Car Talk

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starlooker
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Car Talk

Postby starlooker » Mon Aug 09, 2010 9:30 am

D and I have been having multiple car problems of late, and it occurred to me that the stress of car breakdowns is probably something almost everyone has or has had at some point. So, this is a thread to post about what's wrong with your vehicle and maybe even get some help/advice if anyone has any car knowledge.

I don't know if Pweb has any resident car experts to jump in and help out, but I figure at the very least people can probably jump in and say, "Oh, yeah, when my car was doing that, it was XXX. It was a major repair that set me back a ton." (Or, hopefully, "It was just a minor repair that took almost no time at all.") If nothing else, it's a convenient place to whine about it.

Anyhow, D and I both got totally new brakes fairly recently. Soon after (but not right away after), we began experiencing very similar problems. Basically, when I'm sitting at a stoplight with my foot on the break, the car seems like it's revving. The needle on the RPM meter will start bouncing a bit. It'll start acting like it's not getting gas or getting a gas surge until it stalls. It does the same thing when I put it in park, but somewhat less noticeably. It doesn't do this until after I'm at a complete stop, thankfully.

I've been wondering if it's related to the heat, as my car is notorious for being tempermental in hot weather and has been overheating really easily these days. The brake problem didn't develop until it got really hot outside. Also, it's NOT a problem the first couple of times after I stop or the first stop after coming off of the highway, when the engine is relatively cool. But after 2-3 stops, it's a big issue. In-town driving has become fairly hellish, particularly as after a few minutes the AC starts blasting hot air.

On the other hand, D's seems pretty independent of the weather and he doesn't have my probs with overheating.

I have a 2001 Mercury Sable and he has a Cavalier, circa mid-90s.

Any ideas on what this might be? It's starting to worry me. We haven't had any really cool days or evenings for me to test the weather-related theory.



(Random: My diagnosis of most car problems starts with, "Did you talk about money in front of the car?" As my father has a superstition I have inherited that if you ever talk about money in front of the car, whether you are celebrating a raise or bemoaning a huge dentist bill, the car will break down. I always half-believed it, half-laughed at it until the day I was on the cell phone with someone, driving to the bank to deposit my financial aid check. I was chatting happily about what I was planning on doing with it. The car broke down in the bank's parking lot. I know, I know, anecdotal -- but it was enough for me.)
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There's another life out there...

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Postby daPyr0x » Mon Aug 09, 2010 10:52 am

Full disclosure: I am no mechanic, merely something of an enthusiast.

Your brakes rely on a brake booster which is driven directly by your engine, just like your AC, alternator, and a whole host of other things. When you're braking, when the AC compressor is working, or when your battery is low and needs charging, these components place a higher amount of stress on the engine, in essence requiring more gas to maintain it's idle speed. The rough idle you are experiencing is the idle controller attempting to counter these actions. While it sounds a little odd that the AC would be affected by this, if the computer is noting that the engine isn't powering the other accessories as effectively/efficiently as expected, I could see it turning the compressor off to save power.

My first suspicions would be the serpentine belt. This belt connects the engine to the aforementioned accessories and if it's getting worn the irregularities in it's "grip" can cause things to not operate as intended. Being that this belt also controls your water pump - it's entirely plausible this could assist in remedying your cooling issue (however cooling issues are rarely this simple). Serp. belts are cheap and easy to replace, so if it's something that hasn't been done in a while that's where I'd be looking first.
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Postby locke » Mon Aug 09, 2010 2:02 pm

when I got my oil changed last they told me I needed to replace my idle arm attachment or something like that (it was about eight weeks ago). I figured I would do it, but when I finished paying off replacing my alternator, which I did in May.

well, sure enough I noted last week that my car started freaking out when idling driving through town. Anything above third gear was fine, but first and second were a bit annoying with the engine noticebly churning. When I came off the highway though, first and second were generally no problem. I'll probably get this fixed soon.

Also, last monday I got off work to find a note on my car that the person who had parked next to me had apparently scraped my car and left her phone number and offered to pay for repairs. she left another note the next day and ran into me as I was coming to work and she was leaving. I don't know if I should call the insurance and give them her name and number or call her first. and then I have to find a body shop to do the estimate and repair and all that. but perhaps I can also get an estimate on what all the body work my truck badly needs might cost.
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Postby Syphon the Sun » Mon Aug 09, 2010 3:49 pm

Common courtesy: call her first.
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Postby buckshot » Mon Aug 09, 2010 11:10 pm

Don't ya just love honest responsible people, how refreshing!

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Postby starlooker » Fri Aug 27, 2010 1:33 pm

*bump*

Okay, so we are now the proud owners of a 1993 Chevrolet Cavalier Paperweight. Electrical system is apparently shot to hell, we're sick of sinking money into it, and it's just not worth it anymore.

My car still needs to be fixed.

Meanwhile, I'm waiting to hear from the bank as to whether or not they'll give me a car loan to by a repossessed Oldsmobile Alero.

Cautions from anybody on that particular car? Experiences?
There's another home somewhere,
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There's another life out there...

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Re: Car Talk

Postby Caspian » Thu Jan 19, 2012 2:05 pm

Bumpity bump bump.

Anybody know anything about cars? You don't seem to have helped starlooker much, but maybe I'll do better.

As you probably know, our car was stolen just after Christmas. We sent it to the dealer to get the ignition (which had been bashed out) replaced. When finally finally got it back today, and the mechanic had a list of other stuff that he noticed needed doing. Anyone want to take a look at this stuff and give me your sense of how vital it is, on a scale of "meh, it'll run fine" to "holy crap go get that fixed before you turn that car on again!"

Here is the stuff as he wrote it down:

Play in RF upper ball joint
Play in RF outer tie rod end
Play in lower ball joints
Base pan damaged
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Re: Car Talk

Postby mr_thebrain » Fri Jan 20, 2012 4:59 pm

Ball joints and tie rods are important, if they fail, you will be stranded. Having play in them isn't a good thing, it will wear out your tires. But depending on how much play there is, you might have a little time. Basically if you notice shaking while driving, or kachunking when turning they are on the verge of failing. But until then, its mostly about tire and brake longevity. Repair can cost upwards of around 400 usd.
Base pan, if he means oil or transmission pan, and you're leaking, fix it. If not, Prolly no biggy. But I haven't heard of a base pan before.

Good luck!
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Re: Car Talk

Postby powerfulcheese04 » Fri Jan 20, 2012 7:32 pm

Alright, folks, Nate and I are getting to the point of needing 1 (if not 2) new cars.

His car is getting old and starting to have old car problems, but at least at this point seems more reliable than mine.

My car is a 2004 VW Beetle... which is the last year of Beetle manufactured in Mexico. Which pretty much says it all. It's adorable, but a flaming piece of s***, essentially. It has like 50,000 miles on it and it's had multiple major problems. In the last four years, I've spent at least $4000-$6000 in repairs, usually in $600-$1000 chunks. It's also falling apart on the inside. Pieces are peeling off and knobs are falling off. I don't think it's financially feasible to keep it. The one upside of it is that it gets better gas mileage than Nate's car.


So, my questions are:
Do you have any car recommendations? (Keep in mind that after my VW issues, I will NEVER own another VW, and I would prefer a domestic car manufactured domestically.)

Any idea how to know if a brand/make/model/particular car has been manufactured domestically?
-Kim

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Re: Car Talk

Postby mr_thebrain » Fri Jan 20, 2012 10:56 pm

Jeep, hands down. They are super fun to drive, good in weather, keep their value, run like troopers.

Did I mention fun?
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Re: Car Talk

Postby buckshot » Fri Jan 20, 2012 11:05 pm

My wife drives our 2006 chev trailblaser with the straight 6 overhead cam, auto trans , elect shift on the fly4wd and with 115 thousand miles we had no major repairs only now I'm about to change the brakes (only the pads). We have kept it up well after the warranty ended i've serviced it my farm shop and only take it to the dealer to have the trans serviced and computer controled stuff. I would recomend one for a good family hauler, I would replace it with a new one but it's up to Julie.

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Re: Car Talk

Postby Luet » Sat Jan 21, 2012 11:00 am

I am all about gas mileage and practicality. I also will only go with a car that scores in the top ratings on consumer reports. The car that I am most considering, even tho I never thought I would ever buy a Ford, is the Ford Focus. My second choice the Honda Fit.
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Re: Car Talk

Postby thoughtreader » Sat Jan 21, 2012 11:53 am

...
Here is the stuff as he wrote it down:

Play in RF upper ball joint
Play in RF outer tie rod end
Play in lower ball joints
Base pan damaged
So I talked to my FIL a mechanic and he said that all the damage you mechanic wrote down is most likely due to the people who stole you car "driving it like a stolen car. All most likely happened if they were driving it like a-holes and bottoming it out. He says you should argue that the insurance should cover it. It would be a $700-$1000 US in repairs.
How old is the card and what is the milage? Because this kind of stuff can be caused by age wear, but is most likely due to the jerks stealing the car.
He also said that these are very important things, if the ball joint fails you are screwed so as much as it sucks they all need to be fixed, talk to you insurance. if you need him to write you a statement or something as to how this damages can be caused by jerk offs abandoning your car in the woods let me know and I'm sure he will.

Good luck

So, my questions are:
Do you have any car recommendations? (Keep in mind that after my VW issues, I will NEVER own another VW, and I would prefer a domestic car manufactured domestically.)

Any idea how to know if a brand/make/model/particular car has been manufactured domestically?
So I/we/my inlaws love SUBARU, outbacks to be specific. They are great for dogs because you can put them in the back end and keep the upholstery clean. it was really easy to train cCleo to keep her cute but in the back end (mainly having a second person in the car to scold her for the first few rides). There is a plant in the US in AL I think) but I'm sure whatever car company you go with you can ask them where the specific car is manufactures. But most foreign car companies are opening up plants in the US.

so yeah I say Subaru outback, new or used we have had great luck with them good cars, 4 wheel drive, good gas milage, and a place for doggies :)

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Re: Car Talk

Postby Jayelle » Sat Jan 21, 2012 5:10 pm

He says you should argue that the insurance should cover it.
Yeah. Unfortunately, it turned out we didn't have theft insurance, just collision. So it'll come out of pocket. We'll try to do what we can, though.

It's an old car - 1999 Honda Civic, 150 000km on it (about 94 000 miles). I'm almost positive some of this stuff was wrong with it before they stole it, so we don't know what is pressing vs. what can wait.
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Re: Car Talk

Postby steph » Sat Jan 21, 2012 6:10 pm

Wow. That's low miles for that old of a car.
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Re: Car Talk

Postby Platypi007 » Sat Jan 21, 2012 10:33 pm

Wow. That's low miles for that old of a car.
My first car was a 1976 Oldsmobile Starfire. I bought it in 1996, 20 years old. It had 76000 miles on it.

It was also a death trap.

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Re: Car Talk

Postby Stroke » Fri Jan 27, 2012 11:31 pm

Jeep, hands down. They are super fun to drive, good in weather, keep their value, run like troopers.

Did I mention fun?

I have a 97 jeep Cherokee sport. I bought it for $2500 3 years ago after my 99 cavalier was hit and totaled.
I've probably sunk a good $8000 into it over 3 years for repairs alone, I refuse to let it go.
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Re: Car Talk

Postby powerfulcheese04 » Sat Jan 28, 2012 6:37 am

We're currently leaning toward a Ford Focus hatchback. We're going to test drive when I'm out there in March and probably buy in May when we have 2 salaries.
-Kim

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Re: Car Talk

Postby Luet » Sat Jan 28, 2012 6:53 am

That's exactly what I want when we can afford it! Let me know what you think and what kind of mpg it gets. Automatic or standard? Are you buying new?
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Re: Car Talk

Postby megxers » Sat Jan 28, 2012 5:18 pm

I can't wait to get rid of my car. By which I mean, move back to a place I don't need one.

I drive a 12 year old Honda. It is about one major problem away from not being able to justify fixing it. My insurance company (who happened to be the insurance company of both people who hit me) tried to get it declared totaled for a couple of (okay, major) dings. But still! Superficial damage.
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Re: Car Talk

Postby Luet » Sat Jan 28, 2012 5:57 pm

We own two Chevy (Geo) Prizms that are ten and twelve years old, both just over 100k miles. If they still made them, I would continue buying them to the end of eternity. It's a Toyota Corolla for half the price.
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Re: Car Talk

Postby powerfulcheese04 » Sat Jan 28, 2012 8:40 pm

That's exactly what I want when we can afford it! Let me know what you think and what kind of mpg it gets. Automatic or standard? Are you buying new?
New. Automatic. I'll let you know what I think!
-Kim

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Re: Car Talk

Postby Platypi007 » Sat Jan 28, 2012 9:42 pm

I've got a 15 year old Nissan Altima. I don't like it as much as the Honda Accords I owned before this one, but I still like it (even though this one is one of the most ugly cars on the road). It's been giving me some trouble lately... but I can't afford a new car right now so I'm just hoping I can figure out what in the heck is wrong with it. :D

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Re: Car Talk

Postby Luet » Wed Sep 11, 2013 10:23 am

Just bought a car, picking it up tomorrow. 2010 Ford Focus, 44k miles, auto (even tho I wanted a manual). Here it is!

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Re: Car Talk

Postby buckshot » Wed Sep 11, 2013 11:44 am

Sweet! Road trip?

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Re: Car Talk

Postby Luet » Wed Sep 11, 2013 2:19 pm

Only to bring it home. It's an hour away! :)
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Re: Car Talk

Postby Petra456 » Wed Sep 11, 2013 5:38 pm

I like the Focus!

A very big plus side to working in a dealership is I get to drive ALL the cars!
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