My 2001 Maxima, bought new, just rolled past 100,000 miles. It’s still a good car, but the mechanic says it has a very slight oil leak from the main seal. While not strictly necessary, the pitted original windshield could be replaced, the radio only gets Click and Clack, and the driver’s window motor sounds tired. The engine control module was replaced six months ago. Apart from that, repairs have been limited to motor mounts, suspension components with bushings, shocks, steering rack, and the usual tires and batteries. Oh, and new front brake pads.
I’ve always enjoyed this column, and several years ago I took a piece of the advice you provided: I bought a used Ford Taurus for a teen driver.
Anyway, I’m curious for your thoughts on what we should drive now. My wife and I have long commutes as well as 3 children. It’ll be a year before the oldest can sit up front and, at that point, the youngest can go from a massive car seat to a booster.
I log about 18,000 miles per year in an E39 M5. I have little time for it to be down, though I can borrow a relative’s extra car in a pinch. As expected, the car costs a few thousand to maintain per year, plus fuel is about $3,000 per year at today’s prices.
Feel bad for the guy whose brand-new car gets smashed less than a mile away from the dealership? We do. Apparently, so does Mazda.
Jalopnik has a great story about a new 2016 Mazda Miata owner whose car met an all-too-soon end less than a mile away from the dealership. The ends were smashed, the driver and passenger were bruised (but luckily not seriously) and one of the first new Miatas fell victim to an F-150.
The fire-risk blower motor resistor harness has been recalled in the Hummer H3 and owners will start receiving repairs once parts become available. Owners of the Pontiac Solstice and Saturn Sky should be able to use the updated parts as well but will have to pay out of pocket as General Motors has not recalled them at this time. The Chevrolet Colorado and GMC Canyon also use a similar design and pose a similar fire risk but are slightly different than the recalled part due to having one less blower speed.
Hummer owners will most likely wait a few months minimum for the updated parts to get to their dealers to perform their free recall repairs. Colorado and Canyon owners may be waiting much longer — if they are recalled at all. The only silver lining for the Colorado and Canyon is that they use a similar resistor to the Toyota Tacoma and share a connector. The Tacoma also suffered from blower motor resistor issues and received updated parts along with a Technical Service Bulletin in 2011.
I recently bought a 2014 Acura TL and am having trouble coming to terms with keyless entry. It goes like this:
You get exactly 2 pre-programmed key fobs, labelled #1 and #2. You can never have more than two active key fobs. You can buy a third, but it once it is programmed to be fob #1 or fob #2, the original fob #1 or #2 will no longer work. There is no back up normal key that will start the car. You will either have one of these two fobs, or your car is a $30K brick.
I own a 2005 Honda Civic Hybrid. At exactly 7 years and 7 months, and 68k miles, the battery quit. Being well within Honda’s 8 year, 80k miles warranty, the dealership replaced it fully free of charge. The vehicle is working like a charm again. Other than this mishap, it has been completely trouble-free, and does its job as a good commuter car perfectly.
In the last few years, a few cars have received more than their fair share of media attention. The Scion FR-S and Subaru BRZ, for example, which a few outlets have stopped just short of describing as the return of Jesus. A few others didn’t bother stopping short. There’s been a similar reaction to some of the updated Chrysler products, proving that all it takes to win over car journalists is a nip and tuck outside, a few new materials inside, and a fleet of well-equipped press cars generously loaned to anyone who asks.