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Visitors to L.A: Was traffic better or worse than you expected?

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]
posted by Room 641-A on Apr 29, 2013 - 60 answers

How does multi weight non detergent motor oil work?

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?
posted by john123357 on Apr 29, 2013 - 7 answers

What questions do I ask when buying a used car?

What questions can I have answered over the phone that will help me significantly narrow down a 25-car field of options? [more inside]
posted by nile_red on Apr 28, 2013 - 14 answers

I need a very inexpensive beater car for short drivers.

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]
posted by Giggilituffin on Apr 26, 2013 - 14 answers

I sold my car... sort of. Car sale gone awry... now what?

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]
posted by ecorrocio on Apr 22, 2013 - 18 answers

Is there a 2-in-1 charger/aux cable for mini-USB phones?

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.
posted by jackypaper on Apr 18, 2013 - 5 answers

I give up. What is the name of this Japanese movie?

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.
posted by dcrocha on Apr 15, 2013 - 4 answers

12v doodad ideas

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]
posted by hardcode on Apr 14, 2013 - 16 answers

What can I expect in owning a used Prius?

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]
posted by booknerd on Apr 12, 2013 - 21 answers

Post bail-out: Good MPG Car from 2013

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]
posted by JoeXIII007 on Apr 11, 2013 - 24 answers

Weird grinding from steering column

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]
posted by codacorolla on Apr 9, 2013 - 19 answers

Guy hit my (parked) car last night. I have a witness. What should I do?

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.
posted by malhouse on Mar 25, 2013 - 25 answers

Sports cars for Canadian winters?

I want a sports car. I live in Winnipeg. This does not compute. [more inside]
posted by WinnipegDragon on Mar 20, 2013 - 26 answers

An embarrassment of hood ornaments

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]
posted by cosmicbandito on Mar 18, 2013 - 24 answers

I think we're beIng followed!

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.
posted by ecorrocio on Mar 14, 2013 - 8 answers

5,000 miles....7,500 miles...10,000 miles....

How is it that newer model cars are able to go increasingly longer distances and periods of time without regularly scheduled service? [more inside]
posted by Dansaman on Mar 7, 2013 - 15 answers

Stranger danger

Was I being creepy / out of line when I offered this girl a ride? [more inside]
posted by WhitenoisE on Mar 4, 2013 - 46 answers

Help me keep my car pretty!

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?
posted by mattholomew on Mar 4, 2013 - 10 answers

Please don't be dying or badly maimed

What are these problems with my car? Including: an intermittent moaning noise when my foot is not on the gas, some startup strangeness, and very rare RPM revving in park. [more inside]
posted by nrobertson on Mar 3, 2013 - 10 answers

Mechanical Filter: Follow-up question: '93 del Sol won't start

A few weeks ago I asked this question. Consider this a follow-up question. I have a 1993 Honda del Sol 5-speed Si that has a "mystery" problem of sometimes starting and sometimes not starting. It's always a cold-start problem. I put the key in the ignition, switch it to ON until the check engine light goes on, the fuel pump pressurizes, and the main relay clicks, and then crank it. Sometimes it will fire up right away. Other times the engine will turn over but not ignite. Once it is started, it will start up fine for the rest of the day. It only gives me trouble when the engine has gone completely cold and has been left untouched for upwards of four hours. A new issue has developed since I first posted my question. Even after getting the car started, sometimes just a few minutes later during a sharp acceleration (approaching 4000rpms or more) the engine stalls out. I have to pull the car over and start it up again. It always starts up fine after that and will usually not stall out again. I had this issue looked at by several mechanics, most of whom hadn't the slightest clue what it was or willingness to investigate. The last mechanic I took it to said it was a faulty ignition switch and replaced it . . . but that has done no good whatsoever. Also, just FYI, the spark plugs are relatively new. Any thoughts are appreciated!
posted by fignewton on Feb 28, 2013 - 10 answers

Convert to another car?

Should I buy this car, or find another one? [more inside]
posted by anastasiav on Feb 28, 2013 - 18 answers

Which certified pre-owned sedan would you prefer - 2008 Mercedes C300 or

I'm in the market for a pre-owned sedan with a budget of about 20k and the 2 options that I have come down to are a 2008 Mercedes C300 and a 2007 BMW 335i. Being a total newbie about cars, I have very little idea which one should I go for. They are both certified pre-owned hence I am hoping there should not be a major problem with either one's condition. Please advise as to which one would you prefer and what are some things I should watch out for while buying them?
posted by libbrichus on Feb 20, 2013 - 16 answers

New Car Maintenance Checklist

So for my old car I had this fantastic maintenance checklist, but I just bought a 2013 Honda Accord Sedan Sport and I can't find anything like this checklist. I've asked the dealer, I've searched websites but I just can't find it. I don't want to only depend on the system to tell me when to do maintenance, can you help me out?
posted by xicana63 on Feb 18, 2013 - 3 answers

Toyota Prius owners- what should you've known when you bought your car?

We're likely going to buy a used (2006 or 2007) Prius soon. Any advice from Prius owners would be appreciated! E.g., problems you've had that we can ask our mechanic to check on before buying; unexpected likes or dislikes about the car; your experience with aging batteries; regrets you didn't buy a different hybrid instead? Thanks all!
posted by b_alex_a on Feb 17, 2013 - 24 answers

Can you tell me whether this used car seems like a good deal?

Can you tell me whether this used car seems like a good deal? I'm currently out of the country, but I'm looking to buy a used Toyota 4Runner. I would like to buy a truck/SUV that will last me FOREVER. In other words, I want to keep it as a second car even when it has 200k+. I think that the 4Runner might be good based upon what I know. [more inside]
posted by denverco on Feb 9, 2013 - 6 answers

Other driver suggested settling outside insurance, now ignoring me.

I rear-ended someone last month while on vacation and the other party, an elderly couple, suggested not involving insurance. The police were not called. After supplying an initial estimate that I agreed to pay, they suddenly realized that they are entitled to a car rental, too, and after I agreed to that they stopped answering their phone and email. What now? [more inside]
posted by anonymous on Feb 8, 2013 - 11 answers

Mechanic filter: 1993 Honda del Sol sometimes starting and sometime not

About six weeks I purchased a 5-speed 1993 Honda del Sol Si. Overall, I'm very pleased with the transaction. It's in great shape and runs very nicely. However, ever since a few days after I bought it, I've had a very frustrating recurring problem. [more inside]
posted by fignewton on Feb 5, 2013 - 26 answers

Tried a "Car Concierge" to buy a used car. Didn't go well. Now what?

I need to buy a used car. I hate the process, am afraid of dealerships, and am easily talked into things — so I hired a "car concierge" buying service to do this for me. But it didn't work out like I thought and I felt pressured to spend more than I wanted. Should I give up? If so, how do I deal with buying a used car, when it completely freaks me out? [more inside]
posted by amoeba on Feb 5, 2013 - 10 answers

Should I buy my friend's car? How can we fairly value it?

One of my oldest friends is selling his 2002 VW Passat Station Wagon (GLX V6). He bought it new and has taken good care of it (I've known him for 30 years; he takes care of things). He has all of the car's records. As it turns out, I'm in the market for a used car. The car drives beautifully. He is listing it at $6K. But a thorough pre-purchase inspection uncovered several problems, for which he is willing to take the price down. How can we find a fair value for the car? And should I buy this Volkswagen at all? [more inside]
posted by betsbillabong on Jan 30, 2013 - 28 answers

What do we need to know about window tinting?

My partner and I want to get a car window tint job. We're more concerned about quality (materials, won't bubble, etc.) than price, so what do we need to look for? One well reputed company in town is offering "basic color stable film," "high performance stable film" and "CTX ceramic," in ascending order of cost, but we don't know one from the other. One company offers LLumar and another offers 3M--how do we choose? Is quality more or less proportional to cost? Look for a lifetime warranty? Is ceramic the preferred material? Any advice would be appreciated.
posted by jroybal on Jan 27, 2013 - 6 answers

What to expect when returning a leased car?

We lease a Honda and the lease is ending on February 27. This is our first time leasing and we are nervous about the end-of-lease vehicle inspection. Should we expect to have to pay? [more inside]
posted by miaou on Jan 23, 2013 - 8 answers

2010 Ford Fusion Brake Question

The rear brakes on my 2010 Ford Fusion, which is still under warranty, have worn out in what seems to me like a premature and unusual way. I have included the details inside and would like your opinion on whether this is an issue I should press with the dealership and/or Ford, or whether I should just fix the brakes and move on. [more inside]
posted by Juffo-Wup on Jan 23, 2013 - 12 answers

Car guy needs a wagon that's fun to drive

An Audi A4 is a bit small and I can't import and RS6, what else should I look at? [more inside]
posted by VTX on Jan 16, 2013 - 34 answers

Snow tires in Seattle?

Are dedicated snow tires a good idea for Seattlites who only occasionally visit the mountains? [more inside]
posted by rouftop on Jan 9, 2013 - 8 answers

I think there's a crossed wire...or my car is determined to die

How could changing a car's battery cause the panel lights to come on when turning the car OFF? Or is everything in my car falling to pieces coincidentally at the same time? [more inside]
posted by Eicats on Jan 4, 2013 - 13 answers

Sharing a car with roommates. What's the right price?

I bought a new car. What is a reasonable and fair way to split car usage expenses with roommates? [more inside]
posted by chrysanthemum on Dec 31, 2012 - 16 answers

Car that can carry a bike

I want a car where I can throw my bicycle in the back without taking it apart, and that has 4WD and higher than average clearance. What car satisfying these criteria has the lowest operating cost? (fuel + maintenance) [more inside]
posted by mnemonic on Dec 27, 2012 - 20 answers

Finding a mechanic for an old car in a new city (Toronto)

How can I find a trustworthy mechanic in a new city (Toronto) without breaking the bank? [more inside]
posted by cacofonie on Dec 19, 2012 - 9 answers

Subaru Impreza or Hyundai Elantra?

Hyundai Elantra GT hatchback '13 or Subaru Impreza hatchback '13? [more inside]
posted by Sal and Richard on Dec 9, 2012 - 12 answers

Or, for the same price, we can get a 1977 Dodge Challenger...

Kia Spectra Hatchback vs. Kia Rio Hatchback vs. Mazda3 Hatchback vs. Hyundai Accent Hatchback? [more inside]
posted by 256 on Dec 3, 2012 - 14 answers

2010 Honda Insight - good value?

How's the reliability and driveability of the 2010 Honda Insight? [more inside]
posted by toastchee on Dec 1, 2012 - 9 answers

Is there any alternative to an SUV or minivan?

Fuel efficient car for dog and future baby? [more inside]
posted by wannabecounselor on Nov 25, 2012 - 15 answers

Booster Seat Advice Needed

It's time to switch my kids from regular car seats to booster seats and I can't figure out which to buy or what features I should be looking for. If you've gone through this, can you please share your experiences to help me make a decision? [more inside]
posted by zarq on Nov 18, 2012 - 8 answers

What do I do with this dead car?

My car (97 Oldsmobile Aurora in pretty bad physical condition) is more or less a lost cause. The fuel pump is shot, the battery's dead, and it won't turn over because of those two things working in conjunction. It also has no working AC or radio. It's sitting on the street, as it has been for the past several weeks. I need to do something with it and get rid of it but I have never had to do this. Never had to even sell a car. What do I do?
posted by Modica on Nov 14, 2012 - 14 answers

Do we have to drive a tank?

Since car safety ratings are based on equal sized cars, how can I maximize safety while minimizing size? [more inside]
posted by anotherpanacea on Nov 11, 2012 - 13 answers

Should I fix up an old Fiat?

I want to fix up a fun little old car, but haven't really worked on cars much before. Where should I start? [more inside]
posted by epilnivek on Nov 9, 2012 - 25 answers

Filing a claim with the city maybe

Messed up my car! City construction work was involved. What can I do? [more inside]
posted by AceRock on Nov 1, 2012 - 8 answers

get it right

Any MeFites with experience adjusting to an imported right hand drive vehicle? [more inside]
posted by mannequito on Oct 25, 2012 - 19 answers

Spend the Dough to Make it Go?

1. The truck's broke. 2. It would cost about half it's meager value to fix. 3. I'm ready for a new vehicle. So, do I........? [more inside]
posted by ecorrocio on Oct 24, 2012 - 10 answers

Help me figure out why my car is making horrible sounds?

I am worried about the sounds emanating from my car. Could it be an alignment issue? [more inside]
posted by Loto on Oct 16, 2012 - 14 answers

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