FacebookTwitter
Hatrack River Forum   
my profile login | search | faq | forum home

  next oldest topic   next newest topic
» Hatrack River Forum » Active Forums » Books, Films, Food and Culture » car (buying) advice (Page 0)

  This topic comprises 2 pages: 1  2   
Author Topic: car (buying) advice
Nick
Member
Member # 4311

 - posted      Profile for Nick           Edit/Delete Post 
The secrets to keeping your car in good mechanical condition:
1. Keeping it maintained, even if you don't think it needs it because it costs too much
2. Keeping your foot out of it, avoiding heavy acceleration and competitive freeway driving.
3. Refraining from driving the car hard around corners.

Harsh driving and not completing scheduled maintenance hurts cars in the long run more than anything else. Sometimes it's less about who makes the car and more how well you treat it.

Posts: 4229 | Registered: Dec 2002  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
BlueWizard
Member
Member # 9389

 - posted      Profile for BlueWizard   Email BlueWizard         Edit/Delete Post 
Steve/BlueWizard:
"The Prius lists for over $22,000 and rarely get its maximum mileage rating of 55 mpg. If you do all urban big-city low-speed stop-and-go driving, there might be some advantage to a hybrid. But out on the highway, it's just another car with no advantage."

Nick:
I wouldn't say NO advantage, that's totally false. I could explain to you in more detail why you're wrong if you like. [Razz]

Nick has gone on and explained the advantages in detail of the Prius. But in the end, when you are out on the highway you simply have a small car with a small engine, yes, a very technically advanced engine.

For the record the Prius and the Matrix are similar sized car with similar wheelbases. However, the Prius weighs 2932 pounds, the Matrix weighs 2679 pounds. That's probably the extra weight of the battery and electric motor. But, the Matrix is a five passenger car that has 50% more luggage space, and the Matrix engine also has Variable Valve Timing.

So, if you don't mind driving a small car with a small engine, then maybe their is no problem. Just remember you are paying a $6,000 premium to do so, and that doesn't count any additional dealer 'premium' you might have to pay to actually buy the car.

Again, I am coming at this from an economic stand point, and asking myself and you the question, are you really going to save +$6,000 worth of gas in the time you own the car? YES, you are going to save gas, but not in a way that is economically advantageous. But then, that may not be your priority.

To analyze the economic aspects, for that extra +$6,000 you can buy 1500 gallons of gas at $4.00 per gallon, and at 33 mpg that will take you about 50,000 miles. At the 55 mpg rated for the Prius, that $6,000 represents 85,000 miles of driving. The entire cost of gasoline for the like driving life of the car.

If you want a small car with a small engine and good fuel economy consider the Toyota Yaris which get 34 mpg city and 40 mpg highway. And most important, only cost $11,000 for the hatchback up to $13,500 for the S-Sedan. That is roughly a $10,000 price difference. You can buy TWO of these cars for the price of a Prius.

Again, if you live in an urban setting, and don't mind a small car with limited performance, and don't mind paying a premium for the car, then perhaps this is the car for you. Just don't assume that a hybrid is the answer to ALL prayers; some prayers, yes, but not all.

In general I like the concept of hybrids, but this technology is very new, and other hybrid combinations are being experimented with. For example combustion engine/closed-Steam hybrid.

Plus with the new ethanol injected engines developed at MIT, you will soon be able to get hybrid like mileage with very high performance. These burn standard gasoline, but at peak demands they inject additional E85 into the mix. This makes very small engine extremely powerful with about a 25% improvement in mileage for a given car.

Just passing it along.

Steve/BlueWizard

Posts: 803 | Registered: May 2006  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
MightyCow
Member
Member # 9253

 - posted      Profile for MightyCow           Edit/Delete Post 
I'm no expert on used car buying, but my brother has successfully purchased two used cars from private owners. He and the owner agree to split the cost of an inspection, and they take the car to a neutral repair shop. If there are any problems, my brother either rejects the car, or takes that into consideration with the price.

The way I look at it (and I think he does as well), you're buying a used car - there are going to be some problems no matter where you get it. Most private sellers are not pros, so they're not trying to make a living selling you the car, where dealerships are. I would think that on average, private sellers would be MORE upfront with problems and car issues - you can more easily cause them trouble, and they're probably basically good people.

Posts: 3950 | Registered: Mar 2006  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
BlueWizard
Member
Member # 9389

 - posted      Profile for BlueWizard   Email BlueWizard         Edit/Delete Post 
Don't get me wrong, I'm not against Hybrids; I'm very much in favor of them, but... you need to ask yourself if this car will serve your needs independent of whether it is a hybrid. Will it have enough functional power? Will it have enough passenger and luggage area? Will is be sufficient to serve as your only car? Can you really afford the premium you will surely pay for it?

Like I said you can buy one REALLY nice regular car, or two really good small cars for the same price.

I was at the used car lot yesterday and they had good used Ford Focus's there for $6,000 to $8,000 which means you can buy three and nearly four of these cars for the price of a Prius. My brother, as I have said, drives a Focus, it is trouble free and gets great gas mileage. Certainly not as good as a Prius, but still very good.

Note that equivalent used Honda and Toyota cars would cost significantly more because they hold their value better, but since the Prius is new, we don't really know how well they will hold their value. They're a great car under warrantee, but if you have to replace the battery pack out of your own pocket, count on spending several thousand dollars.

You indicated that you were buying this car with inherited money, so in a sense this is 'free' money. It doesn't diminish your lifestyle to spend it. But you could fully insulate your house for less than $6,000. Would that be a better energy savings? You can install ceiling fans to reduce your air conditioner consumption. You could put that money into an ultra-high efficiency furnace for your home. You could probably buy a wind generator with that money and save energy that way.

If this car will serve your needs, and you can afford the extra cost, and you drive in urban/suburban setting, and you drive average to significant number of miles per year, then maybe this car is right for you. But don't just look at the fact that it is a hybrid, consider full what that means.

That's all I'm saying.

Steve/BlueWizard

Posts: 803 | Registered: May 2006  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
MightyCow
Member
Member # 9253

 - posted      Profile for MightyCow           Edit/Delete Post 
I wonder what the environmental impact would be of saving X number of dollars, and buying carbon credits with some or all of it. Not to dissuade you from getting the car you want, just something to think about if environmental protection is a serious concern in your purchasing decision.
Posts: 3950 | Registered: Mar 2006  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Nick
Member
Member # 4311

 - posted      Profile for Nick           Edit/Delete Post 
quote:
Originally posted by BlueWizard:


Nick has gone on and explained the advantages in detail of the Prius. But in the end, when you are out on the highway you simply have a small car with a small engine, yes, a very technically advanced engine.

For the record the Prius and the Matrix are similar sized car with similar wheelbases. However, the Prius weighs 2932 pounds, the Matrix weighs 2679 pounds. That's probably the extra weight of the battery and electric motor. But, the Matrix is a five passenger car that has 50% more luggage space, and the Matrix engine also has Variable Valve Timing.


I addressed that, the other cars also have variable valve timing, but they use it for scavenging and maximizing air/fuel ratio at higher engine speeds. They are not Atkinson cycle engines, and the Prius is, you shouldn't confuse the two.

Look I'm not a Prius enthusiast, and I was explaining the benefits to rollainm because he asked for them, not to correct you. I was kidding with you, that's what the " [Razz] " was for. I just don't like it when people choose not to believe the validity of the claims of the hybrids when from a standpoint of a person who saw them every day(me) has seen their fuel economy. I've had a customer come in all angry and say they had horrible mileage. It turned out they had a nail in a tire that had 5 psi in it (supposed to be 35 psi). Mileage drops can be anything.

Are they overpriced? Probably. They are primarily made to be environmentally friendly vehicles that good gas mileage while retaining the performance of the average car. You're saying they don't do this? They also have a whole bunch of techno-gadgets inside, like the touch-screen, available navigation, bluetooth, SmartKey, variable capacity electric a/c compressor to less the climate control load on the powertrain.

It's worth it to add that the battery pack on the Prius is 10 years/100,000 miles. Quite a while.

If they didn't look so funny, I would buy one myself, but... well... I don't like'em. [Smile]

Posts: 4229 | Registered: Dec 2002  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Bokonon
Member
Member # 480

 - posted      Profile for Bokonon           Edit/Delete Post 
Get a used Civic Hybrid, especially if you drive mostly highway. [Smile] Otherwise a used Civic or Toyota equivalent would be a more financially astute choice.

I am a 2004 Civic Hybrid owner, and I don't get great city mileage here in Boston (probably varies between 30-38 on average), but going no more than 5-10 MPH over posted limits here on highways (which means 70-75MPH) I can easily get 45+ MPG. I can get to Philadelphia from Boston on a tank, and still have several gallons to spare (it's only 380 miles to Philadelphia).

Now, I don't know if the total cost is higher, but we made sure to get full warranties (including a 7-year bumper-to-bumper) since the combination of tech was so new. So far we are at around 40k miles. The CVT broke an internal belt at 8k, and they replaced the entire transmission in one piece under warranty (apparently they don't like tinkering with parts of a larger system on some of these new cars), and then the CVT had an issue again when we got our scheduled transmission fluid flushing and the mechanic doing it got some grit in the system. Outside of these two issues, the car is just purring along.

Nick, my wife didn't like the Prius (new one) profile either, she felt to "up front" over the engine. The Civic had sufficiently "normal car " ergonomics.

-Bok

Posts: 7021 | Registered: Nov 1999  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Nick
Member
Member # 4311

 - posted      Profile for Nick           Edit/Delete Post 
quote:
Originally posted by Bokonon:


Nick, my wife didn't like the Prius (new one) profile either, she felt to "up front" over the engine. The Civic had sufficiently "normal car " ergonomics.

-Bok

Not to be rude, but why are you telling me this? I don't like them either. [Wink]

I just don't like it when people spread misinformation.

Posts: 4229 | Registered: Dec 2002  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Bokonon
Member
Member # 480

 - posted      Profile for Bokonon           Edit/Delete Post 
I was just chiming in with affirmation. Everyone needs a little bit every once in a while.

(Don't they?)

[Smile]

Of course, every person is different, and I know several people who love the Prius ergonomics [Smile]

-Bok

Posts: 7021 | Registered: Nov 1999  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Nick
Member
Member # 4311

 - posted      Profile for Nick           Edit/Delete Post 
You know, the ironic thing is that the engine is actually on the passenger side of the vehicle, but I agree with the sensation your wife has claimed. [Smile]
Posts: 4229 | Registered: Dec 2002  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
BlueWizard
Member
Member # 9389

 - posted      Profile for BlueWizard   Email BlueWizard         Edit/Delete Post 
Nick:
I just don't like it when people spread misinformation.

Steve:
If that is a reference to me, I wasn't trying to spread misinformation, I was generalizing, and do indeed greatly thank you for the detailed information you gave. That was helpful to everyone including me.

The mileage on the new Prius's is outstanding, but for most people you can't choose a car based on Mileage alone, and that is part of the point I was making. Many factors come into play. I suspect many people buy Hybrids thinking they are doing this great service to mankind, only to find that the car doesn't suit their needs.

Though I will admit, a Hybrid is way way more practical than an electric car. While an electric car is generally less polluting, to some extent it simply moves the pollution to a location where you can't see it; the nuclear power plant.

So, to people in general, if you are convinced that a hybrid WILL serve all your needs including financial, then certainly buy one, but your practical needs most likely go far beyond getting good gas mileage.

You need to ask yourself IF that extra $6,000 to $10,000 couldn't serve your practical needs in some better, perhaps even more energy efficient, way. You could use that money to insulate your house, buy a high efficiency furnace and convert all your appliances to Energy Star appliances. You might even get money back from your local energy company. That might, in the long run, save both money and fuel, especially when those home energy saving are combined with the great gas mileage of a Matrix or Yaris.

Leonardo DeCaprio drives a Prius, but he also lives in a mansion, and probably flies around in a private jet. Not to mention the likely possibility that he owns 10 cars. If he was really committed to the environment, he would sell his mansion and move into a three bedroom rambler, sell his cars, and fly coach.

Just trying to get people to consider the bigger picture.

Steve/BlueWizard

Posts: 803 | Registered: May 2006  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Nick
Member
Member # 4311

 - posted      Profile for Nick           Edit/Delete Post 
By all means Steve, get people to see that big picture. I encourage it. I could have phrased my sentence a little more kindly, I admit it, but the statement: "On the freeway, the Prius is like any other car" is misinformation.

I didn't think you were going out of your way to do so, you just didn't know what advantages hybrids had at freeway speeds. I read back on my posts, and I feel I should apologize if I seemed aggressive, so please accept my apology.

Bottom line, the Prius is a reduces emissions vehicle that performs like a typical mid-size car that gets good mileage as a bonus.

I agree that the extra cost could go somewhere else to help the environment, but some people like the idea that their car pollutes 1/5th as much as your average new car.

As for my preference, I like the idea of diesels, not only because of bio-diesel, also because of piezoelectric fuel injection. Mercedes-Benz has released one engine in the United States, but some states haven't approved it yet. It's the BlueTec engine in the E class. I also can't wait until AdBlue emission reduction system becomes more available in the U.S. since it's been pretty popular in Europe.

But I won't get too far into that, it's an exhausting read if you haven't heard of it before, though I would be glad to discuss if anybody is interested.

Posts: 4229 | Registered: Dec 2002  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
BlueWizard
Member
Member # 9389

 - posted      Profile for BlueWizard   Email BlueWizard         Edit/Delete Post 
Nick,

Just a quick question, at smooth steady freeway speeds, are those Prius advantages due to the fact that it is a hybrid, or do to the advanced engine management? Which to me seems to be something separate from the hybrid aspect.

The picture I'm getting is that engine management is the key under these circumstances, and not the electric assist aspect.

Of course, I'm operating under the assumption that the 'hybrid' aspect is gasoline engine with electric motor assist. The Engine management is a separate issue.

No denying that the Prius and other Hybrids get great gas mileage under all circumstances, and if that serves a person then great.

Thanks again for all the detailed expert information you've added to the discussion.

Steve/BlueWizard

Posts: 803 | Registered: May 2006  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Nick
Member
Member # 4311

 - posted      Profile for Nick           Edit/Delete Post 
Well, it's a bit of both. If the HV battery is completely depleted, then yes, the engine runs alone, but that's pretty rare for the HV battery to be drained completely. Keep in mind that there are two motor/generators, one can harness the energy of the car via electrical induction while the other one assists in propelling it.
Posts: 4229 | Registered: Dec 2002  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
rollainm
Member
Member # 8318

 - posted      Profile for rollainm   Email rollainm         Edit/Delete Post 
quote:
But I won't get too far into that, it's an exhausting read if you haven't heard of it before, though I would be glad to discuss if anybody is interested.
Fire away - at your leisure of course. I'm enjoying all this discussion; very informative.

By the way, thank you all for your suggestions. I really appreciate it. We're currently waiting on a second opinion, but it looks like the transmission will require quite a bit of repair.

We're actually probably going to just get it fixed. There are a few reasons, but probably the most deciding factor is that the car holds some sentimental value for my mom and she'd like us to hold on to it if possible. It was originally my great aunt's car, and she passed away just a couple of years ago.

Posts: 1945 | Registered: Jul 2005  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Nick
Member
Member # 4311

 - posted      Profile for Nick           Edit/Delete Post 
Well sheesh that changes everything!!!

When emotional attachment is involved, a car's value can sometimes be priceless. [Smile] Good luck to you.

As for the Diesels, I'm waiting until ultra-low sulfur fuel is readily available everywhere, or bio-diesel, which doesn't have a lot of sulfur either. The lower the sulfur, the less NOx emmisions (the main smog culprit) and the better the engine runs.

Here's how the new ones work.

They use piezoelectric-based fuel injectors to more accurately ration the fuel consumption. They accomplish this because they can handle higher fuel pressures than conventional electromagnetic fuel injectors found in gasoline engines. Piezoelectric devices utilize certain ceramic materials that deform upon the application of an electrical current and to return to their original state when the current is removed. Each injector is composed of a stack of piezoelectric ceramic elements. When an electric current is applied to the stack, the elements expand almost instantaneously. The expansion allows the fuel coming from the common-rail into the cylinder. This technique allows larger volumes of fuel to be injected in a shorter time than would be possible with solenoid injectors. In addition, it results in greater fuel atomization that in turn ensures a more efficient combustion. This greatly increases overall engine efficiency without a loss of power. It's far more effective than the EGR systems found in gasoline engines use to accomplish the same effect, which is to lean out the fuel mix in the cylinder when combustion temperatures are too high.

There is another technology out there that further reduces emissions. It starts with a tank filled with a urea based chemical called AdBlue that usually only needs to be refilled at vehicle servicing. The chemical is dispersed by a special metering unit into the hot exhaust gas, which then heats it, converting it to the ammonia required for the chemical reaction that takes place in the catalytic converter. The resulting catalytic reaction converts the ammonia and nitrous oxides, or NOx, into the end products, nitrogen and water, both harmless elements already abundant in the atmosphere.

Read more here if you want

Posts: 4229 | Registered: Dec 2002  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
BlueWizard
Member
Member # 9389

 - posted      Profile for BlueWizard   Email BlueWizard         Edit/Delete Post 
Just one additional note, though not a real reliable one.

In the latest 'Car and Driver' a letter to the editor indicates that the new Honda FIT, which is really a nice looking little car though not a hybrid. Was going for $6,000 above Sticker Price. The further implication was that this could drive the final price of deluxe models up to $26,000. (Base price of about $14,000.) Those numbers don't quite add up, but my point regarding the Prius is the there very likely is a dealer premium added to this high demand/low supply car.

I think I estimated about a $2,000 above sticker premium, but as this letter to the editor indicates, it can be substantially higher.

It seems that in the next model year, they are dropping the Honda Accord Hybrid which seem like a very nice car. But fortunately Toyota is introducing the Camry Hybrid which should also be a very very nice car. Then there is the old standby mentioned by others, the Honda Civic.

Again, I'm not against Hybrids, in fact I am very much in favor of them. I think they are a far far far better idea than the electric car. But I'm also not against the electric car, they are just impractical on so many levels, but on a very few other levels, they do what they do very nicely.

I think the only psychological advantage to the Prius is that it looks goofy enough that people instantly know that it is a hybrid, so there is a certain cachet to driving one. But personally, I think the Accord, Civic, Camry, and many other hybrids based on existing cars are much more practical.

Just one problem with Hybrids which is at the center of the point I have been making all along.

The Honda Civic Sedan in the standard version cost between $15,000 and $18,700 depending on model. The Honda Civic Sedan Hybrid cost base price $22,600. That is a $3,900 to $7,600 price difference then couple that with the very very likely Dealer Premium, and it is simply not economically feasible.

I would be willing to pay an additional $2,000 to $3,000 to get hybrid technology in a car, maybe even an addition $4,000, but any more than that and there are just too many other places to apply that money that I think would have a better environmental impact.

You can save a small fortune in energy in your home if you make wise choices there. 68 in the winter, 75 in the summer, geothermal pre-heating/cooling gives an advantage in both summer and winter. Insulation will pay for itself in about 5 years. Double or triple glazed windows will also pay for themselves in energy savings. Energy star appliances as well as many of these other home efficiency technologies will actually get you a rebate for the energy company and perhaps even the government. Is that a wiser place to put your extra money? Of course, having an energy efficient house doesn't bring you as much cachet as drive a hybrid car.

And I am NEVER under any circumstances paying a Dealer Premium on any car ever. I would be willing to go with a no-haggle sticker price but that is it.

Though I confess, it is the people who are willing to pay for the early and expensive versions of any technology that allow that technology to advance to the point where ordinary consumers can afford it.

Finally, I want to thank Nick again for all the detailed information about Hybrid cars. That definitely helped me as a consumer.

I'm just saying...

Steve/BlueWizard

Posts: 803 | Registered: May 2006  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Nick
Member
Member # 4311

 - posted      Profile for Nick           Edit/Delete Post 
Well, it's not so simple as that in terms of pricing, and not every dealer charges more for cars in demand, in fact I've not heard of it, but I've always been in service, not sales.

I work at an Acura dealer now, and I still haven't heard of them making an Acura hybrid... even though they have Honda engines... oh well.

The Prius isn't less practical than an Accord or Civic hybrid, they're just ugly. [Smile]

Oh, and I don't mind talking about cars at all. [Smile] If you ever have a question, start a thread, email me, whatever. [Smile]

Posts: 4229 | Registered: Dec 2002  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
rollainm
Member
Member # 8318

 - posted      Profile for rollainm   Email rollainm         Edit/Delete Post 
They are not ugly. They're unique. And awesome. [Razz]

[Smile]

Posts: 1945 | Registered: Jul 2005  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Nick
Member
Member # 4311

 - posted      Profile for Nick           Edit/Delete Post 
I was joking. :)I might like how they look outside very much, but I love their interior. Bluetooth, navigation, leather seats, smart-key, etc.
This is the car I want. [Smile]

Posts: 4229 | Registered: Dec 2002  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
erosomniac
Member
Member # 6834

 - posted      Profile for erosomniac           Edit/Delete Post 
Why TSX over TL?

(Having just purchased a 1G TL, I'm mildly biased, but I'm also genuinely curious.)

Posts: 4313 | Registered: Sep 2004  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Nick
Member
Member # 4311

 - posted      Profile for Nick           Edit/Delete Post 
A few reasons. I can't fathom spending that much money on a car, because I can't buy the TL without the "S" package 3.5 V6 instead of 3.2. They also rattle like crazy. TLs are notorious for having all kinds of ticks and rattles, though I don't think the first generation is that way at all.

I wanted a car that was a little smaller and got little better mileage while still performing pretty well. The TSX is $5,000 less. It would be my first luxury car. I'm still torn on getting a Civic Si 4 door sedan. Same performance, size and mileage, less leather.

Posts: 4229 | Registered: Dec 2002  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
erosomniac
Member
Member # 6834

 - posted      Profile for erosomniac           Edit/Delete Post 
Makes sense. The only odd noises I've noticed are some grinding on hot days (rear pads need replacin'), mild noise from the front right rotor (warped, who thought those damn skinny things were appropriate for a car this size?), and road noise from the wheel wells (only really noticeable because the engine compartment is so well insulated--gotta pad the wells). Mine's auto, and the tranny's in surprisingly excellent shape given the age of the car.

(By 1G, I meant first gen, the 96-98 body style. Mine's a 98 3.2.)

Posts: 4313 | Registered: Sep 2004  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Nick
Member
Member # 4311

 - posted      Profile for Nick           Edit/Delete Post 
I've never bought a new car, and I can finally afford it. I'm torn, because I want to save for a house, but I want a new car... [Frown] I'll probably get the Civic, even though I want the TSX. I'll just get the fully loaded Civic, that will save at least $5,000.00

*goes to "build and price" section for the Nth time today* [Smile]

And if only I was close by, I would help you out with your car problems... [Frown]

Posts: 4229 | Registered: Dec 2002  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
erosomniac
Member
Member # 6834

 - posted      Profile for erosomniac           Edit/Delete Post 
Hehehe, I hear ya. I don't think I'd have bought the TL if the price wasn't ludicrously good, even accounting for the minor problems. Thankfully, I'm so far from owning property I don't care.

And I'm using the rotor as an excuse to learn how to replace my own braking components. WOO SCARY! [Big Grin]

Posts: 4313 | Registered: Sep 2004  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
rollainm
Member
Member # 8318

 - posted      Profile for rollainm   Email rollainm         Edit/Delete Post 
I want this.

Or this.

Posts: 1945 | Registered: Jul 2005  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Nick
Member
Member # 4311

 - posted      Profile for Nick           Edit/Delete Post 
If you need me to tell you the easiest way to do it, let me know. There are some tools you'll need that you might not have. Let me know how you plan on doing it so you don't get yourself in a situation where you have to pay for your car to be repaired and towed. [Smile]
Posts: 4229 | Registered: Dec 2002  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Jon Boy
Member
Member # 4284

 - posted      Profile for Jon Boy           Edit/Delete Post 
My dad once told me about a guy who had brought in his car to the dealership for some brake work. He had taken the pads off, realized that he didn't have the right tools to finish the job, and drove it to the dealership instead to have them do it. Totally destroyed all his brake parts. I think it ended up costing something like $800.
Posts: 9945 | Registered: Sep 2002  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Nick
Member
Member # 4311

 - posted      Profile for Nick           Edit/Delete Post 
*shakes head*
I've seen things like that before. I once had a customer ask why they were losing brake fluid, and when I inspected their brakes, they had worn though the front brake pads, the pad backing plate, and the caliper piston cup all the way to the seal. They just figured their car stopped all the time, so why worry? Then again, it was Santa Cruz... [Wink]

Posts: 4229 | Registered: Dec 2002  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Jon Boy
Member
Member # 4284

 - posted      Profile for Jon Boy           Edit/Delete Post 
I'm a little surprised that someone could abuse their brakes so badly and still be smart enough to notice that they were losing brake fluid. You'd think they'd first notice the squealing noise . . . and then the grinding noise.
Posts: 9945 | Registered: Sep 2002  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
erosomniac
Member
Member # 6834

 - posted      Profile for erosomniac           Edit/Delete Post 
quote:
Originally posted by Nick:
If you need me to tell you the easiest way to do it, let me know. There are some tools you'll need that you might not have. Let me know how you plan on doing it so you don't get yourself in a situation where you have to pay for your car to be repaired and towed. [Smile]

I may take you up on that sometime in the not-too-distant future.

I'm replacing the calipers, rotors, lines and pads. I'm actually using '95 legend GS calipers & rotors instead of the skinny TL replacement gunk. The list of things I've either obtained, already had or am purchasing shortly:

- C-clamp
- Turkey baster (for fluid)
- Plastic bottle (for fluid)
- Cheap plastic tubing (for fluid)
- Appropriate wrenches
- Line clamps

Anything you can see missing right off the bat?

[ June 15, 2007, 03:39 PM: Message edited by: erosomniac ]

Posts: 4313 | Registered: Sep 2004  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Glenn Arnold
Member
Member # 3192

 - posted      Profile for Glenn Arnold   Email Glenn Arnold         Edit/Delete Post 
quote:
As for the Diesels, I'm waiting until ultra-low sulfur fuel is readily available everywhere, or bio-diesel, which doesn't have a lot of sulfur either. The lower the sulfur, the less NOx emmisions (the main smog culprit) and the better the engine run
Not to be picky but...

Sulfur has very little to do with NOx, and everything to do with SOx, specifically S02.

Biodiesel has essentially no sulfur at all.

NOx formation has a lot of variables, including oxygen concentration, fuel/oxygen ratio, nitrogen concentration, burn rate, combustion temperature, soak temperature, and at what point the hot gasses are quenched.

Generally, the "cleaner" the fuel burns, the more NOx you make, but you can reduce it by keeping the flue gas at an optimum temperature where NOx is at its lowest equilibrium. The longer you can keep it there before the gas is quenched, the less NOx will remain.

Posts: 3735 | Registered: Mar 2002  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Glenn Arnold
Member
Member # 3192

 - posted      Profile for Glenn Arnold   Email Glenn Arnold         Edit/Delete Post 
quote:
I've seen things like that before. I once had a customer ask why they were losing brake fluid, and when I inspected their brakes, they had worn though the front brake pads, the pad backing plate, and the caliper piston cup all the way to the seal. They just figured their car stopped all the time, so why worry?
I had one of those once. A guy brings an old Pontiac into a Mazda dealership for a state safety inspection. Among other things, the rotors were so worn that one side was completely worn away, so that the vent ribs were visible from the side. I couldn't figure out how the car made it into the shop. I don't remember how many items I failed it for, but it was way more than just the brakes. I'm pretty sure that it was someone from the state checking to see if our safety inspections were up to standards.
Posts: 3735 | Registered: Mar 2002  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Nick
Member
Member # 4311

 - posted      Profile for Nick           Edit/Delete Post 
eros, impact driver. You'll need that for the rotor screws, they're in there so tight a regular philip's head screwdriver will strip the head. You could use an air hammer with a philip's attachment too, but that requires a compressor, and air hammers are expensive.

Glenn:
Not to be picky but...
More sulfur DOES create more NOx, according to Chevron, a very reputable oil company.
quote:
Why is S15 (ULSD) required?

The EPA states these new regulations will significantly reduce nitrous oxide (NOx) and particulate matter emissions to the atmosphere. To attain these emission reductions the EPA has established a comprehensive program to regulate diesel fuel along with the production of diesel engines.

Link
Posts: 4229 | Registered: Dec 2002  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
rollainm
Member
Member # 8318

 - posted      Profile for rollainm   Email rollainm         Edit/Delete Post 
I really don't appreciate you people hijacking my first thread. Honestly...so disrespectful...

[Smile]

Seriously, I'd just like to thank you guys again for your advice and let you all know that $1800 later the Thunderbird is chugging along decently enough. There is a bit of a pull every once in a while, though, mostly at higher speeds (50-60). Is that normal?

Posts: 1945 | Registered: Jul 2005  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Bokonon
Member
Member # 480

 - posted      Profile for Bokonon           Edit/Delete Post 
For the record, the sticker price on the Civic Hybrid I got (which was the going rate... The Civic hybrid is popular, but not so much as the Prius) was about 3k above the similarly optioned Civic. I get the hybrid and the tax deduction (as it was at the time), and the price out the door was probably only 500-1000 more.

-Bok

Posts: 7021 | Registered: Nov 1999  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Nick
Member
Member # 4311

 - posted      Profile for Nick           Edit/Delete Post 
I don't mean to hijack, but when somebody says, "Hey, you're wrong and here's why!" I'm bound to get defensive when I know I'm not. [Smile]

Oh, and Bok, that's cool about the price of the Civic hybrid, but Toyota doesn't have a non-hybrid Prius, so the example can't translate, unfortunately. [Frown] It's also a reason why you can't compare a yaris or matrix to a Prius. Totally different vehicles.

[ June 16, 2007, 01:04 AM: Message edited by: Nick ]

Posts: 4229 | Registered: Dec 2002  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Nick
Member
Member # 4311

 - posted      Profile for Nick           Edit/Delete Post 
eros, front or rear brakes? You might need a rotating caliper depressor if it's rear brakes. You can just use big channel-locks for the front calipers. Do you have a vacula or a bleeder buddy?

Why are you replacing the lines? Are they leaking? If they're not leaking, you don't really need to replace them. [Smile]

Posts: 4229 | Registered: Dec 2002  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
erosomniac
Member
Member # 6834

 - posted      Profile for erosomniac           Edit/Delete Post 
Good to know, Nick - I've added things to my list of tool investigations. [Big Grin]

I have neither a vacula nor a bleeder buddy, but I have another person available to brakestomp, so I was planning on doing it the old-fashioned way. No good?

I'm replacing the lines 'cause they look pretty old, and I'd rather do it now when I'm piecing everything else apart than worry about going through the hassle again, esp. since they're inexpensive.

Oh, and I was going to do both front & rear. Definitely rear, front pending closer inspection.

Posts: 4313 | Registered: Sep 2004  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Glenn Arnold
Member
Member # 3192

 - posted      Profile for Glenn Arnold   Email Glenn Arnold         Edit/Delete Post 
Nick,

I looked at your link. Notice the language: The regulations will reduce NOx emissions. It makes it sound like sulfur produces NOx. I looked around for a mechanism where sulfur might be involved in NOx formation. I couldn't find one, but I did find that the regulations call for something called a NOx trap which is sensitive to sulfur poisoning. Sounds very much like the way lead poisons a catalytic converter.

That may be what they're talking about, or it may be that by using "NOx and particulate matter" in the same sentence, it sounds like sulfur produces NOx. Sulfur DOES produce particulates, but it doesn't produce NOx.


For a fairly good breakdown of the mechanisms behind production of various pollutants, look here: link

BTW, I spent a fair portion of my previous career working on staged and dilute oxygen combustion for NOx reduction.

Posts: 3735 | Registered: Mar 2002  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
rollainm
Member
Member # 8318

 - posted      Profile for rollainm   Email rollainm         Edit/Delete Post 
The stupid battery is dead! Why do they have to die so suddenly?! [Mad]

Grr...Now I have to get up early tomorrow.

Posts: 1945 | Registered: Jul 2005  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
JonnyNotSoBravo
Member
Member # 5715

 - posted      Profile for JonnyNotSoBravo   Email JonnyNotSoBravo         Edit/Delete Post 
quote:
Originally posted by advice for robots:
Our car ('95 Bonneville SE) has been doing something strange. We're driving, and all of a sudden it shuts off. So we have to coast to the side of the road. But when I put it in park and turn the key, it starts right up again.

For some reason I remember someone talking about the distributor cap. Does that sound like something that would happen with the distributor cap?

My Buick ( a '91 Riviera) would do something similar. The engine had just been recently worked on and the ground wire (that is attached to the body of the car) for the engine had not been properly attached.

If that is the problem, it would be kinda funny because someone told you to ground some port terminals to find the answer from the car's diagnostic codes. You're hearing a lot about grounds right now!

--------

I recently bought a 2007 Prius, letting my Buick (which had flaky paint, moldy interior, saggy lining, a cracked windshield, soft brakes, drilled locks, depleted refrigerant and no stereo) go by the wayside.

I live in Seattle and get 42 mpg in the city (it's a very hilly city), but I have to work at it and drive a certain way. I got 54 mpg with fairly little effort on the drive from Seattle to Port Townsend, which is mostly freeway driving. I got 63 mpg driving around the backroads of Mount Vernon, in Snohomish County.

I think the keys to good gas mileage are these:
1) Stop driving like everyone else, accelerating fast only to brake hard a block later for a stop light. Accelerating slowly in the Prius can use only the electric motor, not engaging the gas engine and thus increasing fuel economy.
2) Be aware of your gas mileage. The energy screen is on in my car all the time, except when I'm searching for tracks on a CD. If I'd had one of these in my Buick, perhaps I wouldn't have driven so recklessly, wasting a lot of fuel.
3)Try not to use air conditioning. Just lowering your windows when it's hot out can cause a reasonable drop in temp without using the air conditioning. A/C will significantly reduce your gas mileage, whatever your car.
4)In my Prius, I can "trick" the electric motor into providing more power by accelerating up to speed with the gas engine, then letting my foot off the accelerator slightly. The electric motor gets power from the wheels turning (an alternator/generator I'm guessing?) though it has to be above a certain speed to provide enough power. That means potentially your electric motor can provide a lot of the power to maintain your car's velocity. It's the changing of velocity that causes so much loss of fuel economy (although the regenerative braking helps ameliorate that by charging the electric batteries when the brake is applied).

Seattle has a lot of Priuses, which makes me sad because I want to be an individual, but happy because of lower emissions! The Prius also has far better headroom than the Civic hybrid had for me(I'm 6'6"), although the Civic looked way cooler inside and out. The seats in a Prius suck, though, and you can't exchange them for more comfortable ones because they're tied into the safety features.

------

Hey Nick, does Toyota provide an option for a Prius plug-in conversion without voiding the warranty?

Posts: 1423 | Registered: Sep 2003  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Nick
Member
Member # 4311

 - posted      Profile for Nick           Edit/Delete Post 
No, Jonny, they don't.
Posts: 4229 | Registered: Dec 2002  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
JonnyNotSoBravo
Member
Member # 5715

 - posted      Profile for JonnyNotSoBravo   Email JonnyNotSoBravo         Edit/Delete Post 
[Frown]

Okay, thanks!

Posts: 1423 | Registered: Sep 2003  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
rollainm
Member
Member # 8318

 - posted      Profile for rollainm   Email rollainm         Edit/Delete Post 
So I gained full access to my trust fund last month, and Ericka and I are now ready get that new Prius we've been eyeing for the past year. Unfortunately, getting the car we want is looking to be a much more difficult process than we expected. We're wanting specific options, and I expect that to make things a little more difficult, but dealers over the phone and through email are also telling me that due to high demand, the car is pretty much selling at MSRP.

Now, if this is in fact the case it's not the end of the world, but because they only seem to divulge this information after Iíve made it clear that Iím a serious buyer, Iím wondering just how accurate this really is. One dealer, for example, originally quoted me a final cost of $24,000-$25,000 (assuming a greater than 20% down payment and that he could actually get one), but then when he called me back he said $29,000 was a more accurate figure. Thatís quite a jump. So I told him Iíd have to keep looking, and he quickly offered to speak to his supervisor on Friday to see if he could offer me a better deal.

Iím not really sure how to go from here. Iím willing to put down as much as $20,000 if it will help, but Iím not really sure how best to approach the dealer with this. Does the dealer really gain anything more for a down payment over 20%? Isnít financing one of their main sources of profit anyway?

So basically Iím asking for car buying advice again. Iíve read a ton of car buying articles, and Iíve talked to family and friends. I know I need to keep looking and to be patient. I need to make visits to the actual dealerships. I need to look into third party financing. I know to be on guard if I do finance through the dealer. I have a pretty decent credit score (730ish) and an active credit history. Iíd prefer a 40 month purchase, but if the monthly payments are going to be over $400, then Iím thinking 60 months would be better. So what kind of deal should I expect or at least attempt to get? How aggressive should I be? Any tips on what to say and do to get the best deal?

As always, any advice would be greatly appreciated.

Posts: 1945 | Registered: Jul 2005  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
scifibum
Member
Member # 7625

 - posted      Profile for scifibum   Email scifibum         Edit/Delete Post 
1. Don't show your cards before you have to. Some people have gotten good results by not mentioning how much cash they have until the price is negotiated (sometimes they'll give on price what they expect to get from financing kickback). This can be tricky because the salesman will ask how you plan to pay.

2. Try calling dealers, asking for rock bottom price, and then asking other dealers if they can beat that price. Often they will compete to get the sale - maybe not with a Prius since they don't tend to sit on lots from what I understand. Careful not to burn your bridges here - they might decide they don't want to deal with you if you are trying to play hardball and they have other buyers lining up for an in demand vehicle.

3. If you have a car you're getting rid of, sell it yourself - don't trade it in.

4. Don't rule out financing through the dealer and then refinancing _part_ of the loan and paying off part of it with cash, since it sounds like you have enough cash to do this. Find out beforehand whether there are fees to refinance your car loan with a preferred lender or penalties for paying off the original loan early.

5. If you're negotiating price in person, don't put up with too much of their game. If the guy keeps leaving you for extended periods to go talk to the sales manager, ask to speak with the sales manager or make it clear that you have very limited time and won't be able to sit around for long. You'll get tired and worse at negotiating if you are there for too long.

6. Look at Carmax and eBay for fixed-price deals or auctions with no negotiating.

Posts: 4287 | Registered: Mar 2005  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
rollainm
Member
Member # 8318

 - posted      Profile for rollainm   Email rollainm         Edit/Delete Post 
Thanks for the advice.

After spending pretty much all day on the phone, I've come to the conclusion that I'm just not going to get much of a deal if any. I've done some back and forth bargaining, but like you said, I was careful not to burn my bridges. Every Prius on their lot is going to sell whether I buy one or not. So basically my goal now is just to not get completely screwed. I'm now working with two dealerships to see which one can get hold of a car that best matches what we're looking for.

I'm still not sure how much of a down payment to make, but I'm thinking $15,000 sounds pretty good. The two dealerships I'm negotiating with right now haven't gotten anything specific from me yet, so I'll keep them in the dark for now.

We're not selling the Thunderchicken. My aunt got in a wreck that totaled her car a couple of weeks ago (she's fine, just a bruised rib), so we're giving it to her.

As for financing, it is looking like the dealer will probably have the best rates, but that's still up in the air. I'm not too worried about this right now. My primary goal at the moment is finding an actual car to buy.

Posts: 1945 | Registered: Jul 2005  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
MightyCow
Member
Member # 9253

 - posted      Profile for MightyCow           Edit/Delete Post 
If you're a Costco Member (and if not, you can get a membership for about $50 a year, I believe), they have a car buying program that's quite good. You can tell them the car you want, all the features, and how far you're willing to go to get it, and they set up the whole deal for you.

The dealer calls when they have the car, and Costco negotiates it at $200-300 over invoice. If you're not into haggling, it's the way to go, and it's great for convenience.

Posts: 3950 | Registered: Mar 2006  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
rollainm
Member
Member # 8318

 - posted      Profile for rollainm   Email rollainm         Edit/Delete Post 
Interesting. I didn't know Costco did that. I'm already waist deep in the haggling at this point, though, so I think I'll pass this time. We also don't really have the time to be going too far out of the way, and given how difficult it's been to find the car so far, we'd probably be waiting on Costco for months.
Posts: 1945 | Registered: Jul 2005  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
EmpSquared
Member
Member # 10890

 - posted      Profile for EmpSquared           Edit/Delete Post 
To elaborate on the Costco thing--

I used to work for a Ford dealership. I can't guarantee that this is how it works for Toyota and Costco (though I would say it does) no price you haggle down to is going to be better than the one your Costco price gives you. There isn't any haggling-- I worked the phones, and I had a set list right in front of me of what vehicles had what amount of over or under invoice for their MSRP. We didn't tell them what that was and tried instead to get them to come down to the dealer.

I'm willing to bet that the Prius has a set over invoice price that's such a far better deal than the MSRP that your haggling won't beat it. And most dealers, if they're smart, won't get you a car unless you've committed thoroughly. You wouldn't believe the amount of people who wanted an exact vehicle with certain specifications without even coming down first-- building an exact one, even dealer trading costs the dealership a lot of money, and without commitment from the buyer it's often a loss of money.

Posts: 368 | Registered: Aug 2007  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
  This topic comprises 2 pages: 1  2   

   Close Topic   Feature Topic   Move Topic   Delete Topic next oldest topic   next newest topic
 - Printer-friendly view of this topic
Hop To:


Contact Us | Hatrack River Home Page

Copyright © 2008 Hatrack River Enterprises Inc. All rights reserved.
Reproduction in whole or in part without permission is prohibited.


Powered by Infopop Corporation
UBB.classic™ 6.7.2