Tag: Advice

By on February 28, 2014

f150

Thanks for your recent article about buying auto parts.

I recently bought a well used ’95 F-150 with the venerable 302 and Mazda five-speed.
 
When I say well used, I mean the engine has about 253,000 on the clock and sounds like it is on its last legs. I’m pretty sure I can hear the jugs rattling in the cylinders when I first fire it up, the idle hunts all over the place and it has about as much power as the Ukrainian president.
 
I’d like to put a new mill in it. The previous owner spent a lot of time and money doing everything but engine work. Where’s a good place to start looking for a used motor, or should I spill the coin to have this tired old unit rebuilt?

Steve Says:

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By on August 24, 2012

 

When it comes to buying a used car there are two basic negotiating mindsets. You can either be fair and decent or unfair and obnoxious. If you seek to chisel and deceive then chances are you will get a bad car. Only the desperate and deceitful are willing to put up with that type of BS.

Want a ‘great’ car? Then realize that many sellers respond extremely well to honesty and decency. Win – win is no sin. So, karma lovers, here’s some tips for negotiating the purchase of a used car by observing the Golden Rule.

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By on July 25, 2012

 

The best advice I ever received about cars came from a fellow named Charlie.

He sat me down. Looked right into my 22 year old face and told me,

“You know nothing!”

He was right.

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By on August 12, 2011

[Ed: Part one of Steve Lang's updated used car buying guide is here, part two is here, and part three is here.]

When it comes to buying a used car there are two basic negotiating mindsets. You can either be fair and decent or unfair and obnoxious. If you seek to chisel and deceive then chances are you will get a bad car. Only the desperate and deceitful are willing to put up with that type of BS.

Want a ‘great’ car? Then realize that many sellers respond extremely well to honesty and decency. Win – win is no sin. So, karma lovers, here’s some tips for negotiating the purchase of a used car by observing the Golden Rule.

(Read More…)

By on July 28, 2011

 

 

David writes:

Hi Sajeev and Steve,

I’d like your take on a replacement form my 2003 Honda Accord coupe. It has a 4 cylinder and a 5 speed and has been a pretty good car.  But I miss rear wheel drive.  In my younger days, I’ll be 60 next year, I had a Porsche 912, a Cortina GT, various Volvos and VWs before I ended up with pick up trucks before the current Honda.

I like the Honda, I just wish it was a bit lighter and rear wheel drive.  What are my options these days for a RWD car that doesn’t break the bank, gets decent fuel mileage and is dependable?    I’ve been thinking a used Miata or S2000, but would prefer a coupe.  I’m not really into BMW’s for various reasons.  What do you two think?

As a replacement for the Honda I’d spend $15,000 to $25,000.

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By on July 27, 2011

 

Chuck writes:

My son enjoys being able to spread out when driving and also appreciates the convenience of hauling several of his buds around. He drives a 2001 Cadillac DHS. He has just moved to Massachusetts and registered the car there. It failed inspection with OBD codes P1860 and P0741.  He has 60 days to resolve the problem. A little internet searching informs that these codes are related to the torque converter clutch circuit and the solenoid valve.

The codes may indicate anything from a bad electrical connection to a failed plastic solenoid (I hate plastic) to a worn TC clutch. Other than the not so likely electrical connection fix, labor is at least 12 hours, even for the solenoid. I don’t see this as an emissions or safety issue, but then I’m not the state of Massachusetts.

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By on July 5, 2011

Steve writes:

My 24 yr old daughter had been living on her own and driving an ’01 2 door Accord she’d totaled and had repaired. Not a safe car (air bags not replaced), but her choice– until she had the world’s most beautiful baby, our first and
only granddaughter.

We are not poor, and our granddaughter’s safety was at stake, so 18 months ago we bought her a new ’09 Elantra. Our reasons were it had a 100k warranty and modern safety systems.

Last week she totaled it. Nobody hurt, thankfully. She’s getting $12k+ for the wrecked car. We’re not particularly inclined to get her yet another new car, as you might imagine. But, there’s the world’s most beautiful toddler to consider. She says she wants something bigger and has been looking at Accords, but in her price range they’re much older and I presume less safe. Actually, she wants a small CUV, but with her driving I’m even less inclined to support that.

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By on July 4, 2011
A New Age?

A New Age?

Jeremy writes:

I would like to thank you for your website it is one of my primary sources for automotive information, I read new articles basically every day. And with that covered, this is for the most part a piston slap:

I currently own a 93 Ranger STX approx 108k on the 4.0L V6. I bought it used in about 2000. It has been a good truck and has served me well other than feeling quite sluggish and there being some slack in the transfer case (nothing abnormal from what I am told) It is in good shape and serves me well for driving around town and taking some miles off my 05 Focus ST.

I have been looking for and thinking about purchasing a used full size 1/2 ton pickup, so that I would have a truck more comfortable for road trips (I live 50 miles from the nearest 1000+ population town) and I would like to be able to lay 8’ panels flat. My current requirements are V8 (I need some pulling power for a boat, etc) anything other than a regular cab with an 8 foot box. Its tough to find such a machine being they end up so long and unwieldy. It would be in the garage more often than not and would be used more for the big jobs than anything.

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By on June 29, 2011

Ben writes:

I’m planning a purchase this summer. The two cars I’m looking at most closely are the Mazda2 and the Scion xD. I noticed that the 2011 Mazda2s are spending an average of 109 days on the lot, and the 2010 xD is even worse at 239 days. Your February sales charts and March charts paint a similar picture. They’re both selling terribly, but I’m so far unable to find good deals on either, for different reasons.

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By on June 16, 2011

Danny writes:

Dear Sajeev and Steve,

This is not necessarily a purchase conundrum, but I hope that you’ll help me anyway. I’m currently the owner of a lovely, well-kept 1998 BMW 323is Coupe (E36) that comes very close to fulfilling every automotive need of a frugal 24-year old single guy living in a big city—it looks good, it’s a blast to drive, it’s economical to run, and it’s pretty comfy to boot.

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By on June 16, 2011

Bryan writes:

I have a new baby, and a prized Miata, and want to keep both. Therefore I am considering selling my daily driver, a 2002 Cadillac STS with 82K miles. In order to reduce overall monthly costs, I need something with extremely high MPG. Therefore I am considering the Honda Fit.

I like small cars. I love the Miata. However, the STS is simply the nicest car I have ever driven. It’s like being friends with a mobster. Life with the “Soprano STS” is easy: soporific comfort, isolation, lots of leather, and nonchalant delivery of raw power if/when I need it. Did I mention this is the same model Silvio drove to whack Adriana in the NJ Pine Barrens? Every time I get nervous about the Northstar head gasket, the car pinches my cheeks and reassures me “ya worry too much!!!”

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By on May 19, 2011

TTAC commentator Sinistermisterman writes:

Hi Sajeev and Steve,

I asked a question about my aging and ailing Ford Escort last year along the lines of “Do I bother to repair it or not…” and after reading all the advice everyone had to give, I didn’t bother to repair it. Now with close to 200k on the clock, a whole host of issues have now come to the surface including:
  • Exhaust manifold gasket leaking (I’m guessing because I never bothered to fix the jelly like engine mounts)
  • Front two shocks gone
  • Both front wheel bearings worn
  • A/C failed
  • Car eats oil (valve stem oil seals?)
  • Getting harder and harder to put into first gear (synchro going?)
By on May 12, 2011


Bruce writes:

As of today I have a: 997 ‘06 Carrera, E39 ’02 525i Sport Wagon, ‘08 LR3. The cars I wish to own include a Boxster Spyder, VW GTi gen VI and an ‘07/08 AMG E63 wagon. I can have four vehicles, three in the garage, one in the sun.

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By on May 11, 2011

Carlton writes:

It sure would be nice if TTAC would do a piece about seat comfort. My wife has back problems and is not comfortable on long drives in our Mazda 6. I know comfort is largely subjective but are there any objective metrics available? Upright seating position seems to be better for both of us and a firm cushion is much preferred over soft.

I’ll bet many other readers are interested in this subject too.

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By on May 10, 2011


Robert™ (yes, really) writes,

Sajeev & Steve:

Even in Seattle, it’s springtime and for the first time in a decade I find myself without either a woman or a convertible in my life. The woman’s best not replaced too quickly, but going a summer without a convertible is a sacrilege I’m unwilling to commit. I’ve gone through my finances, and about $25K – $27K is my price range. I know I’m buying at the wrong time; both because it’s spring and because the supply-side guys are winning, but spending a summer without going topless just feels … dirty.

(Read More…)

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