Tag: Advice

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.

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By on May 9, 2011

TTAC reader Tiburon Guy writes:

Hey Sajeev,

Long time I know: I still have the Hyundai, fixed up and kicking butt. I ditched my 2000 Ford Mustang v6 and bought a 2010 Ranger XLT. No regrets at all: 24 MPG city…come on!

The real reason why i’m responding is I have a question: I always wanted a car from my birth year. (1982) Thing is, the early 80’s weren’t too kind aesthetically on domestics. With a budget of 8-10k, what would you guys suggest that I should get from 82 that looks good, rides better, and won’t leave me broke from maintenance and repairs?

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By on May 4, 2011

Brian writes:

Hey Sajeev – as a TTAC reader, and a consummate “I’m an enthusiast, but my wallet says otherwise” tinkerer, I’m currently in a dilemma that could use your opinion and the reader’s.

I have a 2001 Saturn L200 2.2 liter that blew a head gasket. Strangest blown head gasket I’ve ever seen: no loss of power, no other signs than an intermediate low coolant light. This eventually culminated in my adding 2 gallons of (idiotic) dex-cool and then driving it 2 miles, and looking for leaks, only to discover the low coolant light was on again. That the point at which I discovered the dex-cool oil mixture that had inundated my crankcase. I had been putting off diagnosing and fixing what I thought was a minor and intermittent coolant leak (sure is cold in Minnesota this time of year, heated shop or no) but now I have no choice. The car has 190k on it. I had become determined around 160k that I was simply going to drive it into the ground.

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By on May 2, 2011

Drew writes:

Dear Truth-sayers…

I’ve finally made it. I have the capability to buy a German sports sedan. But does that mean I should?

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By on April 29, 2011

John writes:

Sajeev and Steve,

Thanks for your work on TTAC. The site entertains and irritates, so it’s a great place to read and learn, right?

Here is my problem. I have a couple of jobs, one of them is being self-employed and what I do requires carrying lots of equipment and driving lots of miles. I have used a Chevy Astro Van for a long time; The first one lost it’s second tranny at 246,000, and the one I use now has 193,000 miles. The 4.3 litre engine wears like a rock, but the gas mileage is a killer.

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