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CornHolio
May 20, 2001



Toilet Rascal

[modedit, EPW 5/21/2012] This thread used to be in BFC and was focused on the financial aspects of buying a car. With its move to A/T, I'm adding some guidelines:
1. READ THE OP!
2. If you need a car recommendation, tell us what you're looking for in a car. Here is a template for you to fill out:
Proposed Budget:
New or Used:
Body Style: (e.g. 2 door? 4 door? Compact/Midsize/Fullsize Sedan? Truck? SUV?)
How will you be using the car?: (Do you tow things? Haul more than 5 people on a regular basis? Have a super long commute? How are you going to use this vehicle?
Do you prefer a luxury vehicle with all the gizmos?)
What aspects are most important to you? (e.g. reliability, cost of ownership/maintenance, import/domestic, MPG, size, style)
3. If you do not live in the U.S. you should probably say so because what's available can vary a lot.
[/modedit]

Let me preface this by saying I'm not an expert on cars. I've never done an engine swap, owned an Alfa Romeo, or drank antifreeze. I love cars, and I love working on cars, and I work as an automotive engineer. But most of the following is based on my personal experience, and I cannot vouch for its accuracy 100%. Feel free to argue or correct me.

I'm obviously not the financial guru some of the other people in this forum are. I realize most cars are just a rapidly depreciating asset, and people with money don't want to put anything more than what they absolutely have to into them. However, cars are most people's second biggest purchase, and its important to know how to get the most out of them. Unfortunately, for a car to last a long time, you need to spend money to maintain it. Sometimes a little bit of maintenance can go a long way.

Q: Should I buy a new or used car?
A: This really depends on what you want out of a car. It's true that every car depreciates a large amount as soon as you sign your name to the title or lien. This is because its no longer a 'new' car - its 'used' even if you haven't driven it yet.

The benefit of buying a new car is that you know its entire history. It has a full warranty, and you can usually special order special combinations or options to your liking. You also get better financing buying a new car.

The benefit of buying a used car is that it is much cheaper initially. For $20,000, you can buy a base-model midsize car new, or a 3-4 year old luxury car. To lessen the 'risk' of buying a used car, I suggest doing at least one of the following:
- taking the car to an independent mechanic to be checked out
- making sure the car has complete maintenance and repair records
- buying a car with a remaining factory warranty on it
- buying a 'certified pre-owned' car

Q: How do I make sure I don't get screwed when buying a used car?
A: Knowledge is power. Pick out one or two vehicles that you're interested in. Say, Civics and Corollas. Do a shitload of research on each - visit internet forums, parts websites, edmunds.com, dealerships for repair information and quotes, etc... and find out what the problem areas are. Every car has problem areas, even Hondas and Toyotas. Sometimes only certain years are affected, sometimes certain options, etc... When you go to look at a car, check the list of problem areas to see if they've been addressed, and either adjust the price accordingly or move on. A good example is the beater Volvo we bought recently. The evap core is known to crack and at a dealership it's a $1500 repair cost. The car we bought had the core replaced last year. We would not have bought it if the evap core hadn't broken yet.

Of course, if you start researching a car and find out its (or at least certain years are) a pile of crap, thats when you back away. For instance, for the first couple of years the Ford Focus was terrible, but once they got everything worked out it was a great car. If all you can afford are the earlier ones, look elsewhere.

If the car has a timing belt, find out if its an interference engine, and if so, find out when the belt was replaced. On 90s-00s GM cars, if you have the 3100 or 3400 engine, find out if the intake manifold gasket has been replaced. If you have a BMW, find out if the cooling system has been replaced. These all tend to be very expensive repairs, and finding a car that has had them done recently can save you a lot of money.

If you want quick information on a particular car, post a thread in AI asking about it. 'Recommend me a car' threads are bannable, but asking for information about a single car or for comparisons between a few cars are encouraged.

Q: What's better - fixing my current car or replacing it with another beater?
A: This is something thats argued over and over. I've always been in favor of fixing your current car as long as it won't cost more than the car is worth. If you have a 30 year old Honda and the head gasket goes, you're probably better off spending the money on a different car. However, for most cars, even if it seems to be nickel and diming you, I'd say just fix it. You'll continue driving a car whose history you know and you'll know it has some new parts.

Q: What maintenance should I perform preventatively on my car to make it last?
A: A number of things:

Most importantly is your timing belt, if applicable. If it breaks and you have an intereference engine, you will need major, expensive repairs.

Oil changes are also important, every 5,000 miles on regular oil and probably every 7,500 on synthetic. The argument over regular vs synthetic oils is too in depth for me to go into here. Check your oil quality and quantity every fill-up.

Brakes are also important. Check or have someone check your rotors for scoring and your brake pads for amount of remaining material.

Suspension and steering components are important to check occasionally. Check bushings for tears, shocks for leaks, springs for broken coils, tie rods for play, control arms for play, etc... These will usually fail gradually, but if they start going really bad it quickly becomes a safety issue. I've seen wheels fall off of cars from broken suspension parts.

Filters (air, oil, fuel) should all be replaced at the intervals recommended by the manufacturer. Same with serpentine belts, spark plugs, and anything else your owners manual suggests. I've heard people say to replace oxygen sensors preventatively, but I don't agree with that, since they're usually very expensive and as they go bad you'll usually just see slightly worse fuel economy and maybe slightly less performance.

Most of this maintenance is fairly cheap and easy to do yourself. The cost of not doing this maintenance can be very high and in some cases dangerous.

One of the best things you can to is listen and feel for strange noises and vibrations. Sometimes its nothing, but usually a sudden change like that is indicative of something not working right, and it should at least be checked out before it can cause more damage.

Most of the engine accessories, drivetrain parts, and electrical system can just wait until something fails.

Q: What cars are better to buy, financially, than others?
A: People will always recommend Hondas and Toyotas because they're super-reliable. This is true, but they command a premium used because of this. And they still require regular maintenance, and things do still break on them. I think they're really good because they can last a very long time while being neglected, unlike many other cars.

American cars depreciate a lot initially but you can usually find great deals on 1-2 year old American cars. Quality-wise, it really depends on what you get but they've made great strides recently. I'd say they tend to be about a generation behind their Japanese competition, even today.

Korean cars are also showing a hell of a lot of progress lately, and they're backed by a huge warranty, but this is all very recent. I would stay away from most used Korean cars like they're the plague.

European cars are great if you can work on them yourself. Usually they're built to be serviced easily and cheaply, but dealerships will charge an arm and a leg for everything they can. Higher-end cars will be more complicated and parts will be more expensive, and this is a combination of the lower run quantity of the parts as well as the increased complexity of the parts. Do not buy a ten-year-old seven-series and expect it to be cheap. The car itself may be only $6,000, but new it was $70,000+ and if you have to buy parts for it, their cost will unfortunately reflect the original high cost of the car. This is true for any once-was-expensive-but-now-is-cheap car.

This is all kind of vague stereotyping, and there will always be exceptions.

Q: How can I learn to work on cars?
A: Invest in some basic tools. A socket set, a wrench set, a screwdriver set, some ramps, a Haynes manual for your car, maybe a multimeter. Learn how to change your oil. Then tackle brakes. If something breaks, see if you can fix it yourself first. Most places will still fix your car if you bring them a part you've bought elsewhere. You usually don't have anything to lose by trying something yourself. And with labor rates at at least $60/hour, you can save an enormous amount of money by doing things yourself.

Harbor Freight is a fantastic place to buy cheap tools. Quality can be questionable, but if they're your first tools, you can wait to buy those Craftsmen until you know exactly what you're doing.

Q: Can I save money by using 87 octane even though my car wants 93?
A: No. Any money you might save will be offset by the worse fuel economy you'll see. Modern cars retard their timing to make up for the lower octane, but older cars can knock and you can even have some engine damage. The same is true for the inverse: Do not put in a higher octane than what your car recommends. Octane is NOT fuel quality, and putting in a too-high octane will also cause the car to run less efficiently.

Q: What's wrong with buying a Honda for $500 and driving it until it breaks?
A: Sometimes this works, and sometimes it doesn't. It's a big risk. If you've had the car checked out and its in good condition, be my guest. However, I can almost guarantee that no $500 Honda is going to be in very good condition.

First, there's the issue of reliability. The car will likely strand you often. Second, there's the issue of safety. If the car's brakes, suspension, steering, fuel, or lighting systems are compromised, it could very easily become a safety issue not only for you but for other cars on the road. Third, you don't know how much you'll get out of it. You may go 50 miles only to find out it won't go any further. And then you've spent $500 to go 50 miles, which is pretty drat uneconomical.

This is something that I would advise against, even if you know people for whom it has worked. If you need a beater, usually $2000-$3000 can get you something that'll last awhile with minimal maintenance and you can usually sell if after a few years and regain most of that money back, since its depreciated almost fully by that point.

I'll answer any additional questions to the best of my knowledge, and I certainly welcome the input of others. I was asked to start this thread by a number of people in this forum, so hopefully this is helpful to some people or at least gets a healthy argument going here instead of in my own thread.

---The following was not part of the OP---

Dave Ramsey posted:


A car lease is basically renting a car. You pay $400 a month and at the end of the new car lease, you turn it back in. If you want to buy it, you are buying it for what they estimate at the beginning of the lease to be the market value. At the end of the lease, it’s called the residual value. If you pay $400 a month for 60 months, you pay $24,000 before turning it in. The car will not have gone down in value more than that, because the car companies would lose money if it did. When they get the car back, you will have paid them more than the car has depreciated during that time.

During that time, you’re maintaining the car as if you owned it. You’ll get charged for excessive wear and tear, or if you put too many miles on it. If you rent it for $24,000 and it went down $15,000 in value, then it cost me $9,000 to rent this car for this period of time. That is their profit during that time.

Another thing is that the interest rates on a vehicle lease are not disclosed because the Federal Trade Commission has determined that this is not a debt, so there is no federal disclosure involved. Therefore, you have no truth in lending disclosure sheet. The interest rates you get charged are unbelievably high. That’s where you’ll realize you got screwed over.

People get sold automobile leases because they are told that it’s what sophisticated people do. But as it turns out, the car companies make more money on leasing you the car than if you bought the car with cash, according to the National Auto Dealers Association. Broke people think ‘how much down and how much a month’. Rich people think ‘how much’. If you can’t pay cash for a car, then ride a bicycle. But don’t lease a car.
(Thanks to Travelling Midget)

Somebody fucked around with this message at 01:45 on May 22, 2012

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CornHolio
May 20, 2001



Toilet Rascal

ZeroAX posted:

What are your thoughts on getting 30K/45K/60K/etc mile maintenance vs waiting for a problem to fix something? I have a 05 Mazda 3 that I'm taking in next week to get the thermostat controller fixed and I just hit the 60K mark. I was never sure if the mileage maintenance is worth it, or if its just waste of money.

It depends on what it is. A lot of it is inspection usually, and you can do that yourself if you know what to look for. Sometimes a chassis lube is called for as well (which couldn't hurt, but its usually not necessary). Full set of filters I'm sure (necessary), belts (necessary), not sure what else.

Josh Wow posted:

Straight up I'm not going to spend $6000+ on a car. I'm just not comfortable spending that kind of cash on my salary. So my choices are what I laid out. I realize I may not get too much more out of my car, but if I were to buy a different older car I have that same kind of uncertainty. I know it's a gamble either way but that's the situation I'm in.

I'm also not really looking at 95s, I'd be looking for something newer than that but I'm still not excluding older models if they're low enough mileage and in really good condition. I mean I saw an 89 volvo sedan that only had 74,000 miles on it on Craigslist. If it was well maintained that could be a really nice and reliable car.

Do you plan on trying to sell your current car when you get a new one, or trade it in? If its the former you might be able to recoup some of the maintenance you put in, if its the latter probably not.

If you're for sure buying another car soon anyway, and can afford it, you might as well just get it now. Otherwise, I'd suggest fixing your current car, as long as everything else checks out OK by the mechanic. Your car could go for another 100k miles easily if it was maintained properly, or it could be at the end of its useful life, its hard to tell without looking at it.

CornHolio fucked around with this message at 00:53 on Oct 12, 2009

CornHolio
May 20, 2001



Toilet Rascal

Ultimate Mango posted:

Can we start arguing about the cost/benefit of maintaining parts that are wearing out but not yet totally broken?

(This was a question posed in my other thread recently)

I'll go over some maintenance parts and why they can be put off or why they should be replaced immediately.

Belts:
Timing - Always, always, always replace this either when the manufacturer recommends, or sooner if inspection reveals it to be wearing prematurely. On an interference engine, if it breaks it means very costly repairs. On a non-interference engine, it usually still drives the water pump, meaning if the belt breaks and you don't notice your temperature climbing, it could still lead to costly repairs. A timing belt job is usually expensive, but cheap when compared to the alternative usually.

Serpentine/drive belt - As long as this belt is inspected, you can go until it starts failing. Most manufacturers call for this to be replaced at regular intervals, and the belt is so cheap its usually worth it. Most belts are about $15. If they fail (break) they'll leave you stranded unless you keep a spare in your trunk (not a bad idea). Worst case, you'll immediately lose your power steering, which can be dangerous. This is why I would recommend regular inspection (look for cracks or chunks missing on the underside) and replacing it when it needs it.

Brakes:
These can usually wait until they start making noise, and then for most people the cheapest pads and rotors (hello, Autozone!) are usually good enough. If possible, get the rotors resurfaced because it'll be cheaper and you can extend the life of the rotors that way. However, some rotors cannot be resurfaced. I recommend a brake flush whenever the rotors are removed, because old brake fluid can seize a caliper and that is much more expensive than a brake flush.

Steering Components:
If a tie rod fails, it will probably lead to an accident or at the very least to increased tire wear. After probably around 60k on a tie rod, inspect (or have someone inspect) the tie rods for any play, and have them replaced once they start failing.

Suspension Components:
Once a bushing or ball joint starts failing, it'll usually take awhile to go completely. In the meantime, depending on what is worn, you'll probably have uneven tire wear, which can be dangerous but not incredibly so. I recommend keeping an eye on failing bushings (they're usually obvious) and start saving up to have them replaced. The part itself usually isn't much at all, but labor on these can be expensive. Many times you can go until the bushing fails completely, because (usually) nothing fill flat out come off, your car will suddenly handle like poo poo and be difficult to drive.

Anecdote: I had a torn trailing arm bushing, and it caused me to go through my rear tires in about 10k miles. Tires are not cheap. Bushings are.

Another anecdote: I need front control arms badly, as both ball joints are bad. I know I can put these off until the spring, and have already put about 8k on them since they were pointed out to me. My car handles noticeably worse, but not dangerously so. That being said, I am keeping a very close eye on just how much play they have.

Shocks can usually be put off until they're really bad. Keep an eye on any leaks and budget accordingly.

Usually damaged parts will cause the car to be unsafe or will cause other components to wear quicker, so if something is broken, from a safety/long-term cost advantage standpoint, always replace badly worn components as soon as possible. However, in terms of short term benefits, some things can be put off longer than others. I can't recommend completely ignoring problems like these, though.

CornHolio fucked around with this message at 15:12 on Oct 12, 2009

CornHolio
May 20, 2001



Toilet Rascal

Elephanthead posted:

The best way to save money is to not own a car at all. Public transportation is very usable for a lot of people.

Not necessarily. Having a car allows a lot of people to work better jobs that might not be possible by not having a car.

For some people sure, not everybody.

Besides, public transportation sucks in a lot of places (mine included).

CornHolio
May 20, 2001



Toilet Rascal

Blinkman987 posted:

There's something to be said about people who buy Toyotas and Hondas who believe they will never have to maintain the car because "it just runs." If a person did buy a used Honda or Toyota, they absolutely cannot skip having the car looked at by a mechanic. Plenty of them get run right into the ground.

Something I'd like to add to this:

One problem with Japanese economy cars (and to an extent, Korean cars) are the demographic that buys them (which probably includes the majority of this forum). They buy them for the appliances they are, as a point A to B vehicle, and do the absolute bare minimum of maintenance. Which is fine for their purposes.

However, second and third owners of these cars have to keep this in mind when buying them. An enthusiast car (say, a Mazda RX-8) will more often than not have been better maintained, than say a Toyota Camry.

Also, I doubt many people here track their car maintenance repairs. Here is a sample of what I have for my BMW (I know its probably too small to read, but it should give you an idea of how complete it is):



10.3 cents per mile (excluding the original cost) over 44k miles, between 131k and 175k odometer readings. Could be better, but could be far worse. That includes one major repair (cooling system) that I stupidly had the dealer repair, and which cost me a good $1500 about a year ago. And a lot of the maintenance I've done will be good for quite awhile, so this will be going steadily down as I accumulate the miles.

CornHolio fucked around with this message at 16:09 on Oct 12, 2009

CornHolio
May 20, 2001



Toilet Rascal

washburn085 posted:


There was a news story the other day about people getting into accidents from buying cheap tires from some small mom and pop repair station that turned out to be either used when advertised as new, or new but had been sitting around for 20+ years to dry rot and whatnot. The same thing could happen if you keep driving on bald or rotting tires that you refuse to replace until absolutely necessary.



YES.

Tires are the single most important part of your car. They're all that connect your car to the road. Buy quality tires (The Tire Rack has an excellent rating system), or this kind of thing can and will happen.

You might think its OK to cheap out on tires, but your mind will quickly change while you're hydroplaning at 60mph into oncoming traffic.

CornHolio
May 20, 2001



Toilet Rascal

hobbesmaster posted:

Brakes are also critical of course. If your disk brakes are squealing it means that they need to be replaced now.

People that sell suspensions would tell you that suspension is just slightly less critical than tires and brakes, but its really not that big of a deal. You'll have a much more pleasant commute with a good suspension, but it takes quite a bit to affect safety.

As an example of preventative maintenance: new thermostat, $15. New radiator plus installation: $300ish.

Every gas station I know of has a shock absorber model from some company (I don't remember which) that says you should replace your shocks every 30k miles. I always laugh because thats a bit unnecessary. Seriously, most stock shocks can go for at least 100k miles, usually more if you don't care too much about ride quality.

As for squeaky rotors, that could be a few things - they could just need some anti-squeal on the backs of the pads. Or it could be the pads hitting the 'hey think about replacing me!' mark, I think they all have a sonic warning these days.

Now, if its a metal-on-metal squeal, yeah, they need to be replaced now.

CornHolio
May 20, 2001



Toilet Rascal

LloydDobler posted:

Chains are lubed by engine oil and definitely are supposed to last the life of the motor, but in some cases they have tensioners or guides that wear out and need replacing, or it can skip a tooth. In your case it's a standard V8 motor, which should be super easy for you to research in google as to whether or not there are any timing chain issues.

Also, chains can stretch a little bit over time. I think they start to emit a slight 'ticking' when this happens but I could be wrong. I wouldn't worry about timing chain issues until 200k+ myself, but every car is a little different.

CornHolio
May 20, 2001



Toilet Rascal

There's a really sad trend starting of manufacturers having very lax maintenance schedules. BMW is the worst. Buy a brand new BMW, do get to go 15,000 miles between oil changes, the transmission fluid is 'lifetime' fluid, and there isn't even an oil dipstick for you to check your oil. Everything I've seen online says to change the oil twice as much, and the lifetime fluid assumes the car has a lifetime of 100,000 miles. They only do that so they can have a low 'cost of ownership' for all the surveys (and so they can cheaply do all your sub-60k maintenance for free).

In the future I fear buying a well-kept used car will become more difficult, because following the owners manual won't be enough maintenance to keep the car on the road past 150k.

CornHolio fucked around with this message at 12:41 on Oct 14, 2009

CornHolio
May 20, 2001



Toilet Rascal

I'm kind of curious, with the sudden onset of winter here, what other people's opinions about winter tires are. They're much safer on snow and ice than summer or all-season tires. However, it is expensive to have to buy (and store) two sets of tires.

I've always had all-seasons (which are sometimes called no-seasons for a reason, because they're worse than summer tires in the summer and worse than winter tires in the winter) but if I could afford it I would buy seasonal tires, even though I can drive in the poo poo weather we have here.

CornHolio
May 20, 2001



Toilet Rascal

traveling midget posted:

What the gently caress? Do you just dump in a quart and pray?

No, you just assume all the sensors are functioning properly. Oil is dirty, and checking it is a thing of the past apparently.

CornHolio
May 20, 2001



Toilet Rascal

hobbesmaster posted:

Tirerack's balanced and mounted on steelies combos might ease that financial burden a bit. Its always seemed a bit wild to me that tire rack is cheaper than including shipping than the tire stores around here.

One huge benefit of living down the road from the Tire Rack!

CornHolio
May 20, 2001



Toilet Rascal

hobbesmaster posted:

Bridgestone Potenza Pole Position RE960

This is what I used to have on my BMW, and they were fantastic. They didn't last long, however. The tires I have on there now are some Fuzion HRis and they kinda suck in the wet, I really hope I don't have any problem with them in the winter. I miss my RE960AS's but they're expensive.

CornHolio
May 20, 2001



Toilet Rascal

Also check your tire pressures, if one side is a little low it'll cause slight pulling.

CornHolio
May 20, 2001



Toilet Rascal

skipdogg posted:

Why not? If you can afford it there's nothing wrong with buying a brand new car. The problem is people that can't afford brand new cars go out and buy them.

Everyone here in BFC acts like everyone should have 100 dollar a month food budgets, live off of rice and beans, and drive 1988 beater Honda Civics.

I think he's implying that the initial depreciation hit is stupid from a financial point of view, and should be avoided by the savvy buyer.

I agree with him to a point, though as long as people understand the depreciation hit, can afford it, and are OK with it, I don't see the problem.

It's like telling Ritchie Rich he can't grind up a few thousand dollars for no reason. Yeah there's no point to it, but if he can afford it and he knows what he's doing, whatever, its his money to do with as he pleases.

CornHolio
May 20, 2001



Toilet Rascal

Neophyte posted:

So what do people think the "sweet spot" for a broke-rear end who needs inexpensive transport is? $3000? $5000?

Roughly how much should someone expect to spend these days on a "beater" without getting a POS that's too unreliable to get them to work/Sam's Club/an interview for a better job?

Here's my thoughts on this: Find out how much you can afford, and buy a car thats about $1,000 less than that. Use that thousand dollars to fix the major things wrong with the car (or, if its perfect, give it a good tune-up). I think this is better than spending the entire amount on a car because now you're driving a car with new parts and nothing major broken.

Take the Volvo we got: Paid $2500 for it, and with the extra grand, I've replaced the broken odometer gear, gotten the ABS/traction control fixed, oil change/all filters, entire ignition system replaced, and replaced the PCV system.

(Granted the car is sitting in the parking lot with the engine half disassembled, but that's another story )

Backno posted:

Also if you are car shopping don't be afraid to travel to go get a car. In some areas going just 100 miles can drop car prices a ton. If you go to AI and ask nicely odds are some one lives near the car you are looking at and would be willing to go check it out for you for a beer or gas money.

Agreed. I live in South Bend and I went to Chicago for my last car. Looking on Autotrader and Craigslist, there's very little in my area that I would even consider buying.

Arzakon posted:


In the sub-$20K market more often than not brand new is going to be more financially sound if you can work out a good financing deal. The whole point for me was to never be upside down on the car and not get raped in finance charges. I'm paying $1,000 over 60 payments to finance the car, got a base price very similar to a 1-2 year old car, and have 1-2 years of additional warranty versus a used model.
proceeds.

This is why I ended up buying a new car rather than used in '03. Looking back I shouldn't have financed anything at all, but hindsight is 20/20. I got a brand new Altima for 2.9%; I don't remember that the used cars were but they were plenty more than that, something like 8-9% at least I think.

CornHolio fucked around with this message at 12:09 on Oct 21, 2009

CornHolio
May 20, 2001



Toilet Rascal

KarmaCandy posted:

Personally, I would love to see more people talk about which cars they think are the best value, which cars people have really good experiences with, which cars suck, and so on.

I think cars with an enthusiast following is one way to go. You have to be willing to do some basic work and torubleshooting yourself, though, so there is a slight cost there. However, you get enormous online resources, and websites that cater directly to you. For instance, if I need parts for my BMW, I can go to five or six different websites for parts, a number of forums and DIY sites for advice, and even here for exploded parts diagrams for every single component of my car. The Volvo is similar.

Naturally most enthusiast cars are going to be sporty and sometimes not as reliable as a Camry. But there are a number that are both reliable and have a following... unfortunately, Civics come to mind. Mazda Protege's come to mind too. Even Neons, especially the first generation. But a car like a Sebring, not so much.

Heck even Bonnevilles and Grand Prixs have web forums, though they tend to be not frequented much and the people that do, are morons.

If this isn't something you're interested in, yeah you'll get your standard Corolla/Camry/Accord/Civic replies.

CornHolio fucked around with this message at 12:24 on Oct 22, 2009

CornHolio
May 20, 2001



Toilet Rascal

KarmaCandy posted:

I'm a girl with no propensity or interest in fixing cars so I'm honestly probably not down for that. I'm just sort of curious, with something like $27 - $28k saved up, is it better to get something like a new Camry, get a used Camry and save the rest of the money or would it be at all worth it to move up a level and get a used vehicle that is a bit above the standard Camry/Accord? And if so, is there a general consensus on that next tier of reliable cars?

I'd just get a slightly used Camry or Accord, and save up the money for a similar luxury car. If you like your Camry or Accord, you can move up to a Lexus (made by Toyota) or an Acura (made by Honda) or an Infiniti (made by Nissan), all are 'premium' versions of their regular cars (for instance, an Acura TL is a premium version of the Accord). And after just a few years you'll probably be able to easily afford a used/CPO model.

There's of course the entry-level European cars like BMW, Mercedes, Volvo, Audi, etc... and American cars like, uh, well I guess Cadillac is it, but really if you're not interested in the 'DRIVING EXPERIENCE (tm)' I wouldn't worry about any of those.

Also, and this goes for everybody, if you're a girl, bring a guy friend with you when shopping for cars. Even if you're very much into cars. Salesman assume girls don't know poo poo and will try their best to con you in any and every way they can. Yes, what you've seen on 20/20 is true.

CornHolio fucked around with this message at 23:40 on Oct 21, 2009

CornHolio
May 20, 2001



Toilet Rascal

hobbesmaster posted:

Lincoln. They're just really comfy Fords; but then again Caddys are really comfy Chevys. Also: EcoBoost.

Yeah there's Lincoln, but honestly I just see them as trim levels for Ford (same with Mercury). At least every Cadillac model (I think) is unique. It's not like the CTS is a fancy Malibu or something.

CornHolio
May 20, 2001



Toilet Rascal

hobbesmaster posted:

Same thing for Lexus and Acura.

Yeah but they at least go a lot further to distinguish themselves. Lincoln has usually been little more than a Ford with fancier-looking trim pieces. Hell, look at the Blackwood.

They need to bring back the Mark VIII. Er, well, create a Mark IX is what I should be saying. But that's all AI talk.

CornHolio
May 20, 2001



Toilet Rascal

Zhentar posted:

I'll second this. My BMW had a broken window regulator. Not only was it easy to find 4 different walkthroughs, with pictures, of how to take the door apart, they linked a mechanic that rebuilds the window regulators- half the cost of the new parts, and better construction, plus a partial refund for sending my old broken one in afterwards. End result, I replaced it for less than the labor would have cost in a shop, with absolutely no prior experience.

Another anecdote: A few weeks ago I replaced the oil separator, flame trap, and various PCV tubing on the Volvo. The kit cost me $109 including shipping (from https://www.ipdusa.com) and there's an excellent write-up here.

(Me being a gorilla in the engine bay, I broke something. But I was able to fix it at no cost to me, using spare heater hose and two clamps from work.)

The dealership charges $650 for the same maintenance.

That's almost $550 saved.

CornHolio
May 20, 2001



Toilet Rascal

traveling midget posted:

Reposting this from the zuarg thread because it belongs here.

Good call. Adding this to the OP because I feel its incredibly important.

CornHolio
May 20, 2001



Toilet Rascal

I'm trying to figure out some loan information. We're selling my grandfather's car and I'm trying to find out how badly he got ripped off on the loan, because it looks like a lot.

I'd like to know, if possible from the following information, the original purchase price and the interest rate of the loan.

Car: 2005 Ford Five Hundred, AWD, presumed to be bought new.

Payoff balance this month, after 51 payments: $3988.89
Monthly payments: $412.68 (assuming they were all this amount and on time)
Loan ends Nov 2011

CornHolio
May 20, 2001



Toilet Rascal

Two Finger posted:

I couldn't tell you the purchase price, but he's already paid over $21k ($21046) so looks to me like $25000 is the total.
Wiki indicates that the AWD models were around 28k new so he may not have done too badly!

If he pays the $9000+ in regular payments, it'd end up at around $30k. Still not too bad.

I don't know what his down payment was, though. I hadn't thought of that.

CornHolio
May 20, 2001



Toilet Rascal

hobbesmaster posted:

The real question of course is how bad is the CVT?

I was going to take it out and get it washed last weekend, but didn't get to. I did look at the engine, and couldn't make heads or tails out of the Ford 3.5. I couldn't even find the alternator looks like a royal bitch to work on, thats for sure.

Two Finger posted:

Would the dealership be able to give you the original receipts if you told them you're the executor of his will and needed it for his files, or some equivalent bullshit?

I like your thinking. I'll see what dealership it was and give them a call.

CornHolio fucked around with this message at 02:17 on Nov 11, 2009

CornHolio
May 20, 2001



Toilet Rascal

Magic Underwear posted:

No, he's right, I bought a fair condition '16 stutz bearcat last year for a pittance from the duke of grafton. Except for the standard wear items (re-vulcanizing the tires, whale oil changes, etc.), I haven't had to put a single cent into it for upkeep. It's been my daily driver for a year now, and I've had no problems. Sounds like you just need to educate yourself (by you I mean your negro servants) about basic automobile maintenance.

Is it bad that I pictured the 70s Stutz Bearcat II when reading this post?



(This is a 1916 Bearcat, much better looking)



Also, say what you will about early automobiles, but I certainly wouldn't trust a modern car to race around the world.

CornHolio
May 20, 2001



Toilet Rascal

kimbo305 posted:

Tons of cars have advertised that their development testing has included nonstop (except for fueling and tire changes) running equivalent to going around the world.

Yeah, but 'equivalent to going around the world' and 'actually driving through loving Siberia before roads were even hardly invented' are kind of different.

CornHolio
May 20, 2001



Toilet Rascal

kimbo305 posted:

I'm pretty sure modern cars would have no problems with the latter, either.

I don't think even a Hummer could do it. Maybe a Baja-spec SUV or something, but even then, most cars today can't even be fixed on the side of the road with basic tools. Modern cars are too complicated, too used to modern roads and too used to having a dealership within 50 miles to make a trip like that.

CornHolio
May 20, 2001



Toilet Rascal

hobbesmaster posted:

If you can drive a Toyota Hilux to the north pole, Siberia shouldn't be an issue.

They didn't drive it back though. I'm pretty sure they 'coptered it back.

kimbo305 posted:

well once again audience, we've successfully tricked CH into talking about cars in BFC.

CornHolio
May 20, 2001



Toilet Rascal

melon cat posted:

"anything less than gold-level gasoline"

Octane is not a measure of quality for gasoline. If your car says to use 89 octane, and you use 93 octane instead, not only are you paying more, but in most cases you'll see worse fuel economy and usually less power due to the engine being forced to retard its timing.

I really hate that higher octane is called 'premium' because there's nothing premium about it. It's just a higher octane, for higher compression engines.

CornHolio
May 20, 2001



Toilet Rascal

Nocheez posted:

Re-read your reply, I think you mean to say "87" instead of "93."

No, my point is, using a higher octane than what is required is not good for your engine.

If you're suggesting that higher octane would advance timing rather than retard it, because I might have that backwards. But the end result would be the same.

CornHolio
May 20, 2001



Toilet Rascal

kimbo305 posted:

There is such a thing as really bad gasoline. Places that let the gasoline sit forever (sometimes because there isn't enough business to run through shipments regularly) can introduce water or a tiny bit of sediment into the gasoline. But in general, using the hotly advertised magic Shell gasolines don't have a positive maintenance effect on the engine.

The grocery store I used to work at had a gas station, and once they put diesel in the gasoline tank. So people thought they were getting gas, but instead were getting diesel.

The store lost a lot of money because of that, because they had to pay for the repairs obviously.

(I had nothing to do with that fiasco btw)

CornHolio
May 20, 2001



Toilet Rascal

Nocheez posted:

I know this. My point is that higher octane doesn't cause your car to retard timing. Lower octane pinging causes your car to pull timing.

Ah. I thought it would have an effect on the timing. My mistake.

CornHolio
May 20, 2001



Toilet Rascal

Someone correct me if I'm wrong, but if they transfer the title to you, and there's for some reason a lien on the vehicle (why they would owe money on the car and have the title is beyond me, but I've seen it done before) then they're still responsible for the lien.

You would own the car, but they would 'own' the lien. Unless transferring the lien to you is a condition of transferring the title, but you'd think they'd be up front about that.

CornHolio
May 20, 2001



Toilet Rascal

Funny (well, to me) anecdote:

My mother-in-law and her then-husband had bought a big Silverado many years ago. They owed quite a bit of money on it. After maybe a year of paying on it (and still owing $20k+ to the bank) the bank accidentally sent them the title.

Being the genius people they are, they decided to completely stop making payments. The dealership took them to court, and ended up losing since it was their error.

The dealership then appealed the ruling, and in the end, won and my mother-in-law had to give the truck back and file bankruptcy.

I don't know the specifics, but the whole situation sounded pretty retarded.

CornHolio
May 20, 2001



Toilet Rascal

Don Lapre posted:

Why would the dealership come after them and not the bank?

It was probably both of them. The bank wanting their money and the dealership wanting their car back. I could be wrong. I'll ask my wife about it tomorrow.

Are they dealerships that do financing in house?

CornHolio
May 20, 2001



Toilet Rascal

GOOCHY posted:

I really don't know why anyone would buy a Jeep Wrangler. I just drove one for the 2nd time during my weeks stay in Maui and it was a total piece of poo poo. Even brand new, they're rattle boxes with no power and the interior was falling apart. They also lose resale value like nobody's business. Just a bad idea all around, IMO.

If one is found with the old AMC inline-6 I could understand it. Those engines are nigh indestructible. And there should be enough of an online following for Wranglers that most replacement parts are cheap and plentiful and there should be a bazillion of how-two guides for it.

But you're right, it's a bit of a niche vehicle. They're slow, poorly built and I'm pretty sure any engine other than the 4.0 is to be avoided. Heck I think I head somewhere (maybe it was for the Cherokee) that even the manual transmissions were trouble-prone, which is kind of odd. But I'm not a Wrangler expert. I can see why somebody would want one, but they'd have to know what they were getting into. Kind of like other niche-cars, like Miatas, full-size vans, etc...

CornHolio
May 20, 2001



Toilet Rascal

Here are some more on Autotrader, around zip code 44004.

2006 Ford Focus

2003 Subaru Legacy

2004 Chrysler Pacifica

2005 Dodge Stratus R/T

2002 Toyots Camry V6

2004 Pontiac Vibe

see for yourself!

CornHolio
May 20, 2001



Toilet Rascal

I think Progressive will give you everybody else's rates, but they might be biased towards Progressive (read: not accurate) since they're obviously trying to sell you Progressive insurance.

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CornHolio
May 20, 2001



Toilet Rascal

Apart from what I've read, I know very little about hybrids. I'm pretty sure that if anything drivetrain-wise need work, it's dealer-only though. I highly doubt non-dealer mechanics have had any experience working on hybrids yet.

(Someone correct me if I'm wrong)

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