It’s not often publicly remarked upon, but the emphasis on biofuel capacity in the United States has a bit of an international political component to it. American farms exported well over 100,000 metric tons of corn and oilseed in 2010. Some major portion of that production was sent to oil-rich areas which are short on food. The E85 boondoggle can be viewed as a simple declaration to those nations: we can burn your food in our cars, but you can’t eat your oil.
America’s pretty good at producing another item besides food, however, and if early research is any indication, it could be used to run a significant portion of the nation’s car and truck fleet.
[Editor's note: Part One of Steve Lang's updated guide to used car buying can be found here]
Schedule the test drive for a time when there’s no rush. If it’s bad weather, reschedule.
Take a little notebook, write a quick check list based on this article, and make notes.
Ok, you asked for input and I’ve got a question about my 2003 Cadillac CTS. I figure I’m more likely to get a reliable answer from you and the best & brightest of TTAC than the goof balls at Car Talk (this letter is from February-SM), so I’ll ask. (Read More…)
TTAC Commentator A Caving Ape writes:
I have a 2001 VW Jetta 1.8 with 130,000 miles on it. It has its shortcomings that I can’t fix (front drive, rear legroom), but for the most part it’s a fantastic vehicle for me. But I worry that it’s a time bomb.
I do most of the small/easy maintenance myself, and and happy to pay an independent for stuff I’m not comfortable with (timing belt, front end stuff, clutch when the time comes). This will likely be true with any car I own. I’m very satisfied with the running costs of my car, but from what I can tell I am the only person in the world with a well-functioning early 2000s VW with more than 100,000 miles. This makes me worry that it will crap out on my one day. It’s my only car so this would be very bad.
TTAC Commentator cc-rider writes:
Hi Sajeev- I am a huge fan and advocate of TTAC. I have a co-worker and friend in dire need of some good advice from the best and the brightest. She has a 2002 Jeep Liberty with 110,000 miles. Last week her car had to be towed to her mechanic. She found out the engine is toast.
Turns out it is a victim of engine sludge. After the fact, it seems that this is a fairly common issue with the Jeep 3.7 V-6. It seems that a new engine would be $3,000 in parts and at least another $2,000 to be installed.
In my opinion, it seems pointless to spend that sort of money on a car that’s maybe worth $4,000. She doesn’t have a lot of money to spend on another car- maybe $2,000 at most. She doesn’t put many miles on in a year and goes mostly to and from work. I am very familiar with the Nissan SR20 engines and am partial to them. I was recommending she find a used 1st generation Infiniti G20. They seem to give a huge bang for the buck at that low price point.
I’d love to hear everyone’s take on her situation. By the way, she is in the NYC metro area for anyone with a cheap ride for sale.