By on October 13, 2017

2004 Chrysler 300m Interior, Image: Chrysler

TTAC Commentator mopar4wd writes:

Sajeev,

So, I’ve noticed over the years that common wisdom for purchasing budget cars is all about condition and less about mileage. But other than my trusty ’88 Ramcharger, ’00 Durango, ’91 Eagle summit (Mitsubishi Mirage) and ’87 Toyota pickup, most of the vehicles I have owned all started becoming awful to own going somewhere between 150-200k miles. The list includes Fords, Subarus, Jeeps, Nissans, Chryslers, Volkswagens, Volvos, etc., since I pretty much only buy sub-$5,000 cars and have to rely on them daily. I have shifted to a little older and lower mileage (and of course well taken care of). Usually between 90-120k miles and 10 to 12 years old.

Which leads me to my question. I’m now the owner of a 2004 Chrysler 300M with 42,000 miles. The owner bought it from a Chrysler dealer locally in 2006. It’s well maintained and clean despite living its life outdoors: new tires, new battery and oil changes every 3k miles. The owner had it up for a reasonable price but everyone was low balling her — I brought a reasonable offer (about 15 percent less than asking) and picked it up.

After driving it a thousand miles a few things have popped up: cam sensor going out (a common issue that I’m DIYing today), I’ve made an appointment to have the timing belt and water pump replaced (there was no record of this work), and based on feel I think the rear struts may need a change.

Given the like-new condition of the car is there anything else I should be looking at doing (fluid changes are on the list) given that it’s closing in on 14 years old? (Read More…)

By on May 28, 2012

 

Kurt writes:

Dear Sajeev,

I’m writing about if/when/how to change the transmission fluid in modern automobiles. It’s been my experience when changing the fluid on a vehicle with > 100,000 miles and original tranny, the odds of trans problems within 5,000 miles rise dramatically. The consensus on the interwebs is this was true for older cars, but not necessarily modern vehicles using synthetic fluid. First my history…I’m only listing the cars where I actually changed the fluid. 89 Suburu GL – Fluid Changed at 120,000, total trans failure at 125k. 94 Chevy S10 blazer, trans fluid change at 115k, trans failure at 123k. Current: 2006 Honda Odyssey – Trans Fluid Change at 95K, Torque Converter starting to go out at 100K (yeah, I know this is a weak spot on this vehicle regardless) – wondering if I should change out the rest of the fluid before having someone look at the torque converter?. Additionally what to do about my 2003 Chevy Trailblazer LS (2wd) …..145k, original transmission, original owner, no trans fluid changes ever. The quick lube joint says fluid color is off – looks good enough to me though. I’d like to keep the truck a few more years due to the blood sweat and tears already invested in repairs.

I’ve read that Trans Fluid power flushes can cause more harm than good, and a standard fluid change only swaps a % of the fluid – normally needing 3 of those to get a full fluid swap. Add the twist of certain vehicles needing “special” fluid such as Hondas and it’s hard to say if my failures are due to improper technique by improperly trained quick lube employees, improper fluid, or if changing the fluid isn’t really needed! I always say “I’ll change the trans fluid when the trans fails”. I’m a mild wrench head, some blacked fingernails to prove it ….if my setup allowed it I’d love to change my own fluid – no one cares as much as the owner. However I stopped changing my own fluids after an Exxon Valdez-like accident on my driveway. Any advice on this topic? (Read More…)

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