By on July 12, 2016

2010 Subaru Outback Rear 3/4, Image: Subaru

Nigel writes:

I own a 2011 Subaru Outback that just reached 107,000 miles. The past four bills I’ve received for it have cost anywhere from $300-580 a pop (two were for maintenance, plus the timing belt and new brakes up front).

Should I get used to high bills for it, or am I just getting ripped off by the dealership?

(Read More…)

By on May 23, 2016

2015 Honda Odyssey EX

8,000 trouble-free miles ended in early April when our 2015 Honda Odyssey EX began squeaking, squawking, and groaning.

An intermittent rattle in the glovebox this was not. The noise was growing worse by the day. Sounding like a flexing structure when turning into an uneven parking lot entry, like a handful of golf balls bouncing around together when traversing a rougher section of road at very low speed, and like a dying crow in nearly every other circumstance, our Odyssey went from refined to cacophonous in a matter of days.

All blame was laid at the feet of our minivan’s power sliding doors, large apparatuses responsible for shuttering two vast orifices in the sides of a 17-foot-long pod that lacks the inherent structural rigidity of a traditional three-box saloon car. (Read More…)

By on June 30, 2015


I grew up in the back of two-door family cars ranging from a ’67 Camaro to an ’83 Civic 1500 “S”. It never seemed like a hardship to me. Nor does it seem like a hardship to have my six-year-old son in the back of my Accord Coupe. He knows how to let himself in and out of the back seat. It’s no different from having a four-door sedan and letting him out of the back door. Ninety-nine percent of the time I don’t even think about it.

The other one percent of the time is when I clean the interior of the car. It takes the strength of Hercules and the flexibility of a Cirque du Soleil headliner to get the explosion of fast food, Legos, school paperwork, and miscellaneous unidentifiable items out of the cave behind the front seats. And then I have to condition the leather, you see, which would work better if my arms were between six and eighteen inches longer. So having done all that this past Sunday, I figured I’d do my other least favorite job: brake dust removal. I was already in a bit of a bad mood, crouching next to my Griot’s Garage bucket and shaking out my favorite horse-hair wheel brush, when I saw it.

Oh, hell no.

(Read More…)

By on September 6, 2011

It actually comes with a little book too!

Patrick writes:

Hi Sajeev,

Avid daily reader of the site but infrequent commenter… Pony Cars and old Volvos sometimes drag me out of my shell but I have a couple questions about my wife’s car and I wanted to see what you and others might think.

We’ve got a 2007 3.5L Impala with 60,000 miles on it and it is due for an oil change and checkup:

(Read More…)

By on July 18, 2011

TTAC Commentator jkross22 writes:

Sajeev, I’ve got a question for you. I took my car in for a warranty covered service (oil and brake fluid change) and the dealer suggests I have a fuel injection service done along with an alignment. The FI service is $260 and the alignment is $290. I’m driving an ’07 3-series wagon.

I can’t imagine why they would recommend an FI service other than to help pad dealer profit, and the alignment cost at the dealer is literally double what Firestone charges for the same thing. There is no drivability problem, but this is the 2nd time this dealer has tried to sell me on this FI service.

They have posters of it in their cubicles to ‘educate’ the unwashed masses about the dangers of dirty fuel injectors. It’s actually pretty funny. What gives on the FI service and is this something that is actually needed… ever?

(Read More…)

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