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What is a good non-mileage based car service schedule?

I own a 2004 Mazda3 5-door. I love my car and love not having car payments and want to keep it running well as long as possible. I get oil changes fairly regularly, but I don't know what other maintenance or inspections I should be getting. [more inside]
posted by misskaz on Aug 27, 2014 - 12 answers

Buying a used European car for $5k or less after a car-less decade: y/n?

Used car filter: after a decade without owning a car, I'd like to get back into the game. I'd prefer to spend $5k or less. I understand this means older cars/higher miles. I find myself drawn to early 2000s VW Golfs/GTIs, late-90s BMW 300 series, '90s Saabs, early '00s Volvos. Are any of these types going to be substantially more reliable or cheaper to maintain than others? [more inside]
posted by toomuchkatherine on Jul 12, 2014 - 38 answers

Automated WordPress deployment strategies

I'm trying to help my team establish an automated workflow for managing WordPress sites (themes, plugins, databases, the whole shebang). This is going to be a long journey and I need advice on what tools will give us the easiest entry point to a long-term solution. Capistrano? Grunt? Other? Lots of special details inside. [more inside]
posted by philosophygeek on Jul 11, 2014 - 2 answers

Film Camera Maintenance

I start a darkroom class next week, and want to get my cameras up to snuff before then. They haven't been used in decades, and have been sitting in a pile in a bag on a dusty shelf in the meantime. The models are: two Minolta SRT101s (likely from the 1970s), one Mamiya MSX1000 (also likely from the 1970s), and one Franke & Heidecke Braunshweig Compur-Rapid Heidoscop-Anastigmat 1:2.8 (likely from the 1950s, though not sure). [more inside]
posted by rue72 on Jun 21, 2014 - 10 answers

Is this electrical feature dangerous?

When I'm sitting in the room with the breaker box to my house, I hear a series of short buzzes, like "bzzzt." The noise seems to be coming from the breaker box, and I notice that a faceplate to one of the switches is missing (breakers were last switched off a month or two ago, when new heat pump was installed.). Here is (or should be) the image (if not, there's just copper surface where the breaker faceplate should be):
posted by mmiddle on Jun 20, 2014 - 11 answers

Accidentally drove 20,000 miles without changing the oil... Now what?

I bought a new Kia Sorento in July of 2012. I then stupidly put 20,000 miles on the car without a single oil change. The car is now burning oil at a rate of roughly 1 quart every 300 miles, so I know I broke something (my dad's theory is a damaged ring; roughly a $5k repair for engine rebuild). The car came with a great warranty: 3 yr/36k mile bumper-to-bumper, and 10 yr/100k mile power-train. Unfortunately, I have voided that warranty by not preforming the most basic maintenance. So, I'm not sure what to do now. Options I see are: -Take it to the dealer for repair and hope they don't ask/notice/care what I've done. -Take it to the dealer and confess my complete ineptitude. -Go to a random auto shop for repair (another act that will void my warranty). [more inside]
posted by lmpatte2 on Jun 8, 2014 - 23 answers

Sanity check my co-op inspection.

I just had an engineer inspect the co-op we put an offer in for, contingent on a satisfactory inspection. I don't know anything at all about repairs (so we'd contract out for anything big) so help me figure out if any of the stuff below is possibly a huge dealbreaker. [more inside]
posted by griphus on May 30, 2014 - 25 answers

How do I look after my bike?

I recently bought a new hybrid bike which I will be using regularly for leisure rides. What do I need to know about basic maintenance (cleaning, lube, degreasing etc) to keep it in best shape. [more inside]
posted by jontyjago on May 15, 2014 - 11 answers

How to de-pill a rug?

I have two large (9'x12') area rugs that have pilled, like a sweater, but all over. There is a layer of pilling, like a web, over the surfaces of the rugs entirely. I was wondering if it would be a huge mistake to try hair clippers on the surface, sort of like shearing a sheep, like a giant sweater shaver. The rugs are synthetic. Thoughts?
posted by juniperesque on May 8, 2014 - 6 answers

What do I do about this hole in my yard?

I discovered a hole, roughly 10 inches across, in my yard (at a house I just moved into). It's basically a pipe going far far down, and had a stone top resting over the hole, loosely covering it. It reminds me of the Baby Jessica well, which makes me want to get rid of it, fill it in, cover it up. But I don't know what it is. Who might I call to figure out what it is, what it's for, if I can just remove the whole thing, or if it's necessary to keep it as-is?
posted by davebug on Apr 25, 2014 - 28 answers

What should I be doing to extend the life of my car to the year 2056?

What should I be doing to extend the life of my car to the year 2056? Seriously, I was gifted a 15 year old car with 110k on it. It is in great shape and I drive less than 5k a year (I work at home). What I am looking for are pointers to keep the car in good shape for a long time given the infrequent use. [more inside]
posted by lampshade on Apr 24, 2014 - 18 answers

What, besides scheduled maintenance, should I do to maintain my car?

We recent got a new-to-us used car. Other than following the manufacturer's scheduled maintenance, what should we do to maintain and maximize the life of the car? Examples inside. [more inside]
posted by Admiral Haddock on Apr 10, 2014 - 17 answers

Finding an apartment without the nasty trash compactor odors

This is a question about NYC real estate, specifically about a building maintenance issue. After many years of renting, I am in the market for a co-op apartment in the five boroughs of NYC. There is a problem with my current building that I am willing to tolerate as a tenant that would be a complete deal-breaker as an owner The issue is this: [more inside]
posted by jason's_planet on Apr 6, 2014 - 6 answers

Plumbing woes

I'm asking this Q for a friend and I really hope someone will be able to help. We moved into our house about two years ago. We've had problems with our sprinklers in the past and when we had them repaired, a sprinkler expert told my wife there was "something wrong" with how we get water to the front since they couldn't shut off the water. That didn't make sense to me, but now that I've tried to fix the sprinklers in the front myself, I've encountered the same problem. When I turn off the shut off valves near the water meter (what I think are the main valves), nothing happens, though it does turn off the water to the backyard. When I need to repair plumbing inside the house, the valve close to the house does the trick, but again, I can't shut off water to the front sprinklers. I have no idea how the sprinklers were installed, but it is getting frustrating and I'd like to know how to go about troubleshooting this. Is there any way to identify where a valve might be to shut off the water to the front sprinklers? Here's a simple diagram I drew. Thank you!!!
posted by BitterYouth on Feb 17, 2014 - 17 answers

Every 3000 Miles We'll Screw You Over

After some frustrating dealings with the local Jiffy Lube, I want to be able to handle some car maintenance stuff myself. What should I be able to handle? [more inside]
posted by theichibun on Jan 21, 2014 - 15 answers

Is Serious Furnace Cleaning Necessary?

I have an old style furnace that has been cleaned (by vacuuming) on a mostly annual basis for about 20 years. Should I pay the big bucks to get it scraped out by a professional? [more inside]
posted by Kevin Street on Jan 21, 2014 - 9 answers

Costs of pricey home repairs/replacements? (& IDing them before buying)

We're first time homebuyers, and getting a little overwhelmed thinking about all the things we might have to fix and/or replace in whatever house we buy, and how that should affect what we're willing to pay for a home. What are the most expensive (and/or frustrating to fix) things we should be keeping an eye out for and factoring into deciding whether to make an offer on a house and the offer price (i.e. adjusting up/down compared to comparable homes)? [more inside]
posted by EmilyClimbs on Jan 21, 2014 - 13 answers

Cleaning My Cloth/Leather Bag

I have owned a cloth messenger bag with leather trim around the edges for a couple years. Over time, the cloth has gotten somewhat dingy (no issues with the leather). I am unlikely to find another bag like this, so I want to keep it clean, if I can. Laundromats won't touch it because of the leather and I can't machine wash it for the same reason. I have tried scrubbing it by hand with different things - vinegar, lemon juice, and bleach (all diluted in some amount of water) to no avail. Internet searches haven't turned up many other suggestions. Are there any recommendations for other things to try?
posted by C'est la D.C. on Jan 12, 2014 - 10 answers

Maintaining significant weight loss: how do you do it?

A year and a half ago, I lost a large amount of weight, i.e. 75 lbs, or about 30% of my body weight on a very low calorie diet, under medical supervision. Although I was not able to follow the official maintenance program after moving to a new city, it was relatively easy to keep things stable for the first year. But, about four months ago, I notice that some of the weight--about eight lbs worth--had crept back on. Although I've lost five of them, the last three seem determined to stick around. This, combined with the dismal statistics on long-term maintenance (97% of people regain within five years), has me pretty scared. Have you beaten the odds, and if so, how do you do it? Also, what is the balance of food vs. activity in your regime? [more inside]
posted by navizzar on Dec 26, 2013 - 19 answers

What regular maintenance should I schedule for our new home?

We bought a house, yay. It’s a small 1910’s bungalow with gas appliances and everything basically works. The foundation’s been replaced in the not-too-distant past and it’s ready for an earthquake. I've never been anything but a renter, so what kinds of regular maintenance should I be thinking about to minimize the risk of catastrophic emergency repairs? Plumbing, gas, heating, electrical, sewers: what’s a good schedule, and what kinds of things do I ask for to make clear that there’s nothing particularly wrong but I’d like to keep it that way? I looked at this old question, but most of the interesting-sounding links are dead.
posted by migurski on Nov 12, 2013 - 10 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

My apartment's radiators are loud and letting out steam. Is that normal?

We've just moved into a new place and it's now gotten cold enough to turn on the heat. Two of the radiators are really loud with air escaping, and often have visible steam coming out of the valve on the side. I've never seen radiators do this. Is this normal? Is this safe?
posted by msbrauer on Oct 31, 2013 - 9 answers

Engagement ring bought online-- need local jeweler for maintenance

My engagement ring is from Blue Nile (online Canadian retailer). My partner saved a lot of money and I absolutely love it. Apparently, I'm supposed to get it "serviced" every 6 months; however, I do not want to send it back to Blue Nile for this. Who do I go to locally to get this done-- cleaning + checking that nothing is loose/has been damaged? Do local jewelers provide this service for rings that haven't been purchased from them? [more inside]
posted by spicytunaroll on Sep 25, 2013 - 11 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

Help me build a basic apartment tool set!

I am at the stage of life when I need to move from a random collection of tools to an organized tool set that equips me for basic home/apartment maintenance. What do I need? Budget: just-finished-grad-school poor. [more inside]
posted by philosophygeek on Aug 26, 2013 - 32 answers

Bike fixes on the cheap?

What's the cheapest place in Philly that I can get a decent bike tune up done? [more inside]
posted by Flashbullzeye on Aug 21, 2013 - 8 answers

Bike costs - am I doing it wrong?

It's really expensive to maintain my bike! Is this normal, or should I be doing something different? [more inside]
posted by Frowner on Aug 8, 2013 - 38 answers

Sustainable forestry management aka the loveliest leg hair ever.

How do you keep your hairy pins (and bits) in tip top condition? [more inside]
posted by pipstar on Aug 2, 2013 - 14 answers

What monthly maintence fee is appropriate for a 10k software project?

I'm a very inexperienced freelance programmer, who recently delivered a completed software project to a client. They liked it, and asked me if I'd consider "a small annual fee for three years to help with technical issues once it goes live". That sounds fine to me! Except that I have no idea what to charge here - I'd guess 10% p/a but that's pure speculation. Is there some sort of industry standard I could refer to for this sort of thing? If not, what do you typically ask for?
posted by piato on Jul 26, 2013 - 9 answers

What Should I Know About My New In-Ground Pool?

So we just bought a house with an in-ground chlorine pool. And we know basically NOTHING about pool maintenance. Can you help school us? [more inside]
posted by joelhunt on Jul 8, 2013 - 9 answers

What should I be careful of when buying a car from a friend?

A co-worker/friend is selling me his old car as he's upgraded to a newer model. What are things I should be aware of and get checked out early so I don't accidentally buy a lemon and ruin the friendship? [more inside]
posted by Silentgoldfish on Jun 18, 2013 - 24 answers

Motorcycle filter: Will I ruin my bike if I ride it with these problems?

I just paid $650 to have the carbs cleaned out on my 4-cylinder Honda Magna (94). They also found rust in the tank so they said they fixed that. I picked it up tonight and it's running terribly. It feels like it has the wrong gas type in it. One (or more... all?) of the cylinders is kind of knocking or just being loud, it feels like it can't hold an idle, when I shift into gear it feels like I'm lugging the engine. I have to give it way too much throttle to even get it into gear. I don't know what they did to mess it up, and I intend to have a word with them when they open again on Tuesday. (I mean, did they even test it after they put it back together?) In the mean time, tomorrow is Monday and I need to get to work. Could I potentially break things or mess things up further if I try to ride in? And what is the protocol on bike repairs. My feeling is that they've messed it up--I paid them $100/hr for the work because I trusted that they'd do a really great job. They didn't, so they should take responsibility and fix whatever they broke for free. Am I wrong on that?
posted by brenton on Jun 16, 2013 - 12 answers

Breaking out of a dinner rut

I try to plan my recipes for the week in advance, but lately I've been feeling really uninspired. Nothing's grabbing my attention. I'm looking for suggestions for cookbooks, websites, recipes, or books in general that might help me get my cooking mojo back. [more inside]
posted by synecdoche on Jun 3, 2013 - 14 answers

What's under the manhole covers in the street?

Could the ninja turtles live in Atlanta? What's under all those manhole covers in the street? Is there a giant tunnel under there? Could a homeless person live down there? And why are they constantly digging new holes in the street--what's under the road that a city worker can't access through a manhole, since there are so many? [more inside]
posted by wondercow on May 28, 2013 - 14 answers

Achievement Unlocked - Massive Debt

I'm becoming a first-time homeowner on Monday. What surprising things (or unexpected challenges) did you learn in your first year as a homeowner that you think it would be good for me to know? The house is in Wisconsin, in a Milwaukee suburb. Thanks so much!
posted by gerryblog on May 28, 2013 - 29 answers

Shopping list for a new house

We get the keys to our new house on Wednesday. Hooray! We're trying to come up with a list of things that we, as long-time renters, might need to get for the house. I'm not talking about furniture or anything like that, but rather stuff like a lawn mower, a ladder--that kind of thing. Some of the stuff will become obvious when we need it, of course, but is there a list of things that no homeowner should be without?
posted by synecdoche on Apr 28, 2013 - 39 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

What is the point of street sweepers?

It seems to me that street sweepers don't "clean" a street - they just move dirt around. Do they suck up dirt somehow? Or is the point of them that they raise up ground-in dirt so that it can be washed away by rain later? Really, what is the point of them?
posted by Mechitar on Apr 11, 2013 - 19 answers

Changing gears on a single speed bike

My new single speed is a bit too easy to ride. What are my options to make the gear harder? Specifically, what should I ask a bike shop to change and how much should it cost? [more inside]
posted by Silentgoldfish on Jan 19, 2013 - 8 answers

Takin' care of boot...ness

I own these Frye boots, now how do I take care of them? [more inside]
posted by griphus on Dec 11, 2012 - 10 answers

how to clean glass and powder from the carpet in my apartment?

Fluorescent bulbs explosion -- how to clean glass and powder from the carpet? Broken glass is everywhere. And carpets are everywhere. [more inside]
posted by Oli D. on Nov 29, 2012 - 10 answers

How do I clean this necklace?

What is the best way to clean this necklace with intricate filigree? The stone is simulated amethyst and the setting is silver (back) and marcasite (front). [more inside]
posted by _Mona_ on Oct 8, 2012 - 8 answers

Spare parts for an ex-Japan Toyota Hilux Surf?

How (in the hell) do I find spare parts for my '02 Toyota Hilux Surf? Difficulty factor: car in Kenya, originally made for Japanese market, wife in US and could bring parts back. [more inside]
posted by allkindsoftime on Sep 18, 2012 - 7 answers

Is it easy to clean and grease the bearings on a back-pedal brake bike?

Can I grease the bearings in a wheel with a back-pedal brake without wrecking the whole thing? [more inside]
posted by nevan on Jul 28, 2012 - 7 answers

Should I upgrade the hardware on my Macbook or just give it a good cleaning?

My 2009 Macbook Pro has grown a little too much hair and is in need of a trim and some general cleaning. Could you tell me if my proposed scenario sounds reasonable or is it overkill? [more inside]
posted by Rewind on Jul 17, 2012 - 12 answers

I hate to clean

I am a messy person who doesn't like to clean. Should I put more effort in being cleaner, or just accept this part of myself and get over the guilt? How? Or is this a psychological problem? Or maybe it's normal. [more inside]
posted by lacedcoffee on Jul 8, 2012 - 58 answers

Building a deck used to just mean one thing, now we have ALL THESE OPTIONS.

To use composite decking or not to use composite decking, that is the question. [more inside]
posted by Medieval Maven on Jun 21, 2012 - 19 answers

What do I need to know to improve

If I wanted to make a paying hobby out of restoring and updating old bikes, what are some resources that would help me improve my skills, research the right bikes/components, and find the right places to buy them? [more inside]
posted by Scientist on Jun 11, 2012 - 22 answers

Car brakes "slip" while idling?

My car's brake pedal slowly depresses almost all the way to the floor while my foot is resting on it at a stoplight. It never used to do this. What's going on? [more inside]
posted by killdevil on May 27, 2012 - 30 answers

What maintenance tasks should I be doing on my family's Macbooks?

I need to fix up my family's two Macbooks for the first time in three years. What needs to be done? [more inside]
posted by Comic Sans-Culotte on May 21, 2012 - 10 answers

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