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36

Inside the car: Manual: Check the manual for the service history. Was it services regularly at a authorized dealership? Ash tray: Smells like cigarettes? The previous owner was a smoker, dealbreaker for me personally. Interior: Does the amount of wear correspond with the expected amount of wear for a car of that age and mileage? Trunk: Spare tire ...


17

Look in your owner's manual for the vehicle. It should have a good recommendation on the grade and whether synthetic oil is required. In fact some vehicle mfg. will recommend a brand because that brand meets certain requirements.


17

These are things I check before buying a car (in addition to Alex's advice): Make sure it has radiator fluid (at a proper level). If the radiator fluid is empty, it probably has a radiator leak, they probably have not been watching it, and the engine probably has heat damage. The thermometer won't work without radiator fluid so they won't see that the car ...


15

Regarding the effect of raising the wiper arms on the wiper arm springs: raising the wiper arms will not make the springs weaker for future use. The only way that the springs could produce reduced force when the wiper arms are returned to their normal position is if the springs took a permanent "set" from being stretched. This can only happen one of two ...


12

There are silicate antifreezes, used in most domestic cars until recent years, and OAT antifreezes, used in Japanese cars because of their domestic market testing, where the silicate is replaced with phosphates. Domestic cars today all use OAT now, with Chrysler the last to switch. See: http://www.sae.org/mags/aei/mater/11284 Any OAT antifreeze will work ...


12

I'm going to answer the basic mechanical points, as weighted by my opinion of importance. I'm leaving out the issue of waxing as potentially too broad. Safety: These are critical. Do not proceed down the list without addressing each (at least). Safety glasses: Always wear them, especially when you don't think that you need to. I purchased mine from the ...


12

Some reasons that old cars may not be able to be supported indefinitely are: Rust. If you get rust in areas that are hard to reach and compromise the integrity/safety of the vehicle, it may be cheaper to buy a new car than pay the massive labor for extensive rust repairs. These days labor rates are insanely high, the killer is the disassembly/reassembly ...


11

Every manufacturer recommends their own fluids. Everybody wins because your engine gets "less corrosion" and they great great markup on those things. A while ago I did cooling system maintenance (replace hoses, water pump, thermostat, temp sensor, radiator cap) on my wife's BMW 330i. That make/model has a lot of following and several high-quality forums ...


11

I'm surprised this has not been mentioned. Have a compression test performed on the engine. This will expose many major engine problems like head gasket leaks, damaged valves/valve lands or rings. It is a simple, inexpensive test that can save you from some of the most expensive repairs a vehicle may need. I would consider a compression test absolutely ...


11

Yes, at least half of the exhaust is coming straight out of that gap without passing through the muffler. As you've noted, this leads to an increase in noise (or music, depending on your taste). To my eye, that looks like a hassle to fix on your own. There appears to be the rusted remnants of two bolts holding the Y-pipe to the passenger side muffler and ...


10

I live in Canada where we got often snow storm or freezing rain during winter, I never lift my wipers blades. It's clearly unnecessary for a snow storm, as you remove the snow from your car prior of activate your wipers. But I can see my neighbors lifting theirs when freezing rain is forecasted, some even put cardboard on the windshield to avoid scraping ...


10

There are so many different products you could go with for this. Only problem is the products are usually really hit-or-miss. When I finally found one that worked well I ordered as much of it as possible. Leather Magic, the name describes it perfectly. I used the delux kit a few times before ordering the pro kit. The delux kit sells for about $59.00 and ...


9

First off, everything Bob said. General Socket Extensions: Your socket set may come with 1 or 2 extensions but I'd buy a couple more. Having different length extensions are invaluable for getting to hard to reach items, plus you can combine them together for a longer extension. Socket U-Joint Adapter: I never see these in socket sets and you will regret ...


9

I'm not going to start an "oil change war" here :) re the change interval, but you should be fine with that. Good quality oil is more important than making sure the oil is changed every 2999 miles, as is a good quality oil filter. The best oil in the world isn't going to do much good if the oil filter doesn't do its job of removing particles. I would also ...


9

The key things you can to to keep your fuel economy: Keep it tuned up: for spark plugs and wires, go with the manufacturer recommended brands/default ranges. Additionally, you'll want to make sure you change the oil regularly, as sludgy oil will rob your motor of efficiency. Finally, a clean air and fuel filter will also go a long way to imrpoving fuel ...


9

When one lives in places where it snows, even occasionally, they quickly learn to lift the wipers. If you go to a ski resort when the inclement weather is expected, you would see half of the vehicles with wipers pulled up. The other half are either do not have wipers that can be fixed up (in that case one is still advised to separate them from the glass ...


9

In general, at the very minimum, you will want to check air pressure in tires, and all fluid levels and ensure that they are at the proper levels. Also, checking the condition of the oil and possibly changing it if it is needed (on a trip that long, probably wouldn't hurt to go ahead and do that if it over halfway till the next one anyways). If staying ...


8

this is only one of probably many paths that you could take, but this is what I've done: go online to a local community college and look through automotive classes they offer. Select an intro class (or maybe few different classes) and note the textbook they are using. Buy and read that text book cover to cover. The intro book had great overview (as well ...


8

There do exist these "Fix it Yourself" garages. You can rent time in a bay with various levels of equipment, with or without a lift, tools, etc. All affecting the rate of course. I am not sure how prevelant these are in various areas so you will have to try to search one out if it exists near you, here is an example website of one I found searching ...


8

I'd say there are many pros and cons for newer and older as a starter (I went older, 84 Nissan 300ZX Turbo). Newer (lets say 15 years or newer so we are talking about 1996+ which should have ODB2) Pros OEM Parts Availability More Cars in Junk Yard to pull parts from (dependent on production numbers, but still more than older models) Less wear and tear ...


8

I don't consider a 15 year old car to be that old! Regular maintenance is the key. Change the oil etc regularly (go by the service schedule), and use a good quality oil and filters. Change the transmission fluid, make sure the belts get done on schedule, etc. When I was running cars of that age as my everyday transport, it was terminal rot that killed them, ...


8

At least in the United States you are not required to use the dealer for service,parts or repairs to maintain your warranty. You will be required to have the warranty work done at the dealer except in extenuating circumstances,(like the nearest dealer is 150 miles away) but you must still contact them first. If they deny a warranty claim on the basis of non ...


8

They will probably work out to be the same. An automatic transmission is inherently more complicated which means more can go wrong and usually does (more so than manuals). The increased complexity also makes them more expensive, heavier, less fuel efficient etc. A manual transmission is less complicated which means there is less that can go wrong. Through ...


8

Caveat: this is your vehicle. Please consider our opinions as such and make the best decision that you can. Here is how I would group things without considering price. I'll try to be guided by your "about more five years" and your climate (assuming that NE Ohio is roughly equivalent to central Indiana <- where I spent six years of graduate school). ...


8

This is normal behavior. The A/C system is turned on to dehumidify the air, which causes the windshield to defog. Without it, your breath would freeze on the inside of the windshield and cause further issues. EDIT: Please note Bob Cross' comments below. I found instructions on the Honda Tech Forum which is supposed to give you full manual control over ...


8

I've worked at a garage. We use a rubber mallet. Hit it like your doing lug nuts. Hit it, rotate 90*, hit it, rotate 45*, and so on so you are not always hitting on the same spot. We would normally put some grease on the hubs. You can use anti-seize also. I wouldn't worry about water moving it around. It is squished flat in there, and water and ...


8

Shocks/struts can either come charged with nitrogen (gas shock) or conventional (without a charge). Both can wear out over time. Shocks should be replaced around 50k miles under normal conditions. That really depends on how you drive your vehicle, though. If all of your driving is done on the freeways of Texas where the straights are longer than long, then ...


8

Gasoline is made in large batches. Each batch has a number of attributes that should be met; Octane, specific chemistry, volatility, contaminates, ethanol content, and others. The output is dependent on the crude that went into the refinery and the processes the refiner has at hand to process it. Refineries vary in there capabilities. There are over 60 ...


7

I echo jzd's answer. The car's owner's manual should tell you what you need. To answer some more of your question: numbers like "5W30" are viscosity ratings. They indicate how viscous ("thick") the oil is. Most oils are "multi-viscosity," quoting a range of weights (e.g., 5W30 instead of 30W) to indicate how they behave at different temperatures. The "W" ...



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