Re: Car Care

1

Sounds like you're doing fine. I wouldn't worry.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 02-18-09 10:40 PM
horizontal rule
2

Panic! All hope is lost!


Posted by: Cryptic ned | Link to this comment | 02-18-09 10:40 PM
horizontal rule
3

Gotta make sure to swap out the fluid in the radio.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 02-18-09 10:42 PM
horizontal rule
4

3: Pfft, everyone knows the radio fluid is a lifetime fill. The muffler bearings, OTOH...


Posted by: Josh | Link to this comment | 02-18-09 10:45 PM
horizontal rule
5

My dad used to be a mechanic and a towtruck driver. He's obsessed not only with the oil-every-3000-miles thing, but also checking fluids (transmission, brake, coolant, even window washer) at the same time (easy enough once you know what you're looking for, though transmission requires two people, I gather), and rotating the tires every other oil change. Like I say, obsessed, but he keeps a car rolling.


Posted by: Stanley | Link to this comment | 02-18-09 10:46 PM
horizontal rule
6

I try to keep the tires rotating whenever I'm driving.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 02-18-09 10:52 PM
horizontal rule
7

I prefer to keep them revolving.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 02-18-09 10:54 PM
horizontal rule
8

Teo's car has revolvers for tires. HE'S THAT BADASS.


Posted by: Stanley | Link to this comment | 02-18-09 10:55 PM
horizontal rule
9

6: That's when I reach for my revolver.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 02-18-09 10:55 PM
horizontal rule
10

When I'm PWNED!


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 02-18-09 10:56 PM
horizontal rule
11

Rare, double-pwn. Becks, I think this means six more weeks of winter, and your car's a groundhog.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 02-18-09 11:01 PM
horizontal rule
12

Seriously, 10 years and 45K miles on a Toyota is nothing. I wouldn't even call that a particularly old car.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 02-18-09 11:05 PM
horizontal rule
13

45,000 miles? You're fine. More than fine.

My car is at 175,000 miles and is uh, 14 years old. (I've never actually owned a car made in the same decade that I've owned it, but I'm working my way up to it. The first was 30 years old). I'm jealous of your 45,000 miles.

I am not fanatic about the oil changes (I'm lazy) but the checking the fluids regularly is really, really good advice. I say this because I didn't keep a close watch on mine (even though I knew better), didn't realize that the radiator was on the way out (I should have noticed the slow but abnormal depletion of fluids), and ended up with a much more expensive repair than it should have been.


Posted by: Parenthetical | Link to this comment | 02-18-09 11:08 PM
horizontal rule
14

My car has a belt that's slipping, and it's making this weird groaning, whining noise, that occasionally shades into kind of a tearing kind of sound. It's also been steering kind of funny. I don't think it's time to take it to the shop yet, but maybe soon. Still accelerates fine, and one of the windows works, so no hurry.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 02-18-09 11:09 PM
horizontal rule
15

Oh, and mine is a Toyota too. I expect to get 200,000 + miles out of it and I suspect you will too. Or whoever gets your car next.


Posted by: Parenthetical | Link to this comment | 02-18-09 11:10 PM
horizontal rule
16

And, while I'm making addendums to my comment and dispensing probably useless advice, I should add by regularly check the fluids, I mean at like, every third fill up (less or more depending on your usage).


Posted by: Parenthetical | Link to this comment | 02-18-09 11:11 PM
horizontal rule
17

Becks, I'm not sure what level of advice you're looking for, but basically I'd say: yeah, bring it in for a tune-up every (how many? I don't know) miles, at which time I believe they check all the fluid levels and change the oil, check the spark plugs and the oil filter and such. A friend does that for me now, but yes, 3000 miles.

You can probably/maybe ask them to look at the tires at that time to see if any of them are wearing unevenly. If so, it may mean you have a wheel alignment problem, so you might need to get an alignment and may or may not have to replace a tire or two. Having the tires rotated (means switch the left side to the right side as well as front to back) can minimize uneven tire wear.

So, yeah, check the tire pressure from time to time -- don't rely on the tire pressure gauge built into the air pump at the gas station, as it can be inaccurate. Ideally get yourself a little tire pressure gauge (it's about the size of a pencil) to use. Ideally, learn how to eyeball if your tires look a little low on air, and how to inspect if they're wearing unevenly/badly. Also check the oil, which MattF may be able to show you. I don't do much more than that, but I'm a pretty lazy car owner.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 02-18-09 11:12 PM
horizontal rule
18

So that Twitter about a man being able to fix your cars was just about checking the tire pressure? Here I thought there was something seriously wrong while I was away!

Some admin, please take this post down post-haste. Becks is seriously tempting fate with this "nothing's wrong with my trusty car with low mileage, so I'm going to just muse out loud about why nothing's wrong with it" entry.

Forty-five K is nothing. Car's not old until it hits 90K, when you need to start thinking about maintenance more regularly. Keep an ear peeled for sounds and have a look at the CV joints at 55K.


Posted by: Armsmasher | Link to this comment | 02-18-09 11:14 PM
horizontal rule
19

Hey, a boyfriend once gave me a tire pressure gauge for Valentine's Day. If that's not love, I don't know what is.

(I think it was some sort of promise to help me deal with one of my tires that had a weak core and thus needed refilling far too often).


Posted by: Parenthetical | Link to this comment | 02-18-09 11:15 PM
horizontal rule
20

A 10-year-old Toyota really isn't that old, so I'm not really thinking in terms of senior care for a car. I probably, knowing me, wouldn't be checking the oil very often unless there's some reason to suspect a problem. Then again, I should and it's kind of stupid not to. All it takes is a rag in hand for the purpose.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 02-18-09 11:16 PM
horizontal rule
21

I have a talking tire gauge, which I've never actually used. (I also have another, regular one.) I really should check the tire pressure more often, though.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 02-18-09 11:18 PM
horizontal rule
22

the oil filter

Gets changed with every oil change, no? Just remember to grease its rim (yeah, low-hanging fruit) and to go tight but not too tight (yeah, a little more).


Posted by: Stanley | Link to this comment | 02-18-09 11:18 PM
horizontal rule
23

20: Yes, it's possible I'm a bit paranoid about checking the oil, probably because my second car constantly ran through oil. It was necessary to constantly top it off. But still, good habit!


Posted by: Parenthetical | Link to this comment | 02-18-09 11:19 PM
horizontal rule
24

Most people these days who are not actively trying to sell you oil changes say that you really only need them about every 6000 miles or so. I still aim for every 3000, but I don't often get around to it by then.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 02-18-09 11:20 PM
horizontal rule
25

I had to get all-new tires recently, or perhaps I was just taken for a ride. (Certainly at least some needed replacing.)


Posted by: ben w-lfs-n | Link to this comment | 02-18-09 11:20 PM
horizontal rule
26

get yourself a little tire pressure gauge

Obama approves!


Posted by: Blume | Link to this comment | 02-18-09 11:21 PM
horizontal rule
27

I bought a spare tire the other day.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 02-18-09 11:21 PM
horizontal rule
28

boyfriend once gave me a tire pressure gauge for Valentine's Day.

That could be a Modern Love column right there. "I didn't realize it then, but he was signaling that our relationship was about to hit the skids." (This column turns out to be about the "spare".)


Posted by: eb | Link to this comment | 02-18-09 11:21 PM
horizontal rule
29

6 or 7000, sometimes more if you use synthetic. The car manual should tell you, and is more trustable than JiffyScam.

Also, listen to the Car Talk podcast. This is key.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 02-18-09 11:21 PM
horizontal rule
30

19: The tire pressure gauge I have is inherited from a car owned with an ex. I hear you.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 02-18-09 11:21 PM
horizontal rule
31

For your bicycle?


Posted by: Armsmasher | Link to this comment | 02-18-09 11:24 PM
horizontal rule
32

Car Talk! I love Car Talk. I grew up listening to it with my step-father - my favorite story to this day is the teenage girl who substituted Mountain Dew for antifreeze since they were both virulently green.


Posted by: Parenthetical | Link to this comment | 02-18-09 11:24 PM
horizontal rule
33

I tend to work on my car at my parents' house, since my dad has all sorts of jacks and tools and fluids that are helpful. Makes me wonder: are there community car shops, the way there are community bike shops?

You know, places you can go for free with helpful people there at appointed hours, people with know-how and tools? Is the bike thing even all that common?


Posted by: Stanley | Link to this comment | 02-18-09 11:25 PM
horizontal rule
34

I was actually rather touched by the tire gauge. It was sweet.


Posted by: Parenthetical | Link to this comment | 02-18-09 11:26 PM
horizontal rule
35

But seriously, folks.

Got an old Ford, 1993 with less than 24k on it. Groceries, dogs, backup car. Always garaged when not in use. Replaced two serpentines and several tires. Muffler and pipe had to be replaced.

The uhh rubber around the door latches has rotted, and that is what I worry about, the organic parts, plastic, rubber, that will just rot or lose their plasticizers with age. Gaskets? Transmission pads?


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 02-18-09 11:28 PM
horizontal rule
36

35.3: The Andromeda Strain.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 02-18-09 11:30 PM
horizontal rule
37

PS:A couple of months ago I found a
hydraulic jack
jack in my fenced-in backyard. Asked the neighbours, doesn't belong to them. Weird.

Seems to work, but a little scared to trust it.


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 02-18-09 11:38 PM
horizontal rule
38

25: I had to get all-new tires recently

You sure you want to stand by that hyphenation there?

But right, I'd add to Becks: scope out a convenient used tire place that looks like it's in the business of doing helpful things like putting a new tire on one of your rims if you get a flat (when you get a flat, see, you just have to get a new rubber tire, which gets put on the existing metal rim). These places might also sell you you a new used tire if it looks as though one or more or your existing ones is sickly, wearing badly. The last time I needed a flat tire patched and put back on its rim and then rotated with another tire, the bill at my local place was all of $28 and I just hung around and waited for 20 minutes. I love those guys.

That's only a need if you're sort of pinching pennies. If you have the money, getting entirely new tires is probably best if you expect to be having the car for some time.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 02-18-09 11:42 PM
horizontal rule
39

You know, places you can go for free with helpful people there at appointed hours, people with know-how and tools?

The Magliozzi brothers had a garage like that long ago, where one of my winemaking pals used to work on his car. I find it inconceivable that there isn't one here, but that may be the case.


Posted by: Jesus McQueen | Link to this comment | 02-18-09 11:43 PM
horizontal rule
40

6 or 7000 [miles between oil changes], sometimes more if you use synthetic. The car manual should tell you, and is more trustable than JiffyScam.

Heh. The oil change interval on my car is 15K miles or every year, depending on what the car's computer tells you. This is a constant source of amazement/concern for new owners, many of whom are convinced that the manufacturer is DETERMINED TO DESTROY THEIR ENGINES!!1!1!ELEVEN!


Posted by: Josh | Link to this comment | 02-18-09 11:49 PM
horizontal rule
41

Oh and Becks: your car isn't old. Mileage is far more of a concern than chronological age. Listen to 'smasher.


Posted by: Josh | Link to this comment | 02-18-09 11:51 PM
horizontal rule
42

Seems to work, but a little scared to trust it.

Yes, it might turn on you. Beat it with a broom handle.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 02-18-09 11:53 PM
horizontal rule
43

35.3: The uhh rubber around the door latches has rotted, and that is what I worry about, the organic parts, plastic, rubber, that will just rot or lose their plasticizers with age. Gaskets? Transmission pads?

That in a way became more of the problem with my '73 VW bus: admittedly the carbureter was screwy and nobody could quite figure it out in the end, but by the time I had it towed from behind the house, the rot had become bad. The only way to address that is to pilfer fittings from other like vehicles. But a 1993 car isn't that old, bob.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 02-18-09 11:54 PM
horizontal rule
44

depending on what the car's computer tells you

What?


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 02-18-09 11:56 PM
horizontal rule
45

43: That happened to our '71 bus - in particular the gasket around the pop top. It made things, uh, interesting.


Posted by: Parenthetical | Link to this comment | 02-18-09 11:56 PM
horizontal rule
46

44: The car's computer monitors the state of the oil and tells you when it needs to be changed. Every time you start it up, you get a little indication of how many miles until you need to take the car in for service.

Oh, and there's no dipstick. You can use the computer to check the oil level if you want, although it's a binary enough/not enough check. This freaks some people right the hell out.


Posted by: Josh | Link to this comment | 02-19-09 12:03 AM
horizontal rule
47

Oh, and there's no dipstick.

Designed to fail gracefully!


Posted by: ben w-lfs-n | Link to this comment | 02-19-09 12:05 AM
horizontal rule
48

Though presumably the computer does so much else that the car wouldn't work at all were it damaged.

Humbug!


Posted by: ben w-lfs-n | Link to this comment | 02-19-09 12:05 AM
horizontal rule
49

46: Yeah, I'm sure that feature's not designed to ensure you take the thing in for "dealer service". They're just being helpful, I'm sure.


Posted by: Stanley | Link to this comment | 02-19-09 12:06 AM
horizontal rule
50

Thank you for providing a handy illustration of the last sentence of my comment, w-lfs-n.


Posted by: Josh | Link to this comment | 02-19-09 12:08 AM
horizontal rule
51

49: Given that as long as the car is under warranty, I don't have to pay anything when I take it to the dealer for routine service...

(And once it's out of warranty, or if I choose to do so earlier, I can always take it to an independent shop.)


Posted by: Josh | Link to this comment | 02-19-09 12:10 AM
horizontal rule
52

What the hell kind of car is this, anyway?


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 02-19-09 12:10 AM
horizontal rule
53

46: I know. Some cars have these computers which tell you these things. They're modern cars.

A car without a dipstick at all would freak me out, yes. That's just dumb. I sort of think that cars without manual window roll-up/down handles are dumb too. What happens if the button to put the windows up/down stops working?? Agggh. It's quite silly.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 02-19-09 12:10 AM
horizontal rule
54

52: One of these.


Posted by: Josh | Link to this comment | 02-19-09 12:13 AM
horizontal rule
55

51: I don't mean to pick on your particular car, and I'm sure there are alternative service locations, but, fucking hell, that shit drives me batty. Fuck off, car companies. Sell me something I can fix, and if I can't fix it, stop fucking my local car shop place. You do not necessarily do a better job, and taking it elsewhere or doing it myself does not void the warranty. They throw that shit around like it's confetti. Make and sell cars. Period.


Posted by: Stanley | Link to this comment | 02-19-09 12:16 AM
horizontal rule
56

53: I think these new-fangled horseless carriages are just plain silly. Why, if you don't put gasoline in them, they stop working! Whereas I can simply let my horse graze as he wants.


Posted by: Josh | Link to this comment | 02-19-09 12:19 AM
horizontal rule
57

I am sure I can tell which one is the velocitator and which the deceleratrix. That's all I need.


Posted by: eb | Link to this comment | 02-19-09 12:22 AM
horizontal rule
58

57: I'm tired and my vision is a bit blurry, so at first I thought you were choosing between a dinosaur and a woman in leather with a whip. Much funnier.


Posted by: Parenthetical | Link to this comment | 02-19-09 12:22 AM
horizontal rule
59

56: Bzzt. No slippery slope here, sorry.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 02-19-09 12:23 AM
horizontal rule
60

I'm still confounded by 35. Bob has 24000 miles on a 1993 car? in Texas? Did you buy it from someone last year? Was he Amish?


Posted by: Wrongshore | Link to this comment | 02-19-09 12:23 AM
horizontal rule
61

Oh, "backup car". Nemind.


Posted by: Wrongshore | Link to this comment | 02-19-09 12:24 AM
horizontal rule
62

55: Which do you want, a car you can fix yourself or a car that a) meets progressively more stringent emissions requirements and b) has safety features like ABS? Even motorcycles, which lag substantially behind cars w/r/t technology (it's only in the last 5 years or so that carburetors have finally gone the way of the dodo), are getting to the point where home mechanics simply can't fix some things.

I'd be surprised if any *manufacturer* ever claimed that getting your car serviced someplace other than a dealership would void the warranty. IME it's the *dealers* who make that particular claim, because they usually make money hand over fist on service. (This is actually one situation where owning a luxury car has a kind of perverse benefit. The shop rates at independent shops usually aren't very much less than at a dealership.)


Posted by: Josh | Link to this comment | 02-19-09 12:29 AM
horizontal rule
63

Oh for the days when all I needed was How to Keep Your Volkswagen Alive, the greatest of repair manuals. I wish there were a Prius equivalent.


Posted by: Jesus McQueen | Link to this comment | 02-19-09 12:33 AM
horizontal rule
64

59: You can stand athwart history shouting "STOP!" all you want. Not gonna change much.


Posted by: Josh | Link to this comment | 02-19-09 12:33 AM
horizontal rule
65

Further to my 59, 56, 53:

Being able to get the windows down (or up) when you're in a car seems particularly important. This should be one case in which one can change the default setting on newer cars from automated window function to manual. There should still be window handles! Seriously.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 02-19-09 12:34 AM
horizontal rule
66

I wish there were a Prius equivalent.

"First, make sure your Faraday cage is in proper working order, or this may be a short procedure..."


Posted by: Josh | Link to this comment | 02-19-09 12:36 AM
horizontal rule
67

64: Josh, are you saying that having a manual dipstick along with the computerized mechanism will somehow get in the way of more stringent emissions standards?


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 02-19-09 12:38 AM
horizontal rule
68

62: You're right to highlight the difference between the manufacturer and the actual local car dealer. Service at the former doesn't exist (no one's taking her car to Detroit) and service at the latter is quite often crap, in my experience, and the manufacturers increasingly seem to be designing cars that are serviceable only at their dealers' locations or at boutique shops.

Jaguar is a common example, but everyone seems to be going that way.

Maybe you're right that it's a matter of super-crazy-awesome technology that can't be looked at except by them. If that's really the case, I see an opportunity to train some mechanics.


Posted by: Stanley | Link to this comment | 02-19-09 12:40 AM
horizontal rule
69

67: Of course not. But having a manual dipstick has very little to do with being able to service your car yourself. I mean, I can still add oil to my car if need be.

It's that all of the stuff manufacturers have to do to pass emissions these days necessitates building systems of sufficient complexity that they can't be fixed by home mechanics. What are you going to do if your fuel injectors stop working properly, disassemble them yourself?


Posted by: Josh | Link to this comment | 02-19-09 12:43 AM
horizontal rule
70

Maybe you're right that it's a matter of super-crazy-awesome technology that can't be looked at except by them. If that's really the case, I see an opportunity to train some mechanics.

Hey, there's a reason there's not much daylight between luxury dealer shop rates and independent mechanics. Part of it is that you need to train your mechanics to a higher level than they've needed before, and part of it is that the tools you need to do diagnostic work are pretty damn expensive. Then there's the fact that luxury car owners by definition have more money than your average car owner...

OTOH, exactly how *are* you going to service a Prius under a shade tree?


Posted by: Josh | Link to this comment | 02-19-09 12:48 AM
horizontal rule
71

OTOH, exactly how *are* you going to service a Prius under a shade tree?

Wait, the stimulus plan didn't fix that problem?

I think Josh and I might find comity under some vague notion that better cars are a social good and that more options for service would be nice, too. Along with which, how we get there is unclear but probably costs money somewhere.


Posted by: Stanley | Link to this comment | 02-19-09 12:52 AM
horizontal rule
72

69.1: I can still add oil to my car if need be.

I want to be clear: You can tell if the car needs oil just judging from the enough/not enough sensor? How much does it need? And if the sensor's not working right?

I certainly understand that vehicles that seem home-built won't meet emissions standards, but meeting the latter needs doesn't seem to require the degree of automation currently built into modern vehicles. Which is why I said there's no slippery slope here. It's not an all or nothing proposition.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 02-19-09 12:54 AM
horizontal rule
73

Yeah, more options for service would be good, but I really don't see how you get there from here.


Posted by: Josh | Link to this comment | 02-19-09 12:59 AM
horizontal rule
74

73: "For the first time in history, the president has called for more dipsticks."


Posted by: Stanley | Link to this comment | 02-19-09 1:01 AM
horizontal rule
75

I want to be clear: You can tell if the car needs oil just judging from the enough/not enough sensor?

If it says "there's not enough oil in the engine", I'm guessing that means it needs oil.

How much does it need?

Well, I know just how low the oil level needs to get before that particular warning will show up... so I know that I can safely add at least the difference between full oil capacity and that level.

And if the sensor's not working right?

Gosh, I sure hope the manufacturer thought of that and did something like, I dunno, build redundancy into the sensor array or add diagnostics to the sensor to let me know if it's malfunctioned!


Posted by: Josh | Link to this comment | 02-19-09 1:03 AM
horizontal rule
76

Maybe you're right that it's a matter of super-crazy-awesome technology that can't be looked at except by them

There are things you can't do without training; for example, I wouldn't go near my car's battery, and I wouldn't touch the airbags. But there are plenty of things people could handle on their own, and might try if they weren't generally discouraged from doing so (for good reasons and bad—I'm hoping for inexpensive diagnostic equipment one of these days). I've done a shade-tree repair on the Prius, BTW.


Posted by: Jesus McQueen | Link to this comment | 02-19-09 1:04 AM
horizontal rule
77

75.2: I know just how low the oil level needs to get before that particular warning will show up... so I know that I can safely add at least the difference between full oil capacity and that level.

This part would be key, wouldn't it? I wonder how many people who drive cars arranged in this manner know that? (Usually the dipstick just shows you that amount that's lacking.)

But enough of the heavy snottiness and defensiveness, Josh. Fine with your vehicle which is almost 100% automated. If others don't wish for the same, you'll have to live with us all the same.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 02-19-09 1:11 AM
horizontal rule
78

76: There's actually an active DIY community for my car; people do their own oil changes all the time, and the more serious ones get way more involved than that.

But what would you like to see people doing on their own that they're not doing now?


Posted by: Josh | Link to this comment | 02-19-09 1:13 AM
horizontal rule
79

I wonder how many people who drive cars arranged in this manner know that?

Gosh, if only there were some place I could look up that information. Hm, maybe the manufacturer thought to provide some documentation with the car that contains basic statistics about it... like what the oil capacity is, and at what point the low oil level warning comes on! No, that's clearly crazy talk.

But enough of the heavy snottiness and defensiveness, Josh.

Snottiness, sure. But defensiveness? I thought objections like the ones you're raising were silly long before I ever thought of buying my current car, parsi.

I mean, really, how many people even know the proper procedure for checking their oil level with a dipstick, let alone do it on a regular basis? (You don't check the oil level cold, do you? Or immediately after shutting off the car?)


Posted by: Josh | Link to this comment | 02-19-09 1:19 AM
horizontal rule
80

79: I don't think you were being defensive but rather noting a rather interesting wrinkle in the conversation.


Posted by: Stanley | Link to this comment | 02-19-09 1:24 AM
horizontal rule
81

80: I've done enough work on motorcycles to know two things: it's really interesting and I'm perfectly happy to pay someone else to do it for me. I'm all for people knowing more about how their vehicles work, and at least as far as motorcycles go I think every owner should know, at a minimum, how to change the oil. I just don't see the trend reversing and machines getting any easier to work on.


Posted by: Josh | Link to this comment | 02-19-09 1:30 AM
horizontal rule
82

And with that, I'm off to bed. Night all.


Posted by: Josh | Link to this comment | 02-19-09 1:33 AM
horizontal rule
83

Good night, Josh, et. al. I'm off to slumber, too.


Posted by: Stanley | Link to this comment | 02-19-09 1:37 AM
horizontal rule
84

"This BMW Stimulates the Economy"


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 02-19-09 5:10 AM
horizontal rule
85

Since no one else has said it, I'll note that 45,000 miles divided by 10 years is only about 4,500 miles per year, which is a (wonderfully low!) level at which you should probably throw the 3,000 miles advice out the window. You ought to change to oil every six months or so. (They say "every three months", but that's overkill IMO.)


Posted by: Brock Landers | Link to this comment | 02-19-09 5:26 AM
horizontal rule
86

And, yes, parsi gets it right: a great bit mother-fuck to automatic windows. There's absolutely no reason no to have manual handles as well. Why do I have to turn on my damn car to get the windows down?


Posted by: Brock Landers | Link to this comment | 02-19-09 5:28 AM
horizontal rule
87

Mileage is more important than chronological age, but things that are rubber or plastic will be showing their age. You should look up your model of car and find out what problems of that kind it tends to have at its age.

As far as computer chips in cars go, small local shops have gear that reads sensors. They're not that expensive (e.g., we own one.) The real problems seem to be that the newer technology means that the instincts of the old mechanic are less useful, and that changes are happening fast enough that it's hard for an independent shop to keep up. Not that the car companies don't want you do use the dealer, but it's not the case that it's the technology alone that's the problem. (Except maybe in the case of the Prius, but I expect that will change when hybrids become more popular.)


Posted by: Cala | Link to this comment | 02-19-09 6:12 AM
horizontal rule
88

Where's IDP lately? Isn't he the resident car guy?


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 02-19-09 6:25 AM
horizontal rule
89

86: I know someone with a mid-90's oldsmobile whose automatic windows weren't reliable, which meant that he'd put them down to pay a toll and be unable to close them for the highway drive. For a while he was opening his door instead until he got a fastlane/ez-pass thing. All cars should totally have manual window controls in addition to automatic ones.


Posted by: Bostoniangirl | Link to this comment | 02-19-09 6:55 AM
horizontal rule
90

85 is right on.

Why do I have to turn on my damn car to get the windows down?

I adore my VW's lower-the-windows-with-the-key-in-the-door feature. In summer, I'll just run out to the car first thing to roll down the windows and get the heat out. Surprise rainstorm with windows down? No problem!


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 02-19-09 7:02 AM
horizontal rule
91

I drive a 1999 Honda with 215,000 miles on it.

What is this "Oil change" thing that you mentioned?


Posted by: will | Link to this comment | 02-19-09 7:02 AM
horizontal rule
92

I sort of think that cars without manual window roll-up/down handles are dumb too.

I wholeheartedly agree. It's not just convenience, it's also safety - if you drive into sufficiently deep water losing power to the windows (and door locks) traps you in the car.

I have an 14 year old BMW that has all the mod cons of 1995, and it's nice (apart from the fact that the plastic components apparently have a ten year design lifetime). I have to get the dealer to do anything more complicated than fluids service due to the fact that there are all manner of weird custom fasteners and electronic gimcrackery.

I suspect that as engines become more and more finely tuned the notion that working on your car is something a nonspecialist could do will fade, especially as hybrids become more common.


Posted by: togolosh | Link to this comment | 02-19-09 7:14 AM
horizontal rule
93

I was going to say that 91 is a lot of mileage, but I put 183k on my Saturn in less than 7 years. I loved that car, and it held up great for 175k hard miles, but the last few thousand miles were rough.

Becks, has this car lived indoors or out-? The mileage is low, but 10 years is enough to start thinking about rust - a '99 car will be a lot less rust-prone than even a '89 (much less '70s or earlier), but if it's been outdoors for 10 years, it's enough to start worrying about. Check the nose for chipped paint and around trim pieces for any areas where maybe the paint is bubbling. At some point, have someone put it on a lift and look underneath (esp. wheel wells). It should be fine now, but the next few years are when you can catch any rust early.

If it's spent much time indoors, then don't worry at all.


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 02-19-09 7:22 AM
horizontal rule
94

Wait, my car has lots of rust. Is that a problem for anything other than aesthetic reasons?


Posted by: Brock Landers | Link to this comment | 02-19-09 7:25 AM
horizontal rule
95

Any move from manual to automated and especially on to digital is fraught with concerns like this. But, I have no evidence, that the mechanics of automated windows fail more frequently than manual ones, and very few, if any of us would be out there fixing a broken manual window mechanism. I knew folks who had the situation in 89 with manual windows. Many years ago I had a 1965 Ford pickup. I could literally climb in and stand next to the engine and point to and understand every piece of equipment in there. I loved that! Compared to today, it was an inefficient, unreliable, polluting and ultimately rusty pile of crap compared to cars on the road today.

Shorter me: Josh wins.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 02-19-09 7:27 AM
horizontal rule
96

92.last: hasn't it already? I mean, my HS buddy bought a TR7 and taught himself how to do everything on it, because it was just that simple/accessible. But even my old Saturn was far, far higher tech than that - I don't think I got much farther than gapping the plugs (do you even still do that?). I would guess that ~1990 marked the dividing line between cars that a novice could figure things on and cars where you had to have a pretty good knowledge base to work on.


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 02-19-09 7:28 AM
horizontal rule
97

94: On the body only when it gets to be really bad. However, it is often a marker that there is rust on more vital components (like fuel tank and/or filler). Worth having a reliable mechanic give it a check over for that.

In the bad old days, i had a car rust so badly, that one day I pulled the seat belt free from where it attached to the body.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 02-19-09 7:30 AM
horizontal rule
98

94: Rust around the wheel wells will get big relatively fast, and then panels start getting dodgy. A little surface rust in the middle of the hood (or whatever) doesn't matter at all.


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 02-19-09 7:31 AM
horizontal rule
99

Shorter me: Josh wins.

Well it is the Ultimate Driving Machine.


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 02-19-09 7:32 AM
horizontal rule
100

In the bad old days, i had a car rust so badly, that one day I pulled the seat belt free from where it attached to the body.

Yes, our family car growing up had this same issue. (Driver's seatbelt.) And, there was an ~7" in diameter hole in the floorboard of the passenger seat, straight through to the road underneath. You had to rest your feet on either side of it. Probably not entirely safe.



Posted by: Brock Landers | Link to this comment | 02-19-09 7:34 AM
horizontal rule
101

96 - I think you are correct that the age of the average joe mechanic has passed, but the mindset persists to some degree. I certainly had no hesitation diving in to work on my car, under the assumption that it was pretty straightforward. Only after considerable effort and expense did I figure out that it would be cheaper and smarter to go to the dealer.


Posted by: togolosh | Link to this comment | 02-19-09 7:35 AM
horizontal rule
102

99: And the stuff will enter the market unevenly, weighted towards the top end. (And there are some aspects that really are car manufacturers attempting to own/control the secondary maintenance market. Some even talk about owning/controlling the "data stream", what could go wrong there?)


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 02-19-09 7:37 AM
horizontal rule
103

I have a 25 year old car and it only has about 78000 miles on it, but I think I am starting to run into the parts are failing do to age problem. I really don't want to get a new car though.


Posted by: CJB | Link to this comment | 02-19-09 7:40 AM
horizontal rule
104

Probably not entirely safe.

On the contrary, you had additional emergency braking unavailable to cars with standard footwells.


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 02-19-09 7:42 AM
horizontal rule
105

I've got the window problem on my 90s Olds too. Just the driver side one though. The window comes back up better when its warmer, and it will get all the way up there eventually. You just have to give it frequent rests.

I noticed a new problem the other day in the rain when I heard sloshing while I drove. The ancient window gaskets having cracked and flaked away, the passenger side door was now full of water. The window still worked though. I'm torn between addressing the cause and just drilling a hole or two in the bottom.


Posted by: Mo MacArbie | Link to this comment | 02-19-09 7:58 AM
horizontal rule
106

As alluded to upthread, one of the true problems with relying on digital is that it can cause you to lose "soft" failure. Working one minute, not working the next. This is an intrinsic problem with digital systems and a lot of architecture work in "computing" for the last 50 years has been aimed at overcoming just this limitation. It led Danny Hillis to title one of his chapters in his book on The Connection Machine as "New Computer Architectures and Their Relationship to Physics or, Why Computer Science is No Good". Also see all the concerns about fly by wire.

So although Josh wins in the long run, this has been a struggle; cars are much more reliable overall, but a bit more "brittle".


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 02-19-09 8:01 AM
horizontal rule
107

Dear Lord, it's really a wonder Brock is still alive.


Posted by: Bave Dee | Link to this comment | 02-19-09 8:02 AM
horizontal rule
108

I think most of my extreme anst re: power windows stems from the fact that my first car, which I bought used, had after-market power windows that were just terribly unreliable. (As in, the car came from the factory with manual windows, and the original owner had a neighborhood mechanic pull them out and install some makeshift power windows in their place.) I hated those things, which broke constantly, and of course few mechanics were willing to work on them (much less the factory), since they'd never seen them before and didn't want to be responsible for them. So I was always out in my driveway pulling to damn door off my car and opening it up to fix the fucking windows. I was overjoyed to get nice, reliable manual windows in my next car. But I've never actually had much of a problem with factory power windows.


Posted by: Brock Landers | Link to this comment | 02-19-09 8:13 AM
horizontal rule
109

"the factory" s/b "a dealer"


Posted by: Brock Landers | Link to this comment | 02-19-09 8:13 AM
horizontal rule
110

I mean the second use of factory, not the first or third.


Posted by: Brock Landers | Link to this comment | 02-19-09 8:15 AM
horizontal rule
111

Becks,

If you've only got 45k, you might still be on your original tires. If that is the case, check to be sure the sidewalls are still intact. Tires can dry-rot while you still have tread, especially if the car is outside most of the time. In fact, I wouldn't drive anywhere on tires that old.


Posted by: MH | Link to this comment | 02-19-09 8:19 AM
horizontal rule
112

I like the idea of getting a hybrid someday, but at the moment I like even more how I don't have car payments. 1994 w/ 190K and drives fine.

Actually the odometer broke at 99K. But it broke somewhere between the recording mechanism and the dashboard, so it's still keeping track under the hood somewhere, and every now and then the mechanic tells me what I'm up to. And that it would cost $500 to fix the dashboard.

If I go somewhere like Jiffy Lube twice in a row, and they see their own sticker in the window saying "Service due at 102K miles or by X date" it throws them off WAY more than it should to see that my odometer still says 99K. Like, "let's sit down and discuss this slowly" thrown off.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 02-19-09 8:28 AM
horizontal rule
113

I've driven in a care with a piece of plywood covering the rusted out hole in the floor. I also had a car in Oregon whose windshield wipers burned out, and we ran them manually for a few months by threading a cord through the car and out the front windows and tying one ende to each wiper.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 02-19-09 8:44 AM
horizontal rule
114

Dadgum odometer.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 02-19-09 8:47 AM
horizontal rule
115

114: Trying to get to Californie to escape the dust bowl?


Posted by: MH | Link to this comment | 02-19-09 8:48 AM
horizontal rule
116

112: We had our speedometer go out like that a couple years ago, and drove without it for a year or two (yeah, this was probably a bad idea). The mechanic couldn't fix it other than by replacing the whole dashboard assembly, which means that our odometer bears no relationship to the actual number of miles on the car. But we're getting up to 200,000, or at least well over 150K. (Ours is also a 1994. Maybe a 95? But I think 94. It had a fair number of miles on it when we got it.)


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 02-19-09 8:49 AM
horizontal rule
117

This thread reminds me of why I'm not really upset that I have to take my car in for state inspections every year.


Posted by: MH | Link to this comment | 02-19-09 9:02 AM
horizontal rule
118

The thing about power windows and other crap is that they eat away your MPG. Take a gander at what we got on the older cars.

http://www.mpgomatic.com/2007/10/08/super-cheap-high-mpg-cars-1978-1981/

I learned to drive on one of the cars on that list, a 1981 Subaru wagon. Stick shift with manual power windows, brakes, and steering. 40+ mpg on the highway no problem.


Posted by: gswift | Link to this comment | 02-19-09 9:04 AM
horizontal rule
119

The thing about power windows and other crap is that they eat away your MPG

Why would power windows have anything to do with MPG?


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 02-19-09 9:08 AM
horizontal rule
120

I was a bit perturbed when I got my car inspected, paid $250 to replace some brake thing as I am told to do every time I get my car inspected, and then exactly 18 hours later the car overheated, the thermometer did not tell me it had overheated, and the engine was destroyed, stranding me in a distant town where I had to sell it for $300. But of course the inspection can't cover everything.


Posted by: Cryptic ned | Link to this comment | 02-19-09 9:08 AM
horizontal rule
121

re: 119

You'll get that easily with a lot of modern cars, too.


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 02-19-09 9:09 AM
horizontal rule
122

You'll get that easily with a lot of modern cars, too.

Not in this country you won't, unless you've got a VW diesel.


Posted by: gswift | Link to this comment | 02-19-09 9:11 AM
horizontal rule
123

See, power windows encourage you to lower the windows instead of keeping them up, which is bad for aerodynamicness.


Posted by: Cryptic ned | Link to this comment | 02-19-09 9:11 AM
horizontal rule
124

Power windows don't have much to do with MPG, though a manual transmission is a savings (unless you are one of those '2nd gear is pretty much all you need' drivers). Also, the newer emissions standards hurt MPG a bit.


Posted by: MH | Link to this comment | 02-19-09 9:12 AM
horizontal rule
125

Why would power windows have anything to do with MPG?

Powering a bunch of motors for windows, brakes, steering, AC, etc. basically turns your car engine into an electric generator instead of using that power for propelling the car.


Posted by: gswift | Link to this comment | 02-19-09 9:12 AM
horizontal rule
126

121: If that was in Pittsburgh, tell me where to avoid.


Posted by: MH | Link to this comment | 02-19-09 9:14 AM
horizontal rule
127

I thought those were powered by the battery, which recharges as you go, not the engine.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 02-19-09 9:14 AM
horizontal rule
128

I thought those were powered by the battery, which recharges as you go, not the engine.

Alternator.


Posted by: gswift | Link to this comment | 02-19-09 9:15 AM
horizontal rule
129

Why don't rear windshields roll down? Wouldn't that be a simple way to alleviate much of the drag problem with rolled-down windows?


Posted by: Brock Landers | Link to this comment | 02-19-09 9:16 AM
horizontal rule
130

130: You want a station wagon. Probably with wood-paneled sides.


Posted by: MH | Link to this comment | 02-19-09 9:18 AM
horizontal rule
131

128: Heebie, I want you to think that statement through very carefully.


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 02-19-09 9:21 AM
horizontal rule
132

Why don't rear windshields roll down? Wouldn't that be a simple way to alleviate much of the drag problem with rolled-down windows?

Apparently aerodynamics is such that a rolled-down rear windshield tends to suck exhaust back into the vehicle. A friend's Sidekick warned in the manual not to drive with the plastic rear panel zipped down for this reason.


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 02-19-09 9:23 AM
horizontal rule
133

||

Oh, look. Obama is personally putting his clout towards fucking with Social Security as one of his first 100 days efforts. Whoever could have predicted that?

|>


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 02-19-09 9:28 AM
horizontal rule
134

133: you know what, I think I recall that I've actually heard that before. And it makes sense.


Posted by: Brock Landers | Link to this comment | 02-19-09 9:30 AM
horizontal rule
135

134: If Obama means-tests Social Security, I'll forget about his part in the bailout.


Posted by: MH | Link to this comment | 02-19-09 9:37 AM
horizontal rule
136

Not in this country you won't, unless you've got a VW diesel.

And the Jetta TDI which I think is their most fuel efficient in their current lineup just hits 40mpg highway.


Posted by: CJB | Link to this comment | 02-19-09 9:37 AM
horizontal rule
137

I kind of want a VW, but the only person I know who owns one around here says he keeps having to get the undercarriage fixed because it keeps bottoming out on our crappy, hilly roads.


Posted by: MH | Link to this comment | 02-19-09 9:39 AM
horizontal rule
138

I've driven in a care with a piece of plywood covering the rusted out hole in the floor. I also had a car in Oregon whose windshield wipers burned out, and we ran them manually for a few months by threading a cord through the car and out the front windows and tying one ende to each wiper.

No wonder Detroit is going down the tubes. People are just too thrifty.


Posted by: | Link to this comment | 02-19-09 9:42 AM
horizontal rule
139

And the Jetta TDI which I think is their most fuel efficient in their current lineup just hits 40mpg highway.

That may be a severe EPS underestimate. My old boss had one (ca. 2003 model) that regularly topped 50 MPG highway, and he was crazy-aggressive. Pittsburgh to Harrisburg, round trip (~400 mi.) took half a tank of diesel - ~15 gal. tank. The new model may do worse, but I doubt it's 20% worse.

138: I have a Passat wagon, and it's never bottomed out, even on the Slopes. I did have a strut puncture a wheel when I hit a massive pothole at 20+ MPH, but I don't think VW deserves the blame on that one.


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 02-19-09 9:53 AM
horizontal rule
140

134: Ezra says to settle down, but I don't really trust Obama or Orszag on this, and I sure as hell don't trust the Blue Dogs or Judd Gregg or Pete Peterson. And, frankly, after the stimulus "bipartisanship" clusterfuck, I don't really trust this admin to put the concessions and takeaways in the right order.


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 02-19-09 9:55 AM
horizontal rule
141

140: I usually blame Tom Murphy for everything to do with the roads.


Posted by: MH | Link to this comment | 02-19-09 9:57 AM
horizontal rule
142

The new model may do worse, but I doubt it's 20% worse.

Beats me. I know that they did have to do a major redesign to meet the new diesel emission standards.

I have a Passat wagon, and it's never bottomed out, even on the Slopes.

My guess is it would be model dependent. The rabbit and GTI seem to have really low ground clearance, but the sedans look about normal.


Posted by: CJB | Link to this comment | 02-19-09 9:57 AM
horizontal rule
143

134:You Rang?


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 02-19-09 10:01 AM
horizontal rule
144

Don't be so vain, bob. Half of us were yelling at stras on that thread.


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 02-19-09 10:06 AM
horizontal rule
145

I usually blame Tom Murphy for everything to do with the roads.

While endearingly old-fashioned, I don't actually think there's any sound basis for this.


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 02-19-09 10:07 AM
horizontal rule
146

re: 137


There are a fair number of UK production cars that average over 50mpg even when including urban as well as motorway driving. There are large family cars that do well over 50mpg on the motorway.

Even the 2 litre Rover I used to have [late 80s model] used to do a lot closer to 40mpg [US] on the motorway than you'd think. I'd be surprised if it was really that much under 40 US, tbh.


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 02-19-09 10:07 AM
horizontal rule
147

146: I'm not saying that current officials are innocent, but Murphy was mayor when the city went bankrupt (for all practical purposes) and it's not like he was new to the job when the city went under.


Posted by: MH | Link to this comment | 02-19-09 10:11 AM
horizontal rule
148

Alternative to 134?


Posted by: oudemia | Link to this comment | 02-19-09 10:41 AM
horizontal rule
149

148: Ah. But the roads were shit long before then.


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 02-19-09 11:05 AM
horizontal rule
150

149: We'll see. I'm not counting on any political ju-jitsu after we all said that Obama was screwing up by talking about bipartisanship and negotiating with himself on the stimulus, and sure enough, we got a worse stimulus than we should have.

It may be fine, but I intend to fulfill my role of attacking Obama from the left for the next 8 (I hope) years.


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 02-19-09 11:09 AM
horizontal rule
151

150: Yes, but Murphy had the office longest of anybody since Lawrence.


Posted by: MH | Link to this comment | 02-19-09 11:12 AM
horizontal rule
152

All cars should totally have manual window controls in addition to automatic ones.

I had the same problem on my '85 Caddie (black, leather interior, dark windows, named it Uncle Enzo and yes it died violently but that was one sweet ride). Worse, though, in all honesty, was my '86 Pontiac Bonneville (aka Jody the Demonic Pontiac) that lost the manual window crank in some fashion that, though I can't recall why, prevented me from replacing it with another window crank. I had a pair of those pliers that lock affixed to the door and had to crank... and crank... and crank... to get the window up or down. So annoying. It was in that car that I learned, on some road trip or another, that some toll booth operators kind of freak out when you open your door.

I now drive a hybrid and have only ever bothered to list the hood once, out of curiosity, only to find it fairly incomprehensible. It's also the first car I've ever driven in the decade of its manufacture and the first car I've ever driven that has a warranty. I cannot express how much worry that has removed from my day-to-day.


Posted by: Robust McManlyPants | Link to this comment | 02-19-09 11:37 AM
horizontal rule
153

Heebie, I want you to think that statement through very carefully.

The statement that the power gadgets run off the battery, which is recharged by the engine, and are therefore not a draw on the engine?

My understanding is that the battery is recharged by the energy from the engine which would otherwise just be lost to heat/friction/whatever.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 02-19-09 11:45 AM
horizontal rule
154

112, 117: The odometer/speedometer assembly on my last car broke at ~140K miles (apparently it's a relatively common problem on Civics). When I sold the car, I had to put down the mileage and make very sure to check the little box that said "Odometer does not reflect actual mileage".

But LB... you drove for a *year* without a speedometer? Really?


Posted by: Josh | Link to this comment | 02-19-09 11:47 AM
horizontal rule
155

My understanding is that the battery is recharged by the energy from the engine which would otherwise just be lost to heat/friction/whatever.

It doesn't work that way. You clearly didn't pay attention to the alternator exhibit at the Exploratorium.


Posted by: Josh | Link to this comment | 02-19-09 11:50 AM
horizontal rule
156

It should work that way. That would be more efficient.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 02-19-09 11:51 AM
horizontal rule
157

My truck is 21! I think this means it is Historical and doesn't have to pass tests any more. I should probably find out what the rules actually are about this.


Posted by: Cecily | Link to this comment | 02-19-09 11:58 AM
horizontal rule
158

Also the rules about having glow-in-the-dark paint on vehicle. Do you think there are laws about not being distracting?


Posted by: Cecily | Link to this comment | 02-19-09 11:59 AM
horizontal rule
159

155: Well, we didn't drive often. I admit this was not, probably, a good idea. (The speedo actually worked fine up to 40 or so, and over that would bounce erratically in about a 20 mph range. So you could kind of guess about how fast you were likely to be going.)


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 02-19-09 12:03 PM
horizontal rule
160

Not in Montana. Perhaps in DC.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 02-19-09 12:04 PM
horizontal rule
161

Impressive - most speedos bounce erratically when their wearers are barely jogging.


Posted by: Cryptic ned | Link to this comment | 02-19-09 12:04 PM
horizontal rule
162

Unless you're on an empty stretch of road, why would you need a speedometer? Just keep up with traffic. Go a touch slower than surrounding traffic if you want to be extra-safe.

Driving a year without brakes, on the other hand--that would be noteworthy.


Posted by: Brock Landers | Link to this comment | 02-19-09 12:07 PM
horizontal rule
163

157 - Even more efficient would be having the extra energy that could go to running the alternator used for moving the car.


Posted by: togolosh | Link to this comment | 02-19-09 12:07 PM
horizontal rule
164

Cars should really drive in a v-formation for maximum efficiency.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 02-19-09 12:09 PM
horizontal rule
165

What is rust and how does it get into your cars?


Posted by: Megan | Link to this comment | 02-19-09 12:11 PM
horizontal rule
166

It's one of those things you only need to worry about if your home state isn't a desert. Not a problem for you.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 02-19-09 12:13 PM
horizontal rule
167

Oh Megan, you know "rust". It's that dried-blood-colored crayon color? Kind of like dark clay.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 02-19-09 12:14 PM
horizontal rule
168

You know, reading this thread I think everyone should have to spend time with an old, cranky car.

My first car was 1969 VW Karmann Ghia (in 1997). The fuel tank was rusty, so I had to repeatedly change the fuel filter so it wouldn't clog and leave me stranded. The fuel tank gauge was broken. The speedometer was off by at least 10 mph, but that didn't matter because the car wouldn't go over 55 without protesting strenuously. I had to manually use the driver side's windshield wiper if I drove more often than not because the motor was tricksy. It would stall at the most unusual times. The clutch was the most difficult I've ever used (learning to drive in this vehicle was a trial), and the gear box, you had to wrestle with it. All of this just made me love the car more, and but also appreciate any car with these fancy modern conveniences that y'all are talking about.

Also, I'm still baffled as to why America can't produce cars with better fuel standards. My 1991 Mercury Tracer (not exactly a fine example of engineering) got upwards of 45 mpg (and still passed CA smog tests) highway. It was a 4 cylinder, manual transmission, no power anything so I understand why it did well. The 1995 Camry gets 32 mpg highway. It's a 4 cylinder, automatic, power everything. So, fine, I can deal with that, it does well for what I need it to. But what I don't understand is why in 2009 90% of the cars on the American market can't beat either, or just pull even with the Camry. Why?


Posted by: Parenthetical | Link to this comment | 02-19-09 12:17 PM
horizontal rule
169

After a few years you are supposed to paint your car that color?


Posted by: Megan | Link to this comment | 02-19-09 12:18 PM
horizontal rule
170

158: My truck is 21! I think this means it is Historical and doesn't have to pass tests any more.

Worth checking into, as your auto insurance could go way down. Rules on putting Historic tags on a vehicle differ state by state. In some states it has to be your second vehicle (bummer).


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 02-19-09 12:18 PM
horizontal rule
171

But what I don't understand is why in 2009 90% of the cars on the American market can't beat either, or just pull even with the Camry. Why?

Aren't they just, on average, bigger? I don't actually know, but I've vaguely assumed that must be the issue.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 02-19-09 12:20 PM
horizontal rule
172

170: The custom in some parts of the world is to sand down the body of the car with a belt-sander, and then paint the exposed metal with that dark clay. Some of the locals get quite into it, and will practically rub holes clear through the body of their cars. This tradition is said to bring about the sun during the long winter months.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 02-19-09 12:21 PM
horizontal rule
173

171: it's already as low as it could reasonably be expected to go, I think. Something like $50/month. But yes. WOO OLD TRUCK!

Did you guys see my paint job?


Posted by: Cecily | Link to this comment | 02-19-09 12:22 PM
horizontal rule
174

165 - I've seen serious proposals for autopiloted cars that drive with NASCAR type following distances on the highway. Apparently the fuel savings are substantial. The driver has to be willing to give up control of the vehicle while on the highway. There would be a couple of pelleton lanes, then a transition lane and then a regular lane.


Posted by: togolosh | Link to this comment | 02-19-09 12:23 PM
horizontal rule
175

172: My Camry is a large, large sedan. The new ones are smaller. I was thinking only about the 4-door sedan type cars, not the SUVs and cross-overs and blah de blah. But I suppose you're probably right and it's just that.


Posted by: Parenthetical | Link to this comment | 02-19-09 12:23 PM
horizontal rule
176

Has anybody had a newer car rust? I've got a 15 year-old Jeep that has spent most of its life in places where they salt the streets in the winter. I don't have a trace of rust on any of the finished parts. (Though the hood release handled pulled-off in my hand a couple of months ago.)


Posted by: MH | Link to this comment | 02-19-09 12:24 PM
horizontal rule
177

174: You're much younger than I pictured you. And that is glow-in-the-dark paint?


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 02-19-09 12:24 PM
horizontal rule
178

Wow. People are strange. But I suppose that if I lived where winters are bad, I'd do just about anything to bring back the sun.

(Have you noticed? Ever since Obama was sworn in, the days have been getting longer!)


Posted by: Megan | Link to this comment | 02-19-09 12:25 PM
horizontal rule
179

No. But I HAVE glow-in-the-dark paint, and I would like to add it to the mix. I think.


Posted by: Cecily | Link to this comment | 02-19-09 12:26 PM
horizontal rule
180

Hm, I haven't seen many rust without some other kind of damage but I live in CA. I've seen plenty of older cars rust (I loved our Mini with the hole in the floor boards so you could watch the ground below, so awesome) here, and my 91 had some pockets of rust where the paint was damaged.


Posted by: Parenthetical | Link to this comment | 02-19-09 12:26 PM
horizontal rule
181

If more active lighting methods aren't illegal - ground effects, fog lamps, whatever - and in general distracting and attention-getting artistic modifications - say, the babydoll car that exists in every college town - are not illegal, then surely glow-in-the-dark paint is not illegal.

I am neither a lawyer nor an employee of the DMV.


Posted by: Robust McManlyPants | Link to this comment | 02-19-09 12:29 PM
horizontal rule
182

182: Not ambitious enough for the first, too ambitious for the later?


Posted by: MH | Link to this comment | 02-19-09 12:36 PM
horizontal rule
183

My Honda Accord is a '99, w/about 60K miles on it. Its only problem is the somewhat squashed hood that resulted from my son's ramming gently hitting a van that had stopped short in front of him. That took out the air conditioning, but I haven't bothered to get it fixed. [This was not something we reported to the insurance company, as that would have doubled our already astronomical insurance rates for three years. It was cheaper to pay the $800 to get the van's bumper replaced.] I change oil every 3K or 6 months, whichever comes first, get it tuned up now and then and change the tires every 5 years, at the recommendation of an old friend who was an auto mechanic.

My Datsun B-210 was finally retired after 185K miles and the subsequent Mercedes was sold off at 157K. [I can only say, of the Isuzu Rodeo I owned for three long years, that I will never buy an Isuzu again. Especially one assembled in the US, where forgetting to clamp the radiator hose is apparently normal.]


Posted by: DominEditrix | Link to this comment | 02-19-09 12:39 PM
horizontal rule
184

My Honda Accord is a '99, w/about 60K miles on it.

Wow. I have 215, 000 on mine, and you have 60,000. Crazy.


Posted by: will | Link to this comment | 02-19-09 1:07 PM
horizontal rule
185

I don't trust them newfangled automelectrical self-starters. Those things are just bound to fail. Give me a trusty old hand-crank starter any day.


Posted by: Spike | Link to this comment | 02-19-09 1:09 PM
horizontal rule
186

186: "Fill it up with petroleum distillate, and re-vulcanize my tires, post-haste!"


Posted by: Stanley | Link to this comment | 02-19-09 1:15 PM
horizontal rule
187

Not ambitious enough for the first, too ambitious for the later?

That about sums it up. I did once translate for a migrant worker at the DMV, in return for jumping to the head of the line, but I doubt every day would be so uplifting.


Posted by: Robust McManlyPants | Link to this comment | 02-19-09 1:19 PM
horizontal rule
188

I can only say, of the Isuzu Rodeo I owned for three long years, that I will never buy an Isuzu again.

I used to have an '87 Isuzu Trooper. Its paint was mostly peeled off and since it was basically a big glass rectangle it was a bit like driving an aquarium but it was hell of fun to operate. The gear shift was about three feet long and between the various push-buttons and levers it was a lot like driving Chitty Chitty Bang Bang.

Until the timing chain broke, that is.


Posted by: Robust McManlyPants | Link to this comment | 02-19-09 1:24 PM
horizontal rule
189

189: My roommate is reviving an '87 Trooper even as we speak! Yeah, fun to operate. Kind of drafty.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 02-19-09 1:28 PM
horizontal rule
190

190: So fun, though! And when I was a smoker it was highly prized for its wing windows.


Posted by: Robust McManlyPants | Link to this comment | 02-19-09 1:32 PM
horizontal rule
191

I ran a car with zero speedometer function for about a year per a comment I posted on some earlier thread (drunk driving thread maybe?) I found it somewhat liberating* and learned to calibrate my speed well even on deserted roads. I recommend it.

*It was a bit upsetting when it first broke on a stretch of relatively deserted interstate in West Virginia. Some mile marker and watch work got me past that initial freak out.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 02-19-09 1:41 PM
horizontal rule
192

My old Saturn let you turn the dash lights down to zero at night, which made for some awesome late night driving up on I-80. Music so loud you couldn't hear anything, virtually no interior lighting (I think just the clock on the radio), no feedback, no one around. Of course I would sometimes turn off the headlights, but never for long.


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 02-19-09 1:59 PM
horizontal rule
193

learned to calibrate my speed well even on deserted roads.

I feel like I have a very good sense of how fast I'm driving. I wonder if I'm right.


Posted by: Megan | Link to this comment | 02-19-09 2:28 PM
horizontal rule
194

I ran a car with zero speedometer function for about a year ... and learned to calibrate my speed well even on deserted roads

How do you know?


Posted by: Brock Landers | Link to this comment | 02-19-09 2:31 PM
horizontal rule
195

194: What is the secret of bald assertions?

................... Timing.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 02-19-09 2:38 PM
horizontal rule
196

193: You could check your speedometer?


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 02-19-09 2:39 PM
horizontal rule
197

Hey Messily--drop me a line. Stu and I are ready to go on a mission for you this weekend.


Posted by: Armsmasher | Link to this comment | 02-19-09 2:52 PM
horizontal rule
198

Could, but I think if it were a self-administered test, I'd fudge the results until they confirmed that I have a very good sense of how fast I drive.


Posted by: Megan | Link to this comment | 02-19-09 3:05 PM
horizontal rule
199

You'd have to close your eyes while you made your guess, to be safe.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 02-19-09 3:07 PM
horizontal rule
200

Blog it!


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 02-19-09 3:15 PM
horizontal rule
201

Set up one webcam that's focussed on your speedometer, and another that's focussed on your face, then go driving around. Then you can broadcast in a split screen so we your audience can see you as you make guesses as to how fast you're going. We'll check it with the speedometer and IM you about how close or far off you are from your actual speed!


Posted by: M/tch M/lls | Link to this comment | 02-19-09 3:26 PM
horizontal rule
202

It'll be awesome.


Posted by: Megan | Link to this comment | 02-19-09 3:36 PM
horizontal rule
203

194: Actually it was similar to setting and holding a pace in running or swimming. And deserted roads don't stay deserted forever, you generally get someone to validate against eventually. Really just driving to what felt comfortable—usually faster than most, slower than some, which is my general metric for validating my speed in poor conditions even with a speedometer*. I found myself most uncomfortable trying to hit, say 35 or 40 going through a small town on an otherwise straight and open road.

*I recently drove about 20 miles essentially alone on the road through what were about the worst whiteout conditions I've ever driven in. That would have been an utter nightmare (and I hope I would have pulled over) in that car, as I found the speedometer provided a huge % of my total driving feedback (along with the vibrations from the road (muted by packed snow) and peripherally evident snowbanks on the sides of the road).


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 02-19-09 3:38 PM
horizontal rule
204

197: Okay, but only if you wear crime fighting costumes.


Posted by: Cecily | Link to this comment | 02-19-09 4:13 PM
horizontal rule
205

The warm feeling I get when someone is
thoughtful enough to say thank you for having been helped far
outweighs the empty one I get when there's no feedback at all.
___________________

ALEX45

Supplements from Foods


Posted by: Supplements from Foods | Link to this comment | 02-21-09 6:34 AM
horizontal rule
206

ALEX45 is People!


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 02-21-09 7:50 AM
horizontal rule
207

Shouldn't that spam have been on the New Brunswick tourism/judaism thread?


Posted by: Cryptic ned | Link to this comment | 02-21-09 9:21 AM
horizontal rule