
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]
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]
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.
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]
...or alternatives [more inside]
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?
Is buying a used VW (or Audi) really that bad of an idea? [more inside]
I'm having overheating trouble with a 2001 PT Cruiser recently given to me by my father-in-law. [more inside]
My 1998 Volvo S70 has been making an audible whirring/grinding noise when driving and braking. It's intermittent (though lately, it's been happening daily), unable to replicate reliably, occurs when driving at slower speeds (less than 35 mph), and occurs multiple times within the first 15 minutes or so of turning the car on and driving. No dashboard lights have shown up and the mechanic can't replicate the problem or figure out what's happening. What's going on? (additional details inside) [more inside]
The Prius Plug In looks great, and I have been waiting for it to come to Illinois since it was released last year. Toyota's website said for a year that it would be released nationally "in 2013." Recently that has been changed to say "availability in additional states is currently under study." Do any gearheads know what has caused the delay and when (if?) it might become more broadly available? (Bonus question: what is so difficult about releasing it nationwide? Low production? Regulatory issues? It seems like it shouldn't be that hard.)
I have somehow managed to live in SF for several years without a parking permit, but I am going to need one shortly. Can I get an annual parking permit without changing my car's registration information? [more inside]
I reply to a fair number of L.A. travel questions here and many of the answers (including mine) often contain dire warnings about traffic. This happens even if traffic isn't directly related to the question being asked. So, visitors to our fair city, how bad was the traffic really, and what information/advice can I give to newbie LA tourists who drive? [more inside]
I seen this oil at home depot called "Powermate Non-Detergent 4-Cycle Engine Oil - 10W30" my oil knowledge is at a beginner level but I thought multiweight oils were a emulsion. How do they make a 10w30 oil if there is no detergent in it?
What questions can I have answered over the phone that will help me significantly narrow down a 25-car field of options? [more inside]
I have up to $2000 at my disposal, and need a sedan or 5-door hatchback/wagon that can accommodate drivers 4'9" - 5'. My early 2000's mid-size American sedan does have a tilting steering column. However, since it does not telescope, when the driver adjusts the seat forward, the steering wheel is too close to their chest to be safe, and they still can't see much over the steering wheel. Using seat cushions means not having enough reach to use the pedals. Any advice to models to keep an eye out for or solutions pertaining to height would be appreciated! [more inside]
As one enters one's second half century, one likes to think that one has mastered little things in life -- like selling a car. Apparently not. [more inside]
My wife wants to switch from her iPhone to either a Windows Phone or Android device, but one sticking point she has is the ability to use a single, charger/aux cable in her car. Right now she has a cable that charges her iPhone while also being able to connect to her stereo via auxiliary cable. I think it's a Kensington product. It has three connectors built into one cable. She prefers this over having two separate cables to manage. I need one with a mini-USB connector rather than the iPhone connector. So far, I can't seem to find such a creature, if indeed it even exists. My Google-fu is weak, I suppose.
I once watched a Japanese movie on a flight but can't for the life of me remember its name. It is about a mysterious Chinese investor trying a hostile takeover of a large Japanese car maker. A retired legend of the Japanese car industry is brought back from retirement to try and save the company from being sold to the Chinese dude.
So I've finally bought a car of my own (Alfa Guilietta) and in the boot (trunk) is a 12v outlet marked "180W maximum". Can anyone come up with ideas about what to use this for? It seems relatively pointless to me. [more inside]
In an insanely generous offer, my husband's parents are planning to give us their used Toyota Prius sometime next month. My understanding is that they plan to get a new car, don't really need the money from selling it, and are concerned that our current car is getting to be unreliable and thought we might like their old Prius when they replace it with something else. My father-in-law recently had it appraised and says it's worth $11,000. It has 125,000 miles on it. It's silver. That's all I know about it, but they're the type of people who pay very careful attention to maintenance schedules, drive their vehicles gently, and do all the recommended and required repairs and maintenance at the dealership, so it's probably in very good condition. [more inside]
There is a good chance that I will be the owner of a new car sometime soon (like the next few months or so). Looking for a good balance between fuel efficiency and inexpensive to repair (something I have not really thought about until recently, regrettably). You are not a car expert, likely, but what would you advise from what you know? Details, including what this car replaces, inside. [more inside]
I have a 2005 Mazda 6 with about 170,000 miles. Over the past few days it first developed a weird, low-toned clicking sound whenever I made a turn (left or right), which seemed to come from the steering column area... maybe around my feet under the car. I drove it yesterday and today, and that sound has seemed to turn in to a grinding. It's also making a similar sound whenever I press the brakes. From what I could see the power steering fluid is above-level, but the reservoir is also really dirty which makes it hard to check accurately. To complicate matters, I was at a tire shop over the weekend (thought it had a leak - someone had just let the air out) and they had taken the tire off and put it back on - not sure if they're at all related. [more inside]
I wasn't there, but the good Samaritan left a note on my car. She saw the man hit my car - it appears he is a neighbor. If I go talk to this man, I want to be fully prepared - both to convey that I know he's the culprit, but also to respond in case he tries to deny or simply stonewall me. Any tips for things to do before I talk to him, or ways to respond if he's not cooperative? Thanks.
I want a sports car. I live in Winnipeg. This does not compute. [more inside]
I've come into possession of a large box of hood ornaments from late 40's- early 50's American cars. What cool/fun/funny thing can I do with them? [more inside]
Here's one I've had no luck finding: A) in the movies, is there a name for those films they used to project behind actors in a movie car to make it look like they were actually on the road? You know the ones: the slightly out of focus view out the rear window. Maybe a chase scene with the bad guy car in pursuit... Or just plain ol' traffic... B) are any of these background films archived online? Tried Prelinger archives but no luck.
How is it that newer model cars are able to go increasingly longer distances and periods of time without regularly scheduled service? [more inside]
Was I being creepy / out of line when I offered this girl a ride? [more inside]
I just got a new Hyundai Elantra and I want to keep it looking good for the long term, inside and out. What can I do to protect and preserve it? Is there some kind of film that can be applied to the hood to keep it from chipping? Should I Scotch-Gard the seats & carpet? I'm in AZ, how do I protect it from the sun?