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41

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 ...


19

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 ...


19

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 ...


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

They need to be aligned Well, technically the wheels need to be aligned. This doesn't have much to do with fitting tires and is more of a mechanical maintenance item on the car. It's a good idea to have an alignment done when you buy new tires because poor alignment will make your tires wear out very fast. Since its a new car, if you drive on good roads ...


14

There are a number of ways this can be done. It can range from a two person job, with on one the pedal and the other at the bleed nipple, to a one man job where the new fluid is forced through the system under external pressure. For DIY purposes the most common is the two man (person?) way. Person A is at the nipple, which has a hose attached and the other ...


14

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 ...


14

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 ...


13

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 ...


13

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 ...


13

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 ...


13

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 five more years" and your climate (assuming that NE Ohio is roughly equivalent to central Indiana <- where I spent six years of graduate school). ...


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

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

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 ...


10

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 ...


10

Like @Alex said, ideally, drive it at least half hour each time. Less than that and you won't have enough heat/time to burn off all the condensation in the engine (you'll get a yellow gooey substance under your oil filler cap to let you know if that's the case). You'd want to have it driven at least once a week to keep oil on the cylinder walls (to prevent ...


10

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 ...


10

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 ...


9

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 ...


9

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 ...


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

As Bob says, formal servicing should always follow the manufacturer's schedule - Make sure to take into account any variations suggested for your location/climate/usage pattern. This should include routine things like oil and filter changes, as well as more major, but less frequent things such as timing belts. In terms of more general checks and ...


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

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 ...


9

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 ...


9

Cabin filters on modern cars use something called activated carbon (or at least some of them do) which is basically two paper / cotton sheets either side of a fine layer of carbon particles. It looks to me as though your cabin filter has a hole in it and therefore is blowing carbon all over the inside of the cabin. I'd take it back to wherever installed ...


9

There are a number of ways to do this, but the two that come immediately to mind are battery-powered LED work lights. (A quick internet search will turn up many). Two varieties might be of use/interest to you. Some can be powered by the vehicle's battery which is convenient unless you're doing something like replacing a flat battery. Others have their ...



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