Got  a question about cars – or bikes? Post it here and we will do our best to get you some answers!


  434 comments for “Questions/Posts

  1. Metal B.
    September 23, 2016 at 6:07 am
    • Thomas
      September 23, 2016 at 12:03 pm

      Hello Eric and All,

      I have a general question to pose. The Mrs. and I are moving to Boise Idaho where I plan to build a log cabin home. The first thing I want to do before leaving Las Vegas (our current home town) is buy a truck. The truck I ideally want is a good work horse that will have 4 wheel optional and large tow capacity, and perhaps even the ability to add a “plow” on the front for plowing snow up in a mountainous area. I’ve looked at Chevy, Ford, Dodge, Jeep and Rover models. I prefer to buy used and am also leaning toward gas versus diesel. Can anyone recommend a site where I can continue to research the better, more appropriate vehicle to purchase?

      Thanks to all for any help.

      • eric
        September 23, 2016 at 12:30 pm

        Hi Thomas,

        Lots of variables here. For openers, do you want a full-size truck? Will a 1500 do? Or do you need a 2500/3500? Or will a mid-sized truck be enough?

        How much weight do you need to be able to tow? Do you need a full-size bed that can take 4×8 sheets laid flat?

        • thomas
          September 23, 2016 at 12:56 pm

          will also need to take 4X8 sheets laid flat.

    • thomas
      September 23, 2016 at 12:55 pm

      Can’t figure out how to start a thread, so will simply reply to Eric about looking for a trust in Idaho. With regards to your questions:
      1) 1500 large enough versus needing a 2500/3500: I would need to be able to tow up to 10,000 lbs.
      2) Also, I read through many of the threads below and it appears that Chrysler has poor customer service issues. Is that an accurate assessment?

      • eric
        September 23, 2016 at 3:07 pm

        Hi Thomas,

        Ok, that (10,000 pound ow rating) means, at the least, a 1500. But you may have to find one with the upgrade/optional engine as the base/standard engine likely will only pull around 6,500-8,000 lbs. or so. I’d be inclined toward a 2500, which will pull 10,000-plus pounds easily and have a tougher frame and heavier duty everything. So now you’re looking at a Chevy Silverado 2500, a Ford F250 or a Ram 2500. They all come standard with big V8s and you can get a V10/diesel as well in some of these.

        My personal preference is the Chevy, the Ford and the Dodge – in that order. The GM V8s and transmissions (hydra-matic or Allison, depending) are really good. The Ford – in my experience – a bit less so. The Dodge (forgive me, Mopar people) seems to have more issues and the bodies seem to rust sooner, too.

      • Thomas
        September 23, 2016 at 3:24 pm

        Hello Eric,

        Got your message via my email. Thanks for the quick response. I’ll focus on the Chevy models. Since I am looking for a “work horse”, practicality will take precedence over “looks”, although I’ll look for something used that has not been abused. My thinking is to look around for some 2-3+ years old and pay cash for it. Since I’ve never owned a truck before, my plan is to look to private owners versus going to a dealership. I also plan to have the engine checked on any potential vehicle I may buy.

        BTW, I found you through Lew Rockwell; I’ve always found your articles very informative. I’ve looked around your site and do not see any place to “sign up” as a paid member other than a place to donate. Since to me good information is well worth the value, I would like to either a) become a fully paid member of the site or b) make a reasonable donation. If the latter is my choice, are you a 503c3?

        Keep up the good work Eric. I suspect you have a very large readership.

        Kindest regards, Thomas Quinlin

        • eric
          September 23, 2016 at 3:40 pm

          Hi Thomas,

          There’s no charge to join as a member! But you’re welcome (and we’d appreciate) your support, which you can send in via the “Donate” (PayPal) button on the right top menu, or via snail mail, in c/o: EPautos, 721 Hummmingbird Lane SE, Copper Hill, VA 24079.

          Thanks in advance!

  2. Haley11
    September 8, 2016 at 12:09 am

    Hi Eric and others,

    Another Tom Woods convert here. I need some advice…

    Have a fully loaded 2010 Audi Q7 S-line in Good condition with 61k miles that I inherited (not literally but you get the point, it was a gift of sorts).

    KBB value is around $28-29k. I live in FL and the AC had been on the fritz. Today it finally crapped out and it cost $895 to fix at the dealer. Still summer here in FL so I couldn’t go without it. When I balked at the price the guy just basically said “Well, yeah, that’s a Q7”. That put it in our head to get something more affordable to avoid more of these costly little surprises in the future. Luxury cars come with a luxury price tag even when they’re free!

    So being out of warranty my husband and I are looking to trade it in for something BUT we want to trade DOWN somehow, meaning buy something around $23-$25k and have some money leftover for some other things.

    I like the idea of just turning it into a dealer for the ease of it and not having to bother with the time and effort of a private sale.

    What would be the best strategy? Find a dealer willing to give several thousand cash back for an unequal trade? Sell to one dealer and buy from another? What advice for approaching a dealer with a trade? Lease, buy new, or buy used?

    It would make life easier, but not impossible, if I didn’t have to go carless for days or weeks while finagling all these deals.

    Thanks for any advice! Love the site and what you do!


    • eric
      September 8, 2016 at 5:11 am

      Hi Haley,

      Trading your Audi in will be less hassle, certainly. But it’ll cost you. The usual practice is for the dealer to give you somewhere south (less than) wholesale book value for an average condition example of your make/model/year vehicle. As opposed to the high retail value he will later attempt to sell the vehicle for on his lot.

      This is of course negotiable. But you’re at a disadvantage.

      One way to even things up is to not discuss your trade until after you have negotiated a deal on your new car. This will avoid confusion and stress, for openers. You will not be shucked and jived into accepting a “great” deal on your trade – which is not infrequently made up for on the not-so-great-deal you agree to on the new car.

      And, you do not have to go carless for days or weeks during this process.

      Rent a car.

      They are cheap, comparatively. At worst, a couple hundred for a couple weeks. Probably a lot less. Check the various offers available at local rental places. Often, you can rent a car for 3-4 days for surprisingly little.

      This takes the pressure to “buy now” (or even tomorrow) off the table.

      Also, you inspired me to write the following; hope it’s helpful!

      • Haley11
        September 8, 2016 at 9:39 am

        You’re a beast, Eric! A reply AND an article before I even wake up in the morning? Wow! Hats off to you!

        Ok so back to my other questions…turn in my Audi to the dealership, get low-balled maybe $26k on the Audi?? Take that money and buy what exactly? New? Used? Lease?

        Cargo capacity and fuel economy are big considerations for us because we travel a lot, which is also why I’m not sure if a lease would be a good option.

        Liked the Forresters but not sure we need it if the car will be in FL more than MT for the time being, plus if we want some money back they’re a bit out of the price range.

        Was intrigued by the Honda HR-Vs you posted about, they seem to get favorable ratings across the board.

        Due to some of the unspoken strings attached with the Audi when we got it, we can’t trade down TOO far, unfortunately, but putting $3-4k back in our pocket would be nice.

        • eric
          September 8, 2016 at 11:44 am

          Thanks, Haley!

          Cue Dr. Evil voice… it’s what I do:)

          Okay, on your question:

          Buying new is rarely a smart move, financially. Not there’s anything wrong with buying new. It’s just not usually the smart move, financially. You will eat the depreciation, for example. And if you have to deal with personal property taxes, these will be very high for several years (until the car depreciates). But, a new car is fully warranted and that peace of mind is a value, too. Also, you’ll know that you won’t be spending money on other than routine maintenance for several years, hopefully.

          That said, buying a 3-5 year old used car with say 50,000 or so miles on it can save you a huge sum up front. And 3-5 years and 50,000 or so miles is hardly broken in nowadays. There are exceptions, but – generally – almost any make/model will run reliably for at least 150,000 miles before it begins to hit you with regular repair costs. It is common for a modern car to go 200,000-plus without major repairs. Modern cars usually look good for longer, too – the paint tends to stay shiny for 10-plus years (it used to be the case that most car paint jobs began to noticeably fade in as little as five years).

          The key thing is to treat each used car you look at as an individual – which they are. Each has a different “story” – how it was treated, how it was maintained, etc. Also, the particular options it has and so on. When you find one you like, have it inspected by a third party mechanic you trust. If he says the car’s ok (or the repairs it needs can be dealt with by the seller – or by you) then go for it!

          Leasing is generally good for people who can write off the expense. Otherwise, it’s just revolving debt – and has potential major liabilities, such as excess mileage charges and nit-picks over scratches and stains, etc. when the lease is done.

          I really like the HR-V. Have you driven one yet? I would do so. If you like it, the amount you’ll get for your Audi should be enough to cover the cost of one… or close!

          Keep us posted!

  3. George
    September 6, 2016 at 9:48 am
    • eric
      September 6, 2016 at 1:33 pm

      Hi George,

      OBD (OnBoard Diagnostics) is a system; there are a variety of different sensors (e.g., oxygen sensors, mass airflow sensors, coolant temp sensors, etc.)

  4. claymontgomery
    August 27, 2016 at 10:11 pm

    Hello Eric,

    I discovered you via Tom Woods and I have enjoyed every time you are on his show. I have a question that I was hoping you could help me with. In 2009 I purchased a barely used Volkswagen Jetta tdi (it had less than 5k miles on it!) I love the car but the lawsuit against VW is making them buy my car back. They are going to give me as much as $12k for it and it’s got over 120k miles now. It works perfectly, drives great, and I love driving it. My problem is that they’re offering me more than market value for the vehicle and I feel compelled to sell it back. Is this a mistake? Will the car be worth more since its a ‘forbidden’ tdi? I wouldn’t think of having the “fix” done to it that would decrease efficiency, at least that’s my understanding. Whats your opinion?

    I apologize in advance if you’ve previously addressed this, I did not read through all the posts on the Q&A. Keep up the great work!

    • eric
      August 28, 2016 at 4:44 am

      Hi Clayton,

      On the one hand, you’ve got a great car that you like – and which still has a lot of useful life left. All these things have value.

      On the other hand, you have the offer to buy back the car for $12k.

      I’d ask myself: Can I replace the car with an equivalent, one that has the same or greater value to me, for $12k?

      Also whether you were planning to “drive the wheels off it” before the scandal broke. If so, resale value is a non-issue for you.

      Thanks for the kind words – and welcome to the site!

  5. Kevin B
    August 25, 2016 at 12:06 am

    Eric – I just discovered your site, via a Tom Woods podcast. Do you have as favorable an opinion of the Outback as you do of the Forester?

    • eric
      August 25, 2016 at 8:33 am

      Hi Kevin,

      Yes – for two of the same reasons: Standard AWD for a not-unreasonable price and the uniquely excellent boxer engines these cars have. Welcome to EPautos, by the way!

  6. das411
    August 24, 2016 at 10:13 pm

    Hi Eric – big fan of yours via the Tom Woods show, have a random car Q and you may be the best person to ask!

    Do you have any tips or tricks for removing those mandatory stickers on sun shades? When I flip the shade up those “do not roll my car over” warning stickers are on the underside, and boy it sure would be nice to not have to look at them….have you addressed that ever? I tried to search on this site but all i could find are posts about your clover stickers! Thanks!

    • eric
      August 25, 2016 at 5:35 am

      Hi Das,

      Thanks for the kind words, first of all!

      On the stickers: Sometimes, you can use a hair dryer to loosen up the adhesive, then gently peel back the sticker. This also works well for exterior car trim applied using adhesives; it’s what bodyshops do (except, of course, they have a “professional” hair dryer!)

  7. George
    August 12, 2016 at 6:53 pm

    Driving around upstate NY state I noticed something called Premium non ethanol gasoline at normal gas stations*. It had 91 octane and a warning that there is no ethanol in it.

    Is this new? Why only NY? Why only 91 octane fuel? The 1% don’t get ethicrap in the gas for their Porshes? Would 91 octane non ethanol fuel be bad for a 2009 Nissan cube krom?

    * I also noticed more Bernie than Hillary lawn signs. Actually Kodos and Kang tied Hillary, but we won’t count third parties.

    • eric
      August 13, 2016 at 7:06 am

      Hi George,

      I’m not sure what’s up with the availability – in your area – of 91 octane (which qualifies as premium) non-ethanol gas. Count yourself lucky. In my area, the only non-ethanol gas that’s available is 87 octane regular.

      This is ok, unless you have a vehicle with an engine that was designed to burn high-octane premium. In which case, using the 87 octane will (least worse) give you less performance/mileage and, worst case (if the engine hasn’t got knock sensors), will cause the engine to knock from pre-ignition.

      As regards your Nissan: I’m pretty sure it has an engine designed to burn regular unleaded; using the premium (91 octane) won’t hurt anything, except possibly mileage and performance…. yep. It’s the same basic deal as feeding an engine designed to burn premium a dose of regular.

      Regardless of ethanol, you want to feed your engine the octane it was designed to use. Burning high-octane premium in an engine optimized for regular unleaded will not give you a performance boost!

  8. Testosteroil
    August 11, 2016 at 4:44 pm

    Hello! I’ve got a 1996 Mazda Protege with a 1.5L engine that won’t pass smog because Banifornia has mandated that I all but one readiness monitor set. I currently have 3; evap, o2sensor, and cat. If I clear the o2sensor monitor I’m sure the cat will go away but in order to see whether or not I have said monitors ready I have to program my ScanGaugeII to send a hex code to my car’s computer. In order to send said hex code I first must know which of the five command protocols my computer reads.

    My options are:

    Pulse Width Modulation (PSW)
    Variable percentage withdrawal (VPW)
    Open System Interconnection (OSI)
    KeyWord Protocol (KWP)
    Controller Area Network (CAN)

    Apparently CAN is 2003 and later and OSI is also a later-era protocol. I’m leaning towards PSW but another website said that KWP and ISO are preferred by asian auto manufacturers.

    Do you know the answer or do you know if there’s a way to tell based on my vin or something?

    Looking forward to hearing from real soon before they find me.

    • eric
      August 11, 2016 at 4:49 pm

      Hi Testosteroil,

      IIRC, California will grant a waiver once you’ve spent a certain amount of money attempting to get the car through smog, assuming all the factory components are in place and the car has not been “modified.”

      Is your vehicle OBD II?

    • BrentP
      August 11, 2016 at 5:20 pm

      The way you wrote this is difficult to follow.
      It sounds like you have three codes relating to the O2 sensor, catalyst performance, and evap. I need specific code numbers to help better but guessing I am going to say your post catalyst O2 sensor may not be functioning properly. This would set both the cat and O2 codes. The evap if it is like my protege is being caused by stuck solenoid valve. It’s behind the rear driver’s side wheel where it can get all sorts of crap kicked up on it. I removed mine, forced to move and it started working. reassembly with some grease to protect it better and it has been fine since.

  9. Frederic Bikealot
    July 27, 2016 at 4:02 pm

    Hi Eric – my brother and I have a podcast called Kennedy Financial, where we discuss personal finance and the greater political world through the lens of Austrian economics. We also assist low to middle income families with financial problems.

    We were wondering if you’d be interested in coming on our podcast to discuss cars and personal finance in general.

    We’d hope to be able to do this on a Thursday in September, if possible. Would really appreciate if you could join us!

  10. M. Thomas Frederiksen
    July 21, 2016 at 1:22 pm

    I’ve got a 1968 El Camino, that belonged to my Great Granphather. The upholstery was replaced, and the engine is in good shape. However, it needs to be repainted, and the exterior details need some work. The car is destined to be sold. Would it be better to get the car into mint condition prior to sale? Or sell it as is?

    • eric
      July 21, 2016 at 1:35 pm

      Hi Thomas,

      It is almost always the case that whatever you put into a restoration will not be recovered by selling the car; that you will lose money on the transaction.

      But fixing little things to make the car presentable and functional, that’s another thing. Often, it is well worth the small investment as people tend to pay more for a car that looks decent and which can be driven rather than towed home!

      • M. Thomas Frederiksen
        July 21, 2016 at 2:46 pm

        If I decided to restore and keep it, how would I go about finding a good shop to paint and detail it?

        • eric
          July 21, 2016 at 3:00 pm

          Hi Thomas,

          Finding a good shop is not hard; finding a good shop in your area (easy driving distance) may not be. It depends on your area. It also depends on how “deep” you want to get and how much you’re prepared to spend and also what the condition of the car is right now.

          I’d begin by attending a few car shows in your area and approaching owners of cars that look good to you and asking where they had their car painted, can they recommend a shop… and so on.

          • M. Thomas Frederiksen
            July 21, 2016 at 3:09 pm

            Thanks so much!

            I always enjoy hearing you on Tom Woods.

            • eric
              July 21, 2016 at 4:27 pm

              My pleasure, Thomas!

              PS: In general terms, assuming a car that has a mostly rust-free body (no major panel – or frame – repair needed) and doesn’t need major body work, a very nice repaint (good enough to draw compliments and win at local car shows) ought to cost around $3k or so. This should include removal of trim before painting (as opposed to just masking it off) and the preparation needed to achieve a finish that will look “show quality” to most people.

              This is probably as deep as you want to get if the car is to be a “driver” and used regularly.

              If the car has rust – especially in areas that can’t just be unbolted and replaced but which will require cutting and welding, the cost goes up… a lot. :)

  11. Warp
    July 20, 2016 at 12:08 pm
    • eric
      July 20, 2016 at 2:32 pm

      Hi Warp,

      It makes my teeth ache… I hate to see this happen to VW because I am a “car guy.” I like cars. I like good cars. And VW made excellent cars.

      Got-damn them all.

  12. July 12, 2016 at 7:20 pm

    Hi Eric,

    I recently learned about your website from your interview on the Alex Jones show. I didn’t know if you might be able to help but it looks like you are trying to identify problems that the auto industry experiences and bring it to the attention of the public. Well I have a small company with a new type of crash energy absorption which could greatly improve the current steel buckling behavior that the auto industry still uses, since the time of the Model T as their primary crash energy absorption method. Many of the auto companies are using more aluminum to reduce the weight of their cars but aluminum cannot be used in some of the structures such as the vehicle frame, because aluminum performs worse that steel when it comes to buckling behavior.

    Basically the SEM (Solid Ejection Material) technology is a new form of shock isolation and SEM shocks use the high flow pressures of plastics and elastomers to supply the restraint force. Unlike pneumatic shocks with pressures maybe in the 1,000 psi to 2,000 psi range or hydraulic shocks that might have ranges of 2,500 psi to 10,000 psi; SEM shocks can have flow pressures of 2,500 psi up to 35,000 psi! So SEM shock have a great deal of stopping power in relatively small systems.

    SEM shocks could greatly improve the crash performance of the vehicle body and they are much more controllable that buckling steel structures. Also, if SEM systems are installed, more aluminum and composites can be used the in manufacture of the vehicle body.

    I have actually given some presentations to Ford, GM and Nissan but no one has decided to employ the SEM technology. Ironically the Ford company is using a lot more aluminum in the new truck models but you will note that they still are using aluminum in the vehicle frame.

    I didn’t know if you might be able to help Eric but if you have any industry contacts that might be interested in the SEM shock technology, I’d appreciate any of your suggestions. Thanks for your time.


    PS. If you need me to email you any detailed information on the SEM technology, please let me know where I need to send it.

    • Jim
      July 14, 2016 at 2:19 pm

      Hi Steve,

      Took delivery of a 2016 Audi Q5 two weeks ago. Unfortunately the windshield was struck by a stone while I was driving the vehicle and the windshield now has a 4 inch crack on the far passenger side starting at the edge and going toward the center.

      I plan to get it replaced by an Audi dealer in New Jersey. The price of $1100 is extremely high but I will be getting original Audi glass plus 12 month, 12k warranty.

      Do you have any thoughts? Am I proceeding correctly?


      • eric
        July 14, 2016 at 2:32 pm

        Hi Jim,

        With modern cars, even the windshield is complex. It’s often more than just a sheet of glass. Integrated rearview mirrors (and technology, such as Subaru’s “EyeSight” system or embedded electric defrost) add $$ to the bottom line. This might be worth claiming on your insurance rather than paying for out of pocket. How high is your deductible?

        • Jim
          July 15, 2016 at 11:37 am

          My glass coverage is under my comprehensive which has a $1000 deductible. My bad.

          • eric
            July 15, 2016 at 1:48 pm

            Hi Jim,

            Yeah… in the past, it made good sense to have a high deductible. I’m not so sure anymore.

            • frenchy
              August 30, 2016 at 10:46 am

              Old reply, but I had something like this happen to me with my 2012 VW Golf TDI in Germany. Going down the autobahn. I think a rock either fell off or got kicked up by a dump truck. Cost $1,100 because of what Eric says. It’s not just glass anymore. Insure took about $800 of the cost. I ate the rest.

              I immediately lowered my premium after that.

  13. Justin Crumley
    July 2, 2016 at 7:11 pm

    Hi Eric,

    I just read your piece on the more recent happenings with VW. I’ve been trying to keep up on it as my wife and I have (and love) our 2013 VW Golf TDi.

    It sounds like you are urging people to take the deal and sell back if possible for the bluebook value.

    We have fully paid off the car somewhat recently (March 2016) so we feel somewhat committed to it. But if the company is no longer going to be around, we worry about being stuck in a sinking boat.

    Without you giving us “official advice” what do you think would be a good route to take from here?

    It looks like the KBB value is around $16k. She bought it originally for roughly $26k.

    We are possibly looking to put a down payment on a house soon (not a bet on the market as I expect it to dip sometime soon, but a longterm buy to actually live in for some time). So we could possibly get a used car for her and use the money for the house. Just a thought.

    I also feel a little bit of a moral dilemma as I don’t want to hurt VW by taking their money, but we also have to look out for ourselves in the long run. I also don’t think that many people are going to have that same dilemma and the company seems like it may headed downwards whether I take part or not.

    Sorry this was a bit longer that I anticipated. I appreciate all that you do and you are definitely my go-to-man for any Auto related information so I just wanted to get your opinion on some of this!


    • eric
      July 3, 2016 at 5:14 am

      Hi Justin,

      This is an excellent question – one that needs a thorough response; working on it now!

      • Marc Zolre
        July 14, 2016 at 8:59 am

        Hello Eric,

        My name is Marc and I own a 2012 Dodge Ram I think? I say, I think because my Computer or PCM and TCP are both being interferree with or even Hacked? I am an Advocate and do come up against people of Power they think at least. So, my thoughts are they wish to bring mayhem my way? Or, my Truck is being interferree with by all the new Internet Of Things and they Power Upgrades to make them work as in Signals… Because, steadily my Truck does worse things as Time passes by… The latest and greatest is Warning Lights as so ABS Light On/Off, 4WD Service On/Off and Traction Control On/Off. This, is coming On and Off to which I notice that driving by a Gov’t. Vehicle w/ Radios, D.O.T. Road-Side Walky-Talky set it off and my Wi-FI, Traffic and Telephone Boxes at Intersections to include Wal-Mart Auto Door Open Sensor Interferres with the Operation of the Truck… Realised that while running Vehicle and Wife went in to buy a few quick things… Everyone, entering and leaving Wal-Mart as the Door opened and closed turned the Lights On/Off??? There are Serious Life Threatening Matters that need to be discussed not here like Brakes not working just one example… Can YOU assist Eric Peters? Call me, please …very threatened by this Disabled Veteran due to Combat and have no money or on set income to not just go out and buy another Truck… At the mercy of Chrysler F.C.A. And their Diversionary, Deceptive, Denial and what they call Customer Care cares not about my issues to cover-up under their Fraud of Prepriatery-Masking of Why this is happening… Supreme Court, has already handed down this as Fraud…

        • eric
          July 14, 2016 at 11:16 am

          Hi Marc,

          The first thing I’d do is find out exactly which trouble codes are being stored in the ECU (computer). When there is a problem with a component or system (for example, a cylinder misfire or a bad oxygen sensor) a trouble code will be stored in the ECU’s memory and will also trigger a “check” light on the dash, to warn the driver that something needs attention.

          Have you got access to an OBD (onboard diagnostics) scanner? These are designed to download and display the trouble codes stored in your vehicle’s ECU – to let you know what needs attention. The scan tool plugs into a universal port that’s located (usually) on the left underside of the dash, below the steering wheel (look near the hood release catch).

          If you don’t own a tool and prefer not to go to a dealer or repair shop, many auto parts stores will use their scan tool to access/download the codes for you – for free.

          They can also “clear” the codes (which will turn off the “check” lights on the dash) but only temporarily, if the underlying issue isn’t fixed.

          That’s where I’d start.

          PS: I deleted your phone number from public view for obvious reasons….

      • frenchy
        August 30, 2016 at 10:58 am

        I can help! Got to the VW web site and fill out the online stuff to get your car in the system for the court settlement. Within about a week VW will send you a settlement packet with all the info you need to help you make a decision. When you do go through the online stuff, your decision there is not permanent. You can change it later.

        For your car, it is considered a Gen 1 vehicle and only requires 1 modification. If you elect to have this mod, you get that for free, and $6,052 – $6,462 (for the 4 door), and $21,377 – $23,837 if you elect to do the buy back.

        My understanding of the literature is that as soon as you take your car in, you get sent the check.

        My decision will be based upon what the mod is. If it’s an ECU mod, I will get that and take the cash. If the mod requires adding urea to my car every 3,000 miles, I think I’ll pass, take the buy back, and buy a used GTI.

        All that being said, you need to sign up.

  14. Frederic Bikealot
    June 28, 2016 at 10:07 am
  15. Kerry
    June 28, 2016 at 8:53 am

    Hello Mr. Peters,

    Do you know of any SUVs or Crossover vehicles manufactured in the U.S. with non-union workers.

  16. FackFiut
    June 27, 2016 at 3:00 pm

    Hi Eric.

    Have you had a chance to review the Chevrolet SS? I’m talking about the relatively unknown 6.2 L, 8 cylinder re-badged Holden Commodore available in the U.S. as the Chevrolet SS. I think the SS stands for Sleeper’s Sleeper. In fact, it’s such a sleeper that no one knows what it is.

    Clovers are gonna hate this.

    • mrfnuts
      August 18, 2016 at 7:12 pm

      I am very much looking at one of these, but, will only buy when Chevy initiates one of those inventory wide 20% off MSRP sales, SS included (which they’ve done twice this year, but, sadly I missed both or rather I got to the party too late in order to procure one with a manual transmission). Otherwise the near $50K price tag all other times is simply too much.

  17. June 25, 2016 at 2:50 pm

    I discovered this site by the referral of a friend to the article about the “VW scandal,” and clicked on the link to read about “clovers.” In that post I read that clovers “…can be found on the political left and the political right and in between.”
    Since the “right” is freedom and the “left” is government control and the degree of each can be very objectively measured (going back a hundred years) in any State by the percentage of the GDP controlled by government, I wonder if the author has fallen into the mistake of defining “left” and “right” the way the clovers themselves do, and making the words synonyms of “Democrat” and “Republican,” which is an error that can’t be resolved logically.

    • eric
      June 25, 2016 at 3:16 pm

      Hi Doug,

      Unfortunately, the “right” is far from favoring freedom for the individual. The right is known for favoring restrictions on personal conduct such sexual relations between consenting adults as well as punishing or seeking to control various personal lifestyle choices (which it regards as “sin” or “vice”) such as the use of arbitrarily-decreed-to-be illegal “drugs” and gambling and so on. The right also tends toward militant religiosity and a kind of totemistic patriotism; its adherents venerate the flag and other trappings of state authority.

      This is one of the things that defines the political right.

      Also militarism and “law and order,” both of which are hugely threatening to the liberty and freedom of the individual.

      The political right inclines toward fascism – while the political left inclines toward socialism and communism.

      But all amount to the same thing: authoritarian collectivism.

      • June 25, 2016 at 4:34 pm

        This clarifies your thinking. You are a classic Libertarian and, I think, given to libertarian unconscious assumptions. You say, “This is one of the things that defines the political right.” But you have never attempted to DEFINE the terms “left” and “right;” you only have images of them in your mind (created, in fact, by leftists) and render descriptions of those images. If we define “left” as government control, as measured objectively, the way I suggested, then Fascism is clearly on the left, not as far left as the Communists, since they allow some private property, but clearly on the left. But you don’t attempt any DEFINITION. If you did, you would soon find that LAW has to be on the left to fit your imaging; “authoritarian collectivism.” All laws, imposed by force, are “authoritarian” in your imagery. All governments, purporting to represent the people’s interests, are “collective.” Libertarians and Conservatives agree on the morality of property and economics. Conservatives have nothing in common with Socialists or Fascists. But Libertarians, at base, have no objective morality. They have only a subjective morality that tells them their instincts with regard to property and economics are “right” without objective justification. They cannot define “right” or “wrong” in objective terms. To a Libertarian, ALL laws governing substance use are about “arbitrarily-decreed-to-be illegal ‘drugs,'” because “personal behaviors” are beyond the scope of the Libertarian’s subjective morality, and therefore “arbitrary.” But eventually, as happened to most of my “Libertarian” allies in the Ron Paul camp of 2008, their anarchism tendencies win out. They discover that there is no function of government that cannot be replicated privately, and openly advocate the abrogation of the State altogether. As a Conservative activist for more than 40 years, I can assure you there has always been a base for private property and economic freedom as a matter of law, they have nothing in common with Communists, Fascists, or Clovers. And they are uniformly social conservatives. There is nothing “arbitrary” about it… except to those for whom morality is subjective.

        • eric
          June 25, 2016 at 5:26 pm

          Hi Doug,

          Yes, I am a Libertarian – which means I reject in principle (as a moral absolute) any forcible imposition on the individual except in response to force.

          It’s a clearcut, easy-to-understand standard. Rational, logical.

          You either hurt someone or you didn’t.

          If not, leave ’em be. Not a suggestion. A moral injunction.

          This isn’t the view of people on the political right. You may believe otherwise, but historically (and currently) the term “right” is associated with people who support a strong central government, venerate the military (“thank you for your service,” “support the troops”) and “law and order” (i.e., defer to the authority of the state) and who do not believe that individuals have an absolute right to do as they wish with regard to their own affairs, so long as whatever it is they are doing (or not doing) causes no harm to others (although they may be causing harm to themselves).

          I worked with “conservatives” and other people on the political “right” for years. They’re not Libertarian in outlook. They “support the troops” (authoritarian/statist), law enforcement (as distinct from leaving people alone, if they’re not hurting anyone), and invariably not only look askance at people who do not share their “values” but actively work to impose those values on others. Their opposition to the use of “drugs” (that is, the “drugs” they dislike) by others is an obvious example of a political position taken by people on the right, by “conservatives.” Another is their umbrage taken when someone criticizes “the troops” (who are fetish objects for the typical conservative/right-winger) or doesn’t “respect” a totem of state power like the flag. People on the right/”conservatives” do not object to government spending (and therefore, to taxation) as such, but only demand that the money be spent on things they consider valuable/important. Like the military (vs. welfare).

          Pat Buchanan (whom I have met and like) is a conservative. A “right wing” one.

          Ronald Reagan was another.

          Some are less busybody-ish than others (like Pat) and yes, they are more inclined toward economic liberty than people on the left (who are more inclined toward civil/personal liberties, although much less so now than historically) but none that I am aware of (leading figures either today or in the past) share the Libertarian’s principled rejection of the use of coercive interference against the individual who has not caused harm to others.

          Libertarians oppose all taxes in principle as theft. They reject the claim that someone else’s need or misfortune imposes an obligation enforceable at gunpoint to “help” them. They do not accept that anyone’s rights can (morally) be diminished by others via the ballot box. They do believe that “progress” trumps any individual’s right to be left in peace. They do not speak in terms of “we should” or “society requires.”

          Libertarians believe in live and let live in all things. Are scrupulously anti-collectivist and anti-authoritarian.

          You write: “But Libertarians, at base, have no objective morality. They have only a subjective morality that tells them their instincts with regard to property and economics are “right” without objective justification. ”

          I smell The Lord behind the curtain… as in “god is the objective basis of all morality.”

          Well, ok – which god?

          Isn’t this precisely what you decry? A subjective (you believe, you assert) standard pulled out of thin air? Your god is no more authoritative than Ra or Allah or Santa Claus; maybe he exists – but until you can objectively demonstrate it… .

          Why the need for reference to a Sky Daddy? And a fear (punishment) based system of morals?

          Libertarianism doesn’t premise itself upon Because God.

          Because that is an arbitrary standard subject to the interpretation of what men claim “god” commands.

          Libertarianism is premised on an objective standard: Has someone been harmed? If so, then there is a victim and redress is justified. But if no victim, there is no harm – and (axiom) leave people be.

          Is it not sufficient to point out if I hit you (or threaten to) then I have no basis for complaining when someone else hits me? Wouldn’t it be preferable to just agree to not hit anyone? And that those who cannot abide by this – who are always the minority when it comes to our personal/individual interactions – be regarded as beyond the pale (even criminal) while those who do abide are entitled to be left in peace?

          • June 27, 2016 at 3:47 pm

            Thanks for the thoughtful comments. I simply don’t have the time, now to respond to, among other things, your ridicule. I imagine it would be unfair to mention that when I DO get time I will point out your errors…
            … so I won’t say that.

            • eric
              June 27, 2016 at 3:58 pm

              Hi Doug,

              This is probably (I hope) merely a question of semantics. The definition of “right” is no longer the same today as it once was; just as “liberal” today has a very different meaning than it once did.

              The small-government “right” of Taft is a museum piece, like the “liberalism” of Jefferson.

              I understand it’s frustrating to cede a definition. But once the definition becomes the primary, the one most people use when they speak of whatever the thing is, it becomes very difficult to have a conversation using a different definition.

              Hence, I do not use “liberalism” in the Jeffersonian sense, but in the modern sense; e.g., a liberal favors a strong social safety net.

              All that aside, I’d take Taft-style “right/conservatism” in a heartbeat over today’s “right/conservatism” – which is as described in my prior post.

              Even better, I’d take Libertarianism – which goes even farther than the small-government minarchism of the Old Right.

              The problem with the right – whatever the degree of it – is the same problem with the left. Both accept in principle that it’s legitimate to constrain/punish people for things other than harm caused.

              Taft, for example, would probably not have countenanced a peaceful secession movement.

              Libertarianism is unique among political philosophies in that it takes a principled stand against coercion, against any use of force or its threat, against people’s who’ve not caused any harm to others.

        • BrentP
          June 25, 2016 at 6:21 pm

          Libertarianism is the most objective and least subjective of the entire list. Right and wrong are defined by did you or did you not aggress upon another person or not. Libertarians are the only group whom even attempts at mathematical like derivations of what is right and wrong from first principle(s). The others are just randomly emotional.

          Conservatives do not derive their views from property rights or freedom. Like the liberals of today it’s what they feel. Nixon pulled the 55mph speed limit out of his ass. Nixon is long dead but I still have to live with this absurdity. (The permanent government in Illinois refuses to do away with it even after two super majority passed pieces of legislation that overrode the then governor’s veto) To Nixon you didn’t own the gasoline you purchased, the government got to say how it would be used. The moral imperative of coming together to deal with the oil crisis the government’s actions created was enough for conservatives to put what they felt was morally correct over property rights.

          When property rights and conservative’s feelings conflict with each other the conservative goes with his feelings of right and wrong every time. The libertarian puts his own views and feelings aside and goes with property rights. A libertarian says you own yourself. A conservative demands you do what he says is morally right and he’ll use the government to make you. For some conservatives it’s a moral duty to obey the government.

  18. Steve K
    June 14, 2016 at 6:30 pm

    I am looking at getting a used Toyota Prius III 2010. It has 129k miles on it, clean title and appears to be in good shape. Its going for $9k and that is my max budget. I definitely prefer economical cars to get from A-B with low maintenance cost and good MPG. Should I get this car or is there a better bang for my buck?

    Thank you for your service

    • eric
      June 15, 2016 at 5:13 am

      Hi Steve,

      Have you had the car checked out by a competent mechanic you trust? If not, I recommend doing so. It may appear to be in good shape, but a good detailing (shiny paint, clean carpet) can distract you from noticing mechanical issues. Given that it is a hybrid, I’d also want to be sure the battery pack is working properly. If it is losing efficiency, your overall mileage will suffer.

      Also: You may also want to consider a used non-hybrid economy car. Your budget would certainly allow this. The reason I suggest this as a possibility is that the non-hybrid economy car will likely cost you less to buy – and might cost you less to keep up. The Toyota Corolla is a good (low risk) choice.

  19. Bryce
    June 13, 2016 at 8:56 pm

    Well, the saga to find the next Brycemobile, aka the Polish Mafia Staff Car 2.0, is about to come to an end. You may recall I was shopping the Subaru Crosstrek and the Mustang V6.

    Well…and again, well…for less than the price of even a base 2016 Impreza, the cheapest new car Subaru offers this year, I was able to snag a Certified Pre-Owned 2012 Outback 3.6R Limited…the top dog, the big kahuna.

    It has everything but the navigation, which I Do Not Want, and the 3.6 flat-6 boxer engine, which I Do Want.

    I’ll have a car payment again, but it’ll be hopefully manageable…plus, my trusty 2003 Outback is up for sale…know anyone who wants a reliable ride for less than $5000?

    I’m sure I’ll enjoy this one!

    • eric
      June 14, 2016 at 5:22 am

      Excellent, Bryce!

      The Outback is a solid runner that should give you your money’s worth and then some. The six has good power, too. Congratulations!

  20. SS
    June 10, 2016 at 5:27 pm

    How D!
    Actually, I have two questions:
    1. Which car forum do y’all recommend, where I can actually register?

    2. Which vehicle would you recommend for driving Uber or Lyft?
    I mean in terms of operating costs, durability, and passenger/cargo capacity.

    • eric
      June 10, 2016 at 5:38 pm

      Hi SS,

      Are you having issues registering here?

  21. BP
    June 3, 2016 at 11:49 am

    Hi Eric,

    Any info in regards to the upcoming Jeep “Scrambler”? I don’t think I’ve ever been more excited for a vehicle in my life.


  22. Djblois
    June 3, 2016 at 9:49 am


    I am in a disagreement with someone who believes that government is not backing the standard for driverless cars that requires infrastructure where the cars talk to each other and have the ability to be shut off remotely. Do you have any pieces that I can supply him to shut him up.

  23. mrfnuts
    May 27, 2016 at 2:19 pm

    Hero slams mother to the ground, cuffs her and puts knee to her back and arrests her for ‘child abuse’ and ‘resisting arrest’ for allowing her 11 year old son to drive an electric golf cart:–abc-news-topstories.html

    And to think, back in the day my Dad allowed my little brother to drive his F150 (with a manual transmission to boot) at 11 years of age. That would have likely resulted in summary execution had he done so today.

    Actually… shit… Just recently my 6 year old daughter was given permission to drive a family friends golf cart around the old age park, and I additionally condoned this. Had the heroes been present (thankfully they can’t sniff around on the park property since its still respected as private roads) I guess I wouldn’t have got to see her again until she was 18.

    • eric
      May 27, 2016 at 5:21 pm


      Der tag kommt…

      • richb
        May 27, 2016 at 8:32 pm

        My late grandma drove the family model T (with the hand crank starter) at age 9, a car many times harder to drive then a golf cart or modern car. It was the days before drivers licenses, and it didn’t occur to anyone that letting a responsible kid drive would be a mistake.

  24. spencer
    May 26, 2016 at 11:44 am

    Hi Eric,

    I learned about you from a couple of fascinating (and infuriating) Tom Woods episodes. While I’m not much of a car guy, I’m glad you’re out there connecting the liberty movement with another sphere of interest.

    (Apologies if you’ve already covered this) Do you have any knowledge of automobile manufacturing regulation in other countries?

    It occurs to me that there aren’t, for example, any Hong Kong manufacturers out there thinking way outside the regulatory box and putting our products to shame.

    I imagine that perhaps a large consumer of automobiles like the US may be unintentionally driving the regulatory state in other countries because the countries with the least regulatory burden also tend to have a low population. Either way, it would be interesting to get a sense of the global industry, and if there’s a mecca somewhere for no-holds-barred car designers.

    Thanks in advance for your time/comments.

    • eric
      May 26, 2016 at 11:49 am

      Hi Spencer,

      Thanks for the kind words, first of all!

      On your question: Ironically, we can see – in China – some of the cars we might have here, were it not for Uncle. For example, GM sells a small Chevy there that would probably be very appealing here. It’s about $8,000 – and has AC, an LCD touchscreen and a decent stereo. But it would not pass Uncle’s current “safety” standard and would probably only be as “clean” as a circa model year 2000 new car (that is, 95 percent as “clean” as a 2016 model year car)… so we’re not allowed to buy it.

  25. DJ
    May 24, 2016 at 5:14 pm
  26. Mike
    May 24, 2016 at 12:23 pm

    Hi Eric,

    Thought you might enjoy this damning report on Tesla:

    Comparisons to ENRON and WorldCom are made. The authors suggest that Tesla will have to become fully government-owned “public good” provider to survive at all.

  27. Lin-Marie Colon
    May 9, 2016 at 9:42 am

    My husband is looking at a 1969.5 Ford Maverick on craigslist. It is in good condition no rust. The seller is asking $5000 or best offer. I’m not well versed in muscle cars and neither is he. I was wondering if you could shed some light on this car and what it is worth.

    • eric
      May 9, 2016 at 9:58 am

      Hi Lin,

      Well, first of all, the Maverick isn’t really a muscle car; most came with sixes and the few that came with V8s came with small (5 liter/302) V8s with mild cams and two-barrel carbs. They do, however, have all the necessary ingredients (RWD layout, available factory V8) to be muscle cars.

      Ok. That said, the value/fair price for any old car depends very much on the specific car and its condition. Value guides (Hagerty, NADA classic cars, etc.) are good for giving ballpark figures for cars based on average selling prices for cars in given overall condition (e.g., a “number 1” professionally restore/new-condition original car; a “number 3” functionally sound/presentable “driver” car… and so on) but the actual price of a specific car can and often will vary greatly.

      Is this car equipped with the Grabber package? Has it got a V8 or the six? AC? Other options? Is it stock (as built) or has it been modified?

      How is the body? Is there any rust or other damage?

      How is the paint?

      What is the car’s mechanical condition?


      Assuming this is a factory V8 car with the Grabber package and in good overall condition – mechanically sound and cosmetically presentable – I think the price you mention is probably reasonable.

      There’s a regular here – Brent – who really knows these cars; hopefully he will chime in!

    • BrentP
      May 9, 2016 at 8:54 pm

      The 1969.5 Maverick (early 1970 model and will likely be titled as such) did not have a V8 available stock. The grabber package was also not offered until ’71. It will be a very basic two door car if it’s in stock form. Engine will be a 170, 200, or 250 small block inline six. You can decode the vin and data plate here:

      You’ll have to check old car price guides for what they are going for. I have not kept up prices. Personally it would have to be a very nice ’70 to get me to pay $5K if it’s stock. But since I already own a 6 cylinder maverick I probably wouldn’t buy another but you never know if I had more space. I do know prices have increased recently. Likely because raw materials are running out for affordable early pony cars. If it’s a nice needs nothing car the $5K asking price probably isn’t out of line. Talk the seller down a little and you would be ok.

      I don’t know what your plans are. If you’re thinking V8 conversion if doesn’t have the 250 then you’re better off finding a different car. It’s just a lot of parts to go from an early 170 or 200 to a small block V8. The 250 typically got mostly V8 components from 5 lug wheels to the rear axle, trans, suspension, etc. A stock 6 cylinder Maverick is not muscle car. It’s analog is a base six cylinder Mustang, it’s a less expensive more basic version there of. Same suspension, engines, and powertrain. It would however be a good basic car to get started in the old car hobby if that’s what you’re looking for. It’s not a big outlay to see if you like it.

      If the car is not stock it all depends what was done to it and the quality of the work.

      If you go forward with it also inspect for hidden rust in all typical Ford unit body locations.

  28. ken
    April 19, 2016 at 8:06 am

    Posted today @ the LIOFriends Facebook @ (activists in all countries) :

    “Self-Driving cars? …#SMILE tools are paving the way, but there is always a bureaucrat ready to screw things up? Well, the ‪#LIOfan the #US #‎libertarian‬ auto mechanic has some concerns (and follow link to his useful site on applied libertarianism)…check out the great read and the intriguing site…plus sign up to share your outreach ideas with people from many countries @ #ILoveLibertarians FB workgroup…our highlight today.” RE:

  29. Manilarikko
    April 18, 2016 at 5:35 am

    Won’t see this on the WaPo website:

    Electric shock – Tesla cars in Hong Kong more polluting than petrol models, report claims!

    Electric vehicles in Hong Kong could be adding “20 per cent more” carbon to the atmosphere than regular petrol ones over the same distance after factoring in the city’s coal-dominated energy mix and battery manufacture, a new research report found.

    Investment research firm Bernstein also claimed that by subsidising electric vehicle purchases, the government was effectively “harming rather than helping the environment” at the expense of the taxpayer.

  30. Danny the T
    April 15, 2016 at 1:23 pm

    Eric – Question about light trucks. I’m an old timer from the 90s. My main vacation / hauling truck has always been a large class SUV. I always look for large diesel and a drivetrain that can be put in 4WD w/ locked differentials, but need to retain ability to stay in 2WD-High most of the time. My current truck is 90s vintage and will need to be retired within next 4 years. So, it’s time to jump back into the pool by 2020 and get the next 20-year truck investment.

    I looked around in past few weeks and now I feel like a real old timer because the market has completely tried up for things with these requirements. I have always preferred a body with an enclosed cargo area (a la Suburban / Expedition / Excursion / Tahoe Extended) with the engine / drivetrain equivalent of an F-250 / 2500HD … but in today’s market, this simply doesn’t exist anymore. All of the Expeditions / Suburbans / Tahoes / Escalades are gasoline power plant only. Furthermore, the 4WD High/Low w/ Locking differential transmissions have completely disappeared from all of these models. Also, the Expeditions / Tahoes don’t seem to be built on truck frames now… they all have independent suspensions, computer controller AWD drivetrains and anti-slip is handled through computers + brakes rather than through locked differentials. Will not touch these as I don’t particularly cotton to the thought (read: expense) of getting a tow truck up to an out of the way dirt back road at 10,000ft up in New Mexico to get me out.

    So, now I’m left with a big conundrum: How now brown cow? Am I locked in limited to the pickup bodies of the Ford F-250 XL / Chevy 2500HD? Should I start shopping around for a Ford F-250 King Ranch / Chevy 2500HD Crew Cab? Or are there still other options out there in the original family friendly enclosed cargo area bodies on a classic truck frame. I mean, really, all such models seem to ahve completely disappeared from the US market! I can’t find any any more.

    So, basically, here are my req: Diesel powerplant w/ 5.7 – 6.7 liter displacement. 2-H/4WD-H/4WD-L + lock differential option. (hopefully) enclosed body from driver seat all the way to the cargo area. Are any such things left on the market? Or do I now have to go to the F-250/2500HD? And, if so, do I have any options to enclose the cargo area, open up the rear glass of the crew cab and seal the joint between the cab and the cargo cover for water (so I can simulate the single body enclosed cargo area)?

    Thanks for listening.

  31. Frederic Bikealot
    April 13, 2016 at 2:21 pm

    Being that I live in VA, as you do, I cannot legally own a radar detector. With that said, if one were interested in purchasing such a device, wouldn’t it be wise to purchase a “shielded” radar detector, like the Escort Redline, that the police detector detectors cannot detect?

    I sometimes wish there were more widely available options, such as the Valentine One.

    • eric
      April 13, 2016 at 2:25 pm

      Hi Frederic,

      I’ve been using my V1 successfully for years in SW Virginia. I am pretty sure that the cops in my area do not, as a rule, have the detector detectors. Your mileage may vary!

      • Frederic Bikealot
        April 13, 2016 at 3:18 pm

        I live in Northern VA, that entirely different country to your north. I have no doubt that Fairfax or Arlington PD have every toy imaginable!

        • eric
          April 13, 2016 at 3:28 pm

          I used to live in Fairfax… how do you stand it? :)

  32. George
    April 12, 2016 at 1:54 pm

    A 2002 Subaru Forester needs a new engine, it spun a bearing. Is it worth doing? What is the most you would pay to have the engine replaced?

    • eric
      April 12, 2016 at 2:58 pm

      Hi George,

      First, I’d make absolutely sure you do, in fact, need a new engine. It can’t hurt to double check (even to the extent of getting a second opinion).

      If you do need a new engine, you have several options. The one I’d look into is a good used engine, which (ballparking here) you ought to be able to get/have installed for $3k or so; maybe less.

      If the car is otherwise in good shape and you like it, the expense is probably well worth it.

  33. Dan Peters
    April 7, 2016 at 7:16 am

    I was referred to you by Tom Woods, I’m writing an article for SEMA SAN that they want me to throttle back on, Tom thought you could help me on this one. Here i what I original wrote Tom.

    Anti EPA atricle to much for big lobby group
    Message: I understand you are busy and cant read all articles. I respect that and if you cant help me, no biggie. I was asked to write articles related to my industry (classic cars) that gets read by thousands including senators and congressman. My latest is on the EPA attack on cars and how they are a rouge agency. Anyways, I was asked by this group in DC to throttle back. I’m not good at that, but know you are a master. If you can, would love to send the article to you and get feedback. If not, ill try Walter Block! Thanks Dan Peters

  34. Nathan
    April 6, 2016 at 4:41 pm

    Have you done any reading on child car seats? I’ve been looking around for a few days and came across RECARO child seats. These things seem well though out and their reputation for high end sports seats piqued my interest.

    They are apparently battling an over zealous Consumer Report test (Oct. 2015) that claims structural deficiencies resulting form a test that has 40% more energy than the federal mandate.

    I don’t typically trust the adequacy of federal mandates. I’m just not sure if in this case the Consumer Report test gets it right (35g force)? Or do the Feds have it right (25g force)?

    I’m starting to see into the world of federally mandated safety requirements and it is dizzying. I pity the engineers who work in this field. It’s actually one of the reasons I chose civil engineering over automotive….the ever increasing regulations.


    • eric
      April 6, 2016 at 5:16 pm

      Hi Nathan,

      I wish I had more info/knowledge to give you a substantive reply; unfortunately, I don’t know much at all about child safety seats. I do, however, have experience with Recaro (adult) seats and they have (in my experience) always been excellent in terms of being supportive (and great for track days) but also very street friendly as well.

      Welcome to the site!

    • Blake
      April 22, 2016 at 12:21 am


      While my info is old, I can tell you that a 35 mph delta V collision can exceed 35gs – at least a certain subcompact Ford back in 2005.

      This means the car hits a bridge abutment at 35 mph. 35 mph to zero mph in less than 3 feet.

      Very serious crash.

      The amount of G’s your car experiences will vary. Newer cars (the ones you can’t see a damn thing out of so that you are more likely to hit say – a freaking bridge abutment) will perform better than older ones.

      Older ones wont fair well at all – but you can generally see the bridge abutments coming a mile away in those.

      Also – this isn’t a pass or fail thing. As the crash speed decreases, the severity decreases with square of speed. On the other hand, as it increases, severity increases with square of speed. Energy is proportional to velocity squared.

      My advice: you and the child in your car seat are certainly dead in anything if you hit a bridge abutment at even less that the speed limit that everybody drives on the expressway – so don’t hit a bridge abutment.

      So – 25 vs 35 gs. It isn’t that big of a difference to worry yourself about.

      But you are right that federal guidelines about everything in the entire automotive industry are arbitrary, meaningless, and ridiculously expensive to comply with.

      I say this as an automotive engineer with over 20 years experience. Only 3 years in safety related role though. Horrible experience.

  35. Frederic Bikealot
    March 31, 2016 at 4:20 pm

    Hi Eric,

    I’m curious to see what your thoughts are on this article and this general issue:

    I see these guys riding their dirt bikes and ATVs around the nation’s capital all the time. Most people are disturbed by it, but I can’t help but think that if enough people break the law, it is amazing how the police are incapable of doing anything about it.

    • eric
      March 31, 2016 at 4:43 pm

      Hi Frederic,

      The kid quoted in the article has it right – who are they hurting? Sure. they’re breaking (gasp!) The Law. Good for them. Even better, that they are “getting away with it”!

      • Jim
        April 6, 2016 at 9:18 am

        Hi Eric,

        I plan on buying a used 2015 Lexus 450h. Do you have any idea how long the vehicle can idle in electric mode while the a/c or heater is on? Because of my occupation I will be spending a lot of time in the vehicle while it is stationary. Can you think of any negative effects on the vehicle with this kind of use?
        BTW, Lexus offers and extra 2 years over the warranty on most parts.

        • eric
          April 6, 2016 at 9:30 am

          Hi Jim,

          IIRC, the fan will operate for a fairly long time without the engine running, but the AC (and heat) are engine-driven. That is, I am pretty sure the AC compressor is driven mechanically (by the running engine) rather than by an electric motor/battery. And I am certain that the heat is produced by the running engine (warm coolant) and that the warmth available will decline as the engine cools and also because warm coolant is not being circulated through the heater core.

          If I may, why are you leaning toward the hybrid version of the RX?

  36. Cryptic
    March 29, 2016 at 12:14 pm

    What do you think of the new Mazda MX-5 Miata RF?

  37. Whip Gallant
    March 16, 2016 at 4:36 pm

    I have been reading with great interest about the power flap in the shaker hood. I have a 79 trans am and would like to install the vacuum style. Have you had any success with getting one of these installed on a 79 T/A? Please let me know how I can purchase one of these kits. Thanks

  38. Paul Chapman
    March 10, 2016 at 1:52 am

    I searched for and could not find the excellent article you did a few years (?) back on rebuilding a Quadrajet. I vaguely remember your method for handling the metering rods but I’m afraid..and I need help.


    • eric
      March 10, 2016 at 6:40 am

      Hi Paul,

      Removing the secondary metering rods on the Q-Jet is a simple matter of removing the small screw that holds the hanger they are installed on; it is right there on top of the air horn, in between the secondary air doors.. Remove the small screw and then carefully lift the hangar and rods up and out as an assembly. Keep your hand underneath them to prevent one or both working loose and falling on the floor or onto the engine as you remove them.

      The primary metering rods are more involved. You have to remove the air horn (top casting on the Q-Jet). You will need to unbolt it, but before you do that remove/put out of the way peripherals such as the choke rod and choke break and push (using a small punch or similar) the tiny metal pin that holds the accelerator pump arm in place in about 3/4 of the way so the arm can swing free.

      Now remove all screws that hold the air horn on – including the two “hidden” ones in the primary venturi. Plus the two 1/2 inch bolts at the front of the carb that secure the carb to the manifold (loosen the back two 1/2 inch bolts as well but do not remove; do this to avoid warping the base).

      Now remove the air horn. The primary metering rod assembly is now accessible; it will usually come up with the gasket.

      Be very careful with the primary metering rods as they are extremely delicate!

      Reinstalling them is the tricky part. What I do is fit the assembly onto the air horn gasket and then very carefully put the rods in place (each one goes into its metering jet). Do not force it! It may take some time until you get the feel. Jiggle them around a little – light pressure – they will seat; be patient! The assembly should move freely up and down (rods in jets) if installed correctly.

      You will need to maintain tension (keep the assembly “down,” with the rods in the jets) during reassembly. If they pop up as you try to put the air horn back in place, you have to start over. Be certain the metering rods are in the correct position before tightening the air horn. If you damage the metering rods – easy to do – you will have to find exact replacements and that may be difficult.

      I use a flat blade knife laid on its side to hold the assembly down and in place while I reinstall the air horn, gently lowering it into place (be sure you line it up correctly with the gasket!) Also don’t forget to reinstall the accelerator pump piston before you put the air horn back on! You can use the flat-blade knife to hold both the accelerator pump piston and the metering rods down while you gently lower the air horn into position.

      Once done, reinstall all the peripherals and air horn bolts, being super careful not to overtighten anything.

      • Paul Chapman
        March 10, 2016 at 9:54 am

        Yes ,many thanks

  39. OM
    March 8, 2016 at 7:29 am

    Hey Eric,

    I was hoping you could help out on a big purchase decision I’d have to make.

    It’s a two-parter: which convertible (basically 2012 BMW 335is vs MB E550) and which warranty (CarMax, Safeguard, some other aftermarket, or none at all).

    So I’ve narrowed down my choices to
    – 2012 BMW 335is convertible – 27k miles, all upgrades $33,600 ($3266 under KBB)
    – 2012 BMW 335is convertible – 39k miles, all upgrades $30,990 ($4210 under KBB)
    – 2012 MB E550 convertible – 39k miles, all upgrades $33,890 ($8456 under KBB)

    The Beamers have 5-6 mo factory warranty remaining, but not the MB.
    The first BMW (27k miles) is at carmax and a 5 yr, 100k total miles warranty is available for about $4800.
    The other two are from a small local dealer and only aftermarket warranty is available (Safeguard 4y, 75k total miles for $3200 – or perhaps EasyCare or Mercury or some other).

    I’ll be test driving them later this week (I’m 6’5″ and looking for comfort, but I also want something that is quick and fun when I want it to be).

    Just wanted to get the feedback of an expert! Thanks!

    • eric
      March 8, 2016 at 8:10 am

      Hi OM,

      A couple of general thoughts:

      The BMW has a six cylinder engine, the Benz a V8. You will probably notice (after a test drive) that the BMW is the more sprightly/agile car while the Benz will feel very solid and heavy (in a good way) as well as effortlessly powerful. The BMW six is plenty powerful but you will find you have to work it to get the most out of it. Both cars are roomy and you ought to find they each have plenty of leg and headroom (I’m 6ft 3). Variables are: The shape/feel of the seats; the way the controls feel to you, etc.

      On the aftermarket warranties: Very carefully read the terms and conditions. I also urge you to have whichever car you end up seriously thinking about buying thoroughly inspected by a trusted third party mechanic who is competent to do so. Make this a condition of sale. If the seller balks, run – do not walk – away!

      With any used car, condition is critical. With a used luxury/performance car, it is even more so.

      • OM
        March 9, 2016 at 5:44 am

        Thanks, Eric.

        I test drove both extensively today – and it’s still a tough call.

        The BMW was definitely the more fun and spry one to drive – the IS trim is basically M with 6 cylinders (launch control is impressive!) – but it’s a bit snug, particularly in the shoulder-room department. The E550 was definitely more comfortable and spacious (and had more toys – although I could do without the lane nanny) but as you said – it certainly felt big and heavy (although plenty fast enough – there’s more of a drop in acceleration when the gas isn’t pushed down than any other car I’ve been in).

        Because I’ll be battling 1-3 hours of LA traffic per day, the comfort of the E550 is probably the right call but man is that 335is fun to drive. I wish there had been a clear winner.

        Great notes on condition – they all seem to be in tip-top shape but I will try to find a trustworthy mechanic to send them to. Problem is, I’ve had an incredibly reliable Mazda since I moved to LA 12 years ago so I don’t actually have a trustworthy mechanic on standby (if my fun and dependable Mazda 6 had slightly more comfortable seats and a sunroof, I’d try to keep it another 12 years). Any suggestions on how to find one?

        • eric
          March 9, 2016 at 6:27 am

          Hi OM,

          I’d lean toward the Benz, too, given the traffic you’ll be dealing with. It has the edge when it comes to comfort, but doesn’t give up too much when it comes to fun. The BMW is the more agile, but (trust me) the Benz is fully capable of lighting your fire!

          On mechanics/shops: Recommendations from people you know and trust are usually solid; do you have friends/colleagues in the LA area? Failing that, some due diligence – checking around – is next. Visit area MB (or BMW) dealers and go have a talk with people hanging out in the service waiting area. Ask how they like the service they’ve received. Same with independent shops. Maybe talk with the service manager. Get a feel. Then find out (online is helpful) how long they’ve been in business; any complaints logged with the BBB?

          Keep us posted!

          • OM
            March 12, 2016 at 4:14 am

            Thanks, Eric.

            Another round of test drives yielded no clear winner, but my wife is hoping I’ll finally pick one tomorrow.

            So one last thing I hadn’t considered: would regular maintenance and repairs (that would not be covered by warranty) be considerably higher on one than the other? Is one more reliable?


            • eric
              March 12, 2016 at 6:47 am

              Hi OM,

              If either requires repairs, they’ll probably be expensive – but this is the nature of the animal. A BMW or Mercedes (or Lexus, etc.) is a luxury-performance car, with numerous complex systems. Parts are also more expensive, etc.

              So, the critical thing is to ascertain that the car you pick has been well-maintained and is in good condition.

              That said, my experience has been that Mercedes’ bigger cars (with V8s) are good bets.

  40. Mr. Don
    March 7, 2016 at 11:28 pm

    Bought a new Ford PU and thought it was the greatest truck ever until things started going bad and I discovered Ford uses inferior components with the intention of bringing me into a dealership (which is substandard in my ares) for repairs apparently on a regular basis.

    Worse yet, the truck simply stops on the roadside and will not start for a host of electronic reasons that require a tow and service. Therefore, as a lifetime Ford owner I will not purchase another and instead am considering that a long-bed Toyota Tundra is possibility more dependable? Opinions?

    I’m 5 years into a 7 year contract which is underwater but the Dealership screwed up and didn’t put a lien on the title. I presume they had to guarantee the loan with FMC but see no reason why I can’t cash out on a new Toyota and then deal with old truck issues later?

    I contacted the dealership hoping to work a win/win deal but they didn’t even bother to respond possibility because I just wanted to cash out and would not purchase a Ford again. Any suggestions?

    • eric
      March 8, 2016 at 7:34 am

      Hi Mr. Don,

      I’d gather up all the evidence (record of repairs done, etc.) and then check the applicable lemon laws in your state. It is possible you may be able to arbitrate some kind of settlement.

  41. Mike
    February 22, 2016 at 5:51 pm

    I’ve recently been looking at buying a diesel pickup truck, preferably a dually. To make matters worse, I really miss driving a manual transmission, and would really prefer to get back in one should I trade in my current pickup on something new(er).

    That means I have to either go with an older model, or go with a dodge. I point this out not because I have anything against Dodge (Ram) or the Cummins engine, but rather to highlight the lack of options for a manual 3/4 ton diesel pickup.

    I’ve never really been a big gear head (I’m a programmer by trade). I have, however, been reading, learning, and exploring a *lot* in the past few years. I’ve also been reading a *lot* about diesels, about the 3/4 ton pickup market, and what I can expect (maintenance, costs, performance, etc) prior to running out and grabbing one.

    What I’ve run into is this:
    I’m not a big fan of Uncle. Neither am I a big fan of the diesel emissions restrictions (DEF / EGR / etc) that have infected anything from at least 2008 onward. I’m also not a big fan of dropping $55,000+ on a new one, especially with all of uncle’s add-ons.

    I am also worried about purchasing a used vehicle. Spending $18,000 — $25,000 on a USED truck with 180,000 — 280,000 miles on it is … it worries me.

    Was hoping to get your opinion / advice.

    • eric
      February 23, 2016 at 6:28 am

      Hi Mike,

      I’ve thought about this, too. If it were me looking, I’d be looking for something older – before the DEF rigmarole. Now, ordinarily, that would mean a high miles vehicle that probably needs work, etc. But diesel trucks are different, especially those made before all the rigmarole. Those older diesels are simpler and very durable. They last a long time.

      I’d much rather have a mid-late ’90s diesel pickup with say 150,000 on the odometer than 2013 with half the mileage.

  42. jan
    February 16, 2016 at 3:29 pm


    Do you know if I can swap a 1987 HT4100 seville engine for a 4.5 L alliante engine of 1991?
    And if you don’t know, maybe you know somone who can tell me.


  43. Chris Condon
    February 13, 2016 at 10:22 am

    I recently purchased a 2014 Nissan Altima. The car runs great and is reliable, but I have some questions about how it would fare in the event of a serious collision. When purchasing a car, how do you know which is the car most likely to protect the driver in the event of collision? How does the Nissan Altima stack up?

    • eric
      February 13, 2016 at 10:33 am

      Hi Chris,

      Well, there are crash test scores – which rate a given car relative to others in its class according to how well it protects the occupants in the event of various types of impacts (frontal, offset, rear, etc.)

      The Altima – being a mid-sized sedan – is inherently a safer car than most smaller cars, so you have that advantage right off the bat.

  44. David
    February 7, 2016 at 1:40 am

    Hello Eric,

    Wonder if you could take a quick stab at this one. Been car-less since 2005, looking to pick one up used for cash in the 5-7k range, primarily as a commuter that can keep on ticking without breaking the bank at the pumps. Utilizing a couple of websites, and, I’ve narrowed my field to these autos:

    2007-2009 Volks Golf
    2006-2008 Hyundai Elantra
    2006 Mazda 3
    2009 Subaru Outback (more versatility)
    2006 Toyota Camry
    2008 Toyota Corolla
    2007-2008 Toyota Matrix

    Does anything jump out at you? My body frame is the same as yours, as you described elsewhere. Thank you so much for your time!

    • eric
      February 7, 2016 at 5:56 am

      Hi David,

      I’d narrow down that list to two cars: The Corolla and the Mazda3.

      The Corolla is the VW Beetle of our age. These cars run almost forever and they’re inexpensive and pleasant – with a surprisingly roomy interior. The Mazda3 is similar, but more fun to drive and looks more jazzy. Either would be an excellent choice.

      The Matrix is ok, too. It’s basically a modified Corolla. You might have a look at the identical-except-for-the-badge Pontiac Vibe because you’ll pay less for the “Pontiac” than the Toyota.

      The Camry is also excellent, like the Corolla, just a bigger (and more expensive) car. Still, might be worth it if you just want a larger car. The four cylinder version is the one I’d get. Not speedy, but not gimpy, either. Plenty for A to B and simpler, cheaper – and easier on gas.

      • David
        February 8, 2016 at 9:16 pm

        Much obliged, kind sir. Really appreciate your answer. Have a great day.

  45. Robb
    February 4, 2016 at 1:50 am

    Hey Eric,

    Recently bought a 2003 Nissan Frontier 2.4 L, 4 cyl and have been thinking about switching to AMSOIL. In searching for the oil change interval, I read that Nissan doesn’t recommend synthetic oil in the 2003 & 04 models, although they do for the 2001 & 02 models.

    Haven’t been able to verify since I do not have the service manual. Any insight on whether this is true? If it is true, any recommendations? Mileage is 157,000.

    Would this apply to all oils including rear differential and manual transmission?


    • eric
      February 4, 2016 at 6:31 am

      Hi Robb,

      I have been using synthetic in my two Frontiers for years – with excellent results and no adverse effects whatsoever. THis includes the transmission (manuals, both trucks) and rear axles. Noticeably quieter and smoother, especially when cold (transmissions etc.) and cold starts on really cold days (5 degrees, etc.) much easier.

      Amsoil meets or exceeds every OE standard, so there should be no issue (negative) using it in your truck as well!

  46. Chuck
    February 3, 2016 at 2:49 pm

    hey Eric thanks for review of Subaru Forester; that was really helpful and so were the comments.
    Can anyone possibly confirm what is claimed by folks at, who seem to have caught something missed by everyone else? On 2015 + 2016 Forester, only base model has 74.7 cu. ft. cargo space. All the other trims only have 68.x – due to lower roof height needed to accommodate sunroof. That’s kind of a big deal for me…. thank you

  47. Julius
    February 2, 2016 at 7:44 pm

    Hello Eric’
    Do you know of any car or truck (1/2 ton) that has a straight front seat or even a split seat. I hate bucket seats but on the net all of the pictures of models show bucket seats.

  48. Slim934
    February 2, 2016 at 11:52 am

    Howdy Eric. First time poster. Heard you on Tom Woods’ radio show. You put out really good stuff.

    Do you happen to have any articles written (or can you point to) any articles that explain the emissions differences between the US and the EU? I’m looking at the whole VW fiasco and thinking “How on earth are cars that are legal in europe (from an emissions standpoint) not legal in the US? Has europe become an emissions dystopia?”

    It makes no sense to me and I am trying to understand the underlying intricacies of how something that is emissions friendly in europe is not emissions friendly in the US.

  49. Julie
    January 24, 2016 at 12:14 pm

    Do you have any advice or suggestions regarding car tires that can hold up well in extreme heat conditions? We live in the southwest and while the treads on our car tires hold up well (we check tire pressures and get them rotated, etc.), the last sets we purchased for both cars (Michelins) have developed dry rot and already need to be replaced. We want to replace the tires with tires that can hold up better under these conditions. Any advice would be appreciated. Thanks!

    • Julius
      January 24, 2016 at 3:58 pm

      I had the same problem with a set of Michelin Harmony’s. I was at a Firestone dealer
      in FT. Myers Florida and showed him the cracked sidewalls. They were 5 1/2 years old.
      He called Michelin and they replaced the tires less the tread wear. I still had over 80% tread so for a little over a hundred dollars I got a new set of tires.

      Hope it helps.

      • Julie
        January 24, 2016 at 5:18 pm

        Thanks for the response, Julius. The tires on both cars are probably 4 years old (maybe less) and easily have 80% tread left. I don’t want to pay for 2 whole sets of tires, but on the other hand, I don’t think I’m excited about replacing them with more Michelin’s, either (I’m guessing that is what they did for you?). I hope someone can tell me a brand of tire that is known to hold up well in extreme heat and then I can look at prices, maybe talk to Michelin and then compare and see overall what would work best. Thanks again!

  50. Confederate Papist
    January 21, 2016 at 7:17 am

    Eric – enjoy your articles (thanks to LRC).

    Question – I’ve noticed that many tractor trailers have been travelling in the middle lanes on the interstates instead of the (most of the time) readily available and open right lanes. Do you know why that is? Most of the times, you can count on OTR drivers to follow the written and unwritten “rules of the road”, but it seems like the last few years the middle lane has become their “Clover” lane for the rest of us “four wheelers” that still try to play by the rules. Your thoughts?

  51. Andrew
    January 9, 2016 at 3:28 pm

    Hi Eric,

    I’m in Europe, but I think you would have some useful insight to my dilemma. We have a growing family that is now at three children. So it means when anyone comes to visit us (like my mother from the US) we have to take two cars to go anywhere. My mother was generous enough at Christmas to give me money to get a van (VW T4 Transporter with 4wd is what I’d like). Just my wife doesn’t think it is so urgent right now, and would rather we put the money into gold and put off getting the van until whenever she is pregnant and we’ll really need a larger car.

    Her view, being an LRC reader, is that if there is some sort of economic collapse used cars will be even cheaper. My view is that after a collapse people won’t be able to buy new cars and that even businesses (the main owners of VW Transporters) would tend to buy used vehicles, driving the price up.

    During the different “recessions” in the US, have you seen the prices of used cars tending to go up or go down?

    The other issue is that we’d be going to Germany to buy the van (best place to buy used VWs and used cars in general, in part because of their uber-strict emissions laws banning older cars from driving in many of their cities), and one wonders if in a year going to Germany won’t be a great risk to ones life, so it pushes me anyway to go now, but used car shopping does take up a good bit of time and I have plenty to be doing right now instead…


    • eric
      January 10, 2016 at 6:37 am

      Hi Andrew,

      I suppose it depends on the nature of the collapse! We saw a dramatic uptick in used car prices here after the housing market/stock market crash back in ’08. Part of this was due to the artificial scarcity imposed by “cash for clunkers,” which drove up the prices of the used vehicles left on the market. But it was also due to increased demand for used cars caused by people’s reluctance or inability to buy a new car.

      As a general rule, though, it’s smart policy to buy a car (new or used) when you don’t have to. When you are not feeling pressured to get one right now. So, if I were you, I’d take my time and shop casually; read the classified, keep your eyes and ears open. And when a really good deal shows up (it will) then buy the car.

      • Andrew
        January 12, 2016 at 7:41 pm

        Thanks for the advice Eric. Given all the difficulty as well with car shopping for used cars a thousand miles away, it does seem best to neither rush nor put off until the last minute.

        • eric
          January 12, 2016 at 7:47 pm

          You bet, Andrew!

  52. Mario
    January 6, 2016 at 3:02 pm


    I’m a big fan. I see your articles on LRC. We want a used wagon/small SUV in the $12-15k range. Can you suggest some makes/models we should be looking at? It’s just my wife and I. Looking for a good value for our money.

    Thanks, Mario

    • eric
      January 6, 2016 at 3:17 pm

      Hi Mario,

      Thanks for the kind words!

      Some questions for you:

      What size vehicle are you generally interested in? Would a compact be acceptable? Or would you prefer something larger? Is full-size too large?

      Do you need/want all-wheel-drive (or four-wheel-drive)? Would rear-drive (or FWD) be ok?

      Do you need to pull a trailer? How important is cargo capacity?

      Do you have any preference regarding brands? Import – or domestic?

      • Mario Rotondo
        January 7, 2016 at 12:24 pm


        Mid size fine.
        Rear drive/FWD ok
        No trailer. Routine cargo cap.
        No preference foreign/domestic-best value only.

        Exciting time to be an anarcho-capitalist, no?

        • Mario
          January 11, 2016 at 2:40 pm

          Are you going to answer my questions?

          • eric
            January 11, 2016 at 3:06 pm

            Hi Mario,

            Apologies for the delay; it’s been crazy the past couple of weeks. I need a clone!

            Anyhow, if you’re ok with a FWD-based layout, lots of possibilities open up. I think a mid-sized crossover would be a good choice vs. a RWD (or RWD-based) SUV. You’ll get more room for your money (and for the physical package) and a FWD crossover with the right tires will actually give you better grip in poor weather than a RWD SUV.

            Have you looked at the Toyota Highlander? It’s an excellent choice for a family vehicle, based on the criteria you’ve listed. The Honda Pilot is similar – and also a good choice. You might also want to have a look at the Hyundai Sante Fe (not the Sport, which is smaller) as well as the Chevy Traverse and its cousin, the GMC Acadia.

            • Mario
              January 12, 2016 at 6:01 pm

              Great. Thanks, Eric. Greatly appreciated!

  53. AT
    December 29, 2015 at 8:00 pm

    Hi Eric. My wife and I are at our wits end trying to choose a car. The criteria is 1) a car that is safe for three kids (all in car seats), including a safe distance between the third row and trunk door, 2) something that will last long term that the family will grow into (i.e., as the kids get bigger), 3) something that has a good amount of cargo space behind the third row, and 4) AWD or 4WD.

    We’ve narrowed our choices down to the Suburban LT and Toyota Sienna. The reason for these two is that the Suburban is built well and has a good track record and is the only SUV in which we’re comfortable with the space between the third row and the trunk door (from both a safety (rear collision) perspective and cargo space perspective). Note that we don’t plan on towing anything or going off-road with the Suburban.

    The Sienna is the only (non luxury) non-SUV that has a decent amount of cargo space in our view, though the distance between the third row and trunk door is less than ideal in our view from a safety (rear collision) perspective. It also doesn’t seem to be constructed as well as a Suburban.

    The difference in fuel economy is negligible between the two vehicles, and based on our test drive of both, the Suburban drives smoother but definitely would take some getting used to in terms of the size.

    So the question is, given our criteria set forth at the outset, including the assumption that we plan to purchase this car (new) with the intent of keeping it for a decade or more, what’s the best choice? Appreciate your insights!

    • eric
      December 30, 2015 at 6:52 am

      Hi AT,

      These are two very different vehicles (obviously)!

      The Suburban is a body-on-frame SUV, RWD layout, V8 engine. The Sienna is a unibody/FWD/V6 minivan.

      The Suburban is much heavier, physically larger and rides higher – all of these things making it extremely safe in terms of its ability to withstand impact forces. If the Suburban were to impact the Sienna, the Sienna would lose. Badly. It’s not that the Sienna is “unsafe.” It’s just an unequal contest. (Crash test scores are within the class; not generally. In other words, a “5 Star” rated compact is not as resistant to crash forces as a “4 Star” full-size vehicle.)

      The Chevy is inherently more rugged and so likely more durable than the Toyota. For example, if you hit a really bad pothole, it will likely not hurt the Suburban. It might hurt the Toyota.

      But, the Suburban is a bus.

      The Sienna is also, but far more maneuverable in close quarters. Turning circle especially. I’ll drive anything, but I’d rather not drive a Suburban in suburbia.

      On the highway, though, the Suburban is a ship-of-the-line. An ideal way to cover 12 hours with the family.

      Access to the interior/usable space: The Toyota wins. Step-in height is lower and those dual sliding doors really open things up plus, there’s no “hump” for the driveshaft running down the center line.

      You mention you will not go off-road or tow. But will you need to deal with snow days? If so, the Toyota will be much superior vs. the 2WD (rear-drive) Chevy. Put another way, you’d need to buy the optional 4WD (with the Chevy) to match the poor-weather traction of the FWD Toyota.

      Both vehicles should hold their value pretty decently – the Chevy because it’s a popular SUV, the Toyota because it’s a Toyota.

      If your primary criteria at this point is crashworthiness, the Chevy is the obvious choice. If it’s ease-of-use, you might lean toward the Toyota.

  54. Argent47
    December 17, 2015 at 11:30 pm

    Can you email me? I just came back to virginia. Been off your site for a year or so, but would love to talk in person one day. Philosophy or the likes would be great. Not much of a car person, but I do, very much so, understand the connection. In Manassas, currently unemployed so I have a bit of time.

    • eric
      December 18, 2015 at 6:45 am

      Hi Argent,

      Good to have you back – but sorry to hear about the job situation. My e-mail’s (unlike Clover, I don’t hide!)

  55. Junior Wilson (New Clover!)
    December 15, 2015 at 2:29 pm

    I love you Libertarian types. So full of shit and yourselves. You think the world was created for you.
    You’re a nothing. Your writing history is below basic and your background is lacking any substance. Without government you would have us exist like ISIS. Anarchy would rein. Who do you think takes care of the roads, regulates clean air, makes it possible for you to have an internet, and make so much else workable? NO you.! You contribute NOTHING. You know NOTHING.Clover
    Your friend Jim Baxter at NMA promised he would disband NMA after sane speed limits were restored. He lied, just as he lies now with the crap he publishes. Thank God you idiots don’t run the country and we only have to turn off your crap.

    • BrentP
      December 15, 2015 at 6:07 pm

      Sane speed limits haven’t been restored. If you do not believe me drive I-294 outside of Chicago at the posted speed limit.

      Who do you think allowed their friends to pollute the air and water in the first place? Of course you never studied the history of pollution you just believed your teachers when they told you, per government chosen course of study, that the government stopped the big bad polluters. We are just supposed to believe the stupid and ignorant masses just voluntarily wallowed in filth for decades before complaining to their government. Of course they didn’t do that. They did complain and government told them to go pound sand because it was the friends of people running government who were spewing the filth. Only when confronted with righteous mass anger and people who now had scientific proof that living in such filth caused health issues did government do something about it. Of course it soon after weaponized its legislation for the benefit of their friends.

  56. John
    December 7, 2015 at 11:16 pm

    Just glad I grew up in the period I did. Wished I had hung onto both my Mustang and Firebird.

    • eric
      December 8, 2015 at 6:40 am

      Me too, John!

      (I still have my Firebird…)

  57. Gregg
    December 5, 2015 at 3:43 pm

    Subject: New tires in front or back.

    I get the idea that from a hydro plane standpoint it is better to have two new tires in the rear of a vehicle than the front. I live in a dry area and know to slow down when it is wet, so I’m wondering about other aspects. If a person is turning with a flat front tire, couldn’t that tire really mess up and cause a loss of control?

    Pep Boys required the new tires in back.

  58. Herrmes
    December 3, 2015 at 9:08 pm

    Just thought you might find this interesting:


    • eric
      December 4, 2015 at 6:45 am

      I hate car sex. I’m 6ft 3 and 200 pounds. It’a just not worth the effort!

  59. Greg
    November 29, 2015 at 12:15 pm

    I have a 2000 Ford F-250 7.3 Diesel Super Duty with an automatic transmission. I am looking for a chip that will improve performance as well as possibly increase fuel efficiency. I have read about the Superchips 1840 Flashpaq product. It has gotten great reviews. Which product would you recommend Eric? I am not sold on any one item. I trust your advice explicitly. By the way, I read all of your articles on Thank you for keeping us informed.

  60. AT
    November 28, 2015 at 3:23 am

    Eric—If you have three young kids, including a baby, all in car/booster seats, a budget of about $50,000, and you want a car that will last a while and will support the family now and as the kids get bigger in terms of cargo space, etc., would you recommend something along the lines of an Acadia or go the bigger route of a Suburban?

    • eric
      November 28, 2015 at 6:43 am

      Hi AT,

      Either is a good choice; both have ample room; both have good reputations for reliability of the major components (engine, transmission, etc.).

      So, which to choose?

      The Suburban is physically larger on the outside and can be a handful to deal with; but it can tow a heavy trailer and its available 4WD is much more capable than the Acadia’s lighter-duty available AWD. Both are good in snow, but the Suburban can deal with rougher conditions. Do you pull a boat? Go off-pavement? It comes standard with a really nice V8.

      On the other hand...

      The Acadia is much easier to drive; the FWD version will give you much better winter weather grip than the RWD version of the Suburban – and for less money. The available AWD is plenty if all you need to deal with is the occasional snowstorm – and don’t need to pull more than about 3,500 pounds or so. The V6 provides good acceleration; not-terrible gas mileage.

      I like both these rigs. But the one you need will depend on your needs – as well as on a test drive of them both!

      • AT
        November 28, 2015 at 9:14 am

        Great, appreciate the timely and thoughtful reply Eric. We test drove both yesterday—Acadia definitely seems more controllable. The worry with the Acadia is the cargo space as compared to the Suburban. I’m envisioning strollers, groceries with the Acadia to be a bit of a crunch, especially with a child in the third row (having to put a seat down next to that child to fit extra stuff).

        That said, as you mentioned, the Suburban is definitely more of a bear to drive. I’m assuming you get used to it over time though. If you can get a good deal on a Suburban LT (say, in the low $50,000s), the question is whether you splurge for the extra couple of hundred a month in a car payment for the extra breathing room in terms of cargo space.

  61. Mark
    November 26, 2015 at 9:31 pm
  62. Ty
    November 17, 2015 at 12:29 pm

    Hi Peter, I am interested in the new Nissan Titan pickup and was wondering if you had any comments about it or if you’ll be able to review it.

    It is a cummins powered diesel and they are doing something unique by making it somewhere in between a half and 3/4 ton. I think its a good idea but Nissan seems to be a little reserved about it.

    • eric
      November 17, 2015 at 12:56 pm

      Hi Ty,

      I’ve not driven one yet, but they should be sending me one soon. Based on what I’ve read about it, it sounds good. The main issue with Japanese trucks vs. domestic trucks is the limited configurations (at least, to date). But otherwise, they are solid choices. I like the current Tundra – and the previous gen. Titan is a strong pick-up that compares favorably with similar 1500s from GM, Ford and Dodge.

  63. Charles hunter
    November 16, 2015 at 12:32 pm

    I have a 2007 Hyundai Sonata. Its been fantastic. I’ve been really lucky.
    The next time I have to buy a car, which hopefully won’t be for a really long time, I was thinking about buying a rental car.

    Hertz sells them and they are cheaper than used cars at dealerships. And, what I’ve found, is that alot of delaerships are selling used cars that used to be rentals anyway…only at higher prices.

    Do you think that’s a good idea? To buy a rental car?

    • eric
      November 16, 2015 at 1:30 pm

      Hi Charles,

      There are pros – and cons.

      The chief pro is that (usually) they are regularly maintained and will have records of said maintenance. The chief con is that rental cars are often run hard and out up wet, as they say.

      As with any used car, your best bet is to have your prospect thoroughly checked out by a mechanic you trust.

  64. Justin
    November 11, 2015 at 7:14 am

    Hey Eric,

    As an owner of a VW Golf TDi, I just read your latest piece on the VW “scandal,” and was wondering what my options are as far as taking the credit card or not. I don’t want to if I’m giving up fuel efficiency, but will I have a choice? Will the EPA force me to fix it anyway?


    • eric
      November 11, 2015 at 8:07 am

      Hi Justin,

      They kind of have you by the short hairs. As Brent pointed out, if you ever take your car to a VW dealer for service, it is certain they will “fix” the programming. You can end-run this (for now) by either doing your own service or by taking the car to an independent mechanic who will not “fix” it.

      But I expect the EPA will require all “affected” models be “fixed” at some point.

  65. Jean
    November 6, 2015 at 10:10 am

    If I might beg your indulgence:
    My 1998 Buick died, I need a knee-jerk guess as to whether it might be worth fixing.
    Radiator coolant got into the engine, fouled the plugs; three hours to find out what the damage is. I don’t mind paying, I’d like to keep, even enhance the car – but I’m a realist, too.

    If it were your vehicle, facing $500 “exploratory surgery”; cost of a refurb’ed engine is $1200 – $200; what would you guess are the odds of a Major problem (Head gasket blown, bent pins, ring job, engine rebuild) vs. minor things (Take out engine, clean it, replace the leaking component, good as new)?

    Gut feel, best guess, “Yes/No” type question – asking intuition, not a researched answer, if you can. I.E., you read this, and think “X”.

    Appreciate any thoughts on whether it’s salvageable or better left DOA/DNR.


    • eric
      November 6, 2015 at 10:24 am

      Hi Jean,

      The damage may not be fatal, if there was no hydraulic lock and the bearings, etc. were not ruined. You mention fouled plugs. Any other indications?

      It could be something relatively trivial, such as a small intake manifold leak that allowed a little coolant to get in the cylinders (but not enough to cause hydraulic lock, which I’m pretty sure you’d know happened).

      Is there evidence of coolant in the oil? Is there evidence of coolant fouling on all plugs (not just some)?

      If it were my car, I’d determine the cause – and the damage, if any.

      If all it turns out to be is an intake manifold leak, that is is an easy and fairly cheap fix well worth doing. Even head gaskets would not be enough to trash it for me – assuming no bottom end damage (which, based on what you’ve described strikes me as not likely).

      Do you know how to test for a leaking manifold gasket (and head gasket leak)?

      That’s where I’d start…

      • Jean
        November 6, 2015 at 11:46 am

        Thank you very much, Eric, I’ll get in touch with the service station today.
        I was nervous about a $1000 job just to find out I should’ve pulled the plug, so I’ll ask better questions and get an answer, courtesy of you. 😉

        I’ll have to make a good contribution this month – I blew it in October. :-(

        • eric
          November 6, 2015 at 12:00 pm

          Happy to help!

          Ping me when you get more info; I’m sure others here (Brent) will also be happy to chime in.

      • Jean
        November 6, 2015 at 12:02 pm

        Actually, here’s what IS known:
        Car was running fine from home to “point A.” Starting from “Point A”, car ran a little rough. Got to “point B”, and when leaving, Car wouldn’t start.
        Engine turned over, some white smoke out the tailpipe, but not even a choke.

        Tried about four times, up to about 20 seconds of trying to crank. Total distance about 5 miles, give or take, from Home (start) to end.
        So I think it’ll be intake manifold, but need a way to confirm; I’ll have to trust the shop owner to know or research how to check the manifold gasket.

        But with your advice, I should be able to avoid looking like a mark. He’s worked on the other car several times, so that’s not likely an issue, but I hate to look like a mark or a rube, just in case.

        Thank you again!

        • eric
          November 6, 2015 at 12:45 pm

          Sounds good, Jean – keep us posted!

        • BrentP
          November 6, 2015 at 3:41 pm

          It’s a likely a gasket failure of some sort. A wall or walls between a coolant cross over and the air intake path in the intake manifold (V engine) has failed or a head gasket has failed. That’s really all there is to let coolant into a cylinder.

          The not starting is odd, the plugs that weren’t wet should have fired. Same if it’s a head gasket issue. Although maybe it did fire but didn’t catch, hence the white smoke? If it’s all plugs that were wet then it has to be intake manifold related. Usually a head gasket will take out one or two cylinders. Only the intake manifold can feed coolant to all of them.

          No need to tear down. Do a compression check to see if there is a head gasket issue. If it can get running a vacuum gauge should show an intake manifold problem. Maybe even just cranking. Can also do a smoke test. Pump smoke into the intake manifold and see where it comes out or if it bubbles in the coolant, although gravity might stop that. Can also try to put it under vacuum and see if it sucks up coolant (just made that up, might work).

          Modern cars… everyone is so used to codes they think they have to do teardowns if they don’t have code. All the old tools work. Just treat it like it’s from the 1970s and won’t tell ya nothin’.

          • Jean
            November 6, 2015 at 5:29 pm

            The station is talking about disassembling the front end of the car to get to the engine.
            I’ve tried to contact them today, they’re not calling any more. 😛
            “To Be Continued.”

            • eric
              November 6, 2015 at 5:43 pm

              For a ’98 Buick? That seems… odd.

              Besides which, first things first: Diagnose the problem before taking stuff apart. Figuring out whether it has an intake gasket leak or a head gasket problem does not require disassembling the front clip.

              I’m worried…

            • BrentP
              November 6, 2015 at 9:18 pm

              That makes no sense.
              When the plugs come out coolant fouled it’s time for a compression test no removing the front clip.

              • eric
                November 7, 2015 at 7:21 am

                Hi Brent,

                Yeah, I don’t like the sound of that at all. I think Jean needs a new mechanic.

                I’ve worked on those late ’90s GMs with the transverse V6. The intake manifold is no problem. The head on the firewall side is a PITAS, but you don’t pull the front clip off to get at it. What the heck are they thinking? Even if the engine has to come out, it is not necessary (I am damn near 100 percent certain) to remove the front sheetmetal to do so.

                • Jean
                  December 3, 2015 at 10:56 am

                  I’m late coming back here…. Had some vacation time I had to take, went to see Mom in Jersey… No real access (The site doesn’t work well on a phone; no, she doesn’t have a computer.)

                  $1300, mostly work, not parts.

                  Problem is, there’s some rod in the engine compartment which is supposed to be cooled with coolant. Previous work done on a leak left the metal rod exposed – no coolant in the “link.” (Word used for lack of an actual name.)

                  It affected the lower intake manifold, and from talking to him, sounds like it was near the firewall (but no exploded view diagram at this time, to get proper names and parts.)

                  HOWEVER… There’s a known defect of 3800 V-6s.

                  Sounds fairly similar.
                  In my case, the rod melted the plastic casing enough to allow coolant into the lower intake manifold, and then everything got fouled. It was just a matter of time.

                  Follow-up problem: It sounds like they didn’t put everything together properly, as there are rattles, clanks, and growls coming from the engine. It’s back in the shop, with details.
                  – Metallic clanking, not related to revs or speed, sounds like center of engine compartment, like someone left a screwdriver in there (I checked, it’s not visible if that’s the issue.) (It DID happen with my WRX… Dealer mechanic left a screwdriver on one of the strut (?) mount points after doing engine work, black on black made it disappear.)

                  – At about 1500 – 2500 RPM, there’s an occasional growl, like a belt slips briefly. Could also be a bearing, I guess.

                  Further, looking up “parts”, I’m seeing “Limited Availability” all over the place.

                  I’m honestly surprised there aren’t MORE (manufactured) lunatics shooting the place up. Our modern world wants people to be machines, to remain “useful” to TPTB, and to age out quickly once primary utility is achieved. (I.E., spend on education, spend on health and entertainment, work ass off, marry, spend on health, food, education entertainment for family, die before collecting social security.) No time off (vacations with family are just a different sort of stress – you take the problems with you), no time for contemplation nor introspection nor (real) self-improvement (E.G., taking courses related to work doesn’t count as self-improvement.)

                  Of course, because “WOMAN,” I get everything filtered, second-hand, from someone who doesn’t know or want to know cars, mechanics, electronics, electricity, math, or even verbal or written communications.

                  Looking up more information (at work, the only time I can get on a computer – it’s a miracle i’m not fired!) I see there are a FEW issues, too…

                  GM said some of these vehicles have a condition in which drops of engine oil may be deposited on the exhaust manifold through hard braking. If the manifold is hot enough and the oil runs below the heat shield, it may ignite into a small flame and may spread to the plastic spark plug wire channel and beyond, increasing the risk of an engine compartment fire.

                  Lower Manifold ticks off at $450 or so, from a quick google (IE, may be more, don’t have the bill here.)

                  This guy has been good in the past, but I have my questions now.

                  • Jean
                    December 3, 2015 at 4:03 pm

                    Turns out, after several hours of work on their part, it was a loose heat shield.

                    Cost of new “repairs”: $0.

                    Renews one’s faith in humanity, such as it is. 😉

                    • eric
                      December 3, 2015 at 4:41 pm

                      Excellent! (I should have thought of that; those heats shields often work loose – or rust loose – and the rattle awfully).

                      What’s the latest on the coolant leak situation?

                    • Jean
                      December 4, 2015 at 10:11 am

                      Hi, Eric, thanks for the response!
                      The coolant leak should now be fixed. $1300 as noted above, I need to go get a Haynes’s guide to try and identify parts.
                      It sounds like there is a hot metal rod that ties the upper and lower manifolds together, and it is in a plastic sleeve which SHOULD be filled with coolant to keep things temperate.
                      An old service event had the servicers glue it shut, basically. As in, literally seal it. Which means no coolant in the plastic sleeve, which means plastic parts melt sooner or later.
                      I’m guessing it melted part of the lower manifold (original injury to the parts in the upper, as I understand), and that allowed coolant to sneak in and foul the engine.

                      Riding great again – or at least, no worse than it was. 😉

                      Still pondering shoehorning in a V8 or such, and re-tooling a tranny, and …. (insert Frankenstein Buick plans here)

                      I think the frame is Ok, I know a few sheet metal parts are in bad shape. I can see pavement here and there on one side, not the other – so it’s bad sheet metal. But the car wasn’t meant for Boston’s winter armageddons…

                      I need to get the undercarriage treated, but between six different events? Good thing we already have a Christmas tree from last year… And the little make-believe presents will have to do until tax returns! 😛

                      Haven’t forgotten I owe you, it’s coming with the next paycheck. 😉

                    • eric
                      December 4, 2015 at 10:27 am

                      Good stuff, Jean!

                      And – this is why I am not a fan of plastic intakes. Steel/aluminum is much more durable. As a rule, provided some idiot doesn’t overtorque a bolt and warp/crack one, they are very unlikely to ever cause a problem. “Ever” being defined as several decades… whereas the plastic stuff seems to begin to regularly have issues around 12-15 years out from new and often sooner than that.

  66. Mr. Julian W. Jones
    November 6, 2015 at 10:03 am

    Eric: Just read your American Spectator article about VW. FYI — the problem with VW was not the CO2 emissions. It was the NOx emissions, which are a contributor to smog (in combination with VOCs and sunlight. Diesels typically emit more NOx than gasoline engines, and the old high-sulfur diesel fuel rendered catalytic converter useless (soot fouled the catalyst). I don’t know the particulars in this case, but if VW met the European standards, they should be OK here, as far as I’m concerned.

    I worked at EPA for decades, and became one of few lowly dissenters in the whole global warming scam, after figuring out what the anti-business crowd there was all about. In the early days we worked on REAL pollution problems that were everywhere in the 1960s and 1970s. So I share your opinions about CO2. The main driving force behind increasing levels of CO2 — which is a good thing, based on the Medieval warming period — is the warming earth, releasing CO2 from the oceans. CO2 doesn’t drive the warming; it’s the other way around.

    • eric
      November 6, 2015 at 10:28 am

      Hi Julian,

      This is a new development (the C02). Did you read the news story I linked to in the article?

      …and they ask me why I drink.

  67. Tom
    November 5, 2015 at 9:17 pm

    Hello Eric,

    I learned about you from the Tom Woods Youtube channel.
    You have some great articles about electric cars from 2011 and I was wondering if you could do an updated article on EV’s? I have been in total agreement with you when it comes to the fact that electric cars and hybrids are over priced and it takes years if not forever to ever get your money back from buying an EV. Then something changed.

    I saw a deal for a Nissan Leaf for $199 per month with nothing down.
    Even though I didn’t need another car, I leased the Leaf because it’s only $199 per
    month and that is what I was spending for gas per month. It was like getting a free car!

    From your 2011 article it talked about things such as EV’s being expensive, charging times being long, and EV’s not being able to drive very far. You have also mentioned that EV’s are being subsidized with the tax credits which someone else is paying for.

    I agree with you on many these issue, but it seems that a lot has evolved since you wrote your last article about EV’s.

    It seems 2015 has become the year of EV’s and I think your insight would be very interesting to many readers.

    Thanks for your consideration.

  68. Bill Noack
    October 29, 2015 at 12:33 pm

    Eric: So glad to see your still active. Think of you when I listen to the Elvis channel on XM radio. Drop an email. –Bill Noack

    • eric
      October 29, 2015 at 1:16 pm


      I’m more than just still active; I’m on the loose!

  69. Pd
    October 26, 2015 at 3:00 am

    Why did you ban me? A bit too strict of moderation, if the reason was because I used the word “moron” I won’t use those words again if you unban me.

    • eric
      October 26, 2015 at 6:23 am

      Hi Pd,

      You’re not banned- just not registered as a user. If you register (top right on the main page) your posts will go right through instead of waiting in Moderation to be approved first.

  70. October 25, 2015 at 7:28 am

    I’m certainly no expert on website design and it’s probably just me but the container of your rotating blog posts changing sizes causes everything below to shift up and down every time the picture size changes during rotation. It’s a bit annoying when I’m scanning your posts and they keep moving up and down. However, I’m easily annoyed so if it doesn’t bother anyone else then of course… just consider me to be the annoyance! :) Love the content!

    • eric
      October 25, 2015 at 7:34 am

      Thanks, Jeff!

      I’ll check into this… on my end, it looks okay…

  71. Leecifer
    October 24, 2015 at 12:14 pm

    I wanted to support you by making my amazon purchase through your site. Are you affiliated with them for this? I will go through LewRockwell this time, but I really do love your stuff and want to throw some bones, or clams, or whatever you call them…. your way

  72. michael F
    October 22, 2015 at 1:49 pm

    Mr. Peters I heard your appearance on Tom woods. I had a discussion with from co workers where I argued that governments have no right to assert that they have the right to set auto emissions standards. My friends felt that if government didn’t set auto standards that we would live in a dangerous polluted world. Can you cite some of your articles and resources that specifically address this issue.

    • eric
      October 22, 2015 at 2:37 pm

      Hi Michael,

      Yes, I’ve written about this.

      In brief, your co-workers’ premise is that people will act contrary to their self-interest if government didn’t force them to.

      With regard to automobile pollution: In a Libertarian system, you have the right to act as you wish provided your actions do not cause a tangible harm to others. If you do cause a tangible harm, then your victim (who must be an actual human being, not a generalization) has the right to seek redress, to be made whole. The same mechanisms that would be available to deal with, say, a person who poured used motor oil on your lawn would operate to deal with pollution.

      It’s also worth pointing out – as a peripheral issue – that if the government ukase did not exist, cars in general would probably be much more fuel efficient than they are, and so would emit less pollution by dint of that alone.

    • BrentP
      October 23, 2015 at 2:34 pm

      Government lies to people. People do not study the history of things so they get away with it.

      Pollution got very bad because government said that people had to prove a particular pollutant caused them physical harm. It also allowed soiling of the commons, government managed property. They decided that way instead of based on property rights harm. This was an intentional action of the government to protect cronies. They knew there was plausible deniability to hide behind. When the ability to prove it came about we got the EPA to issue grants of pollution to cronies but not to others and then start cleaning stuff up to prevent the pitchforks and torches. Now a couple generations removed the government tells children it gave them clean air and water.

      Basically what the government did was set back technology to minimize pollution back decades. There was no need to develop it because nobody would use it. Government decided that polluting at will was acceptable.

      So people think without the EPA rivers would be catching fire and the like.

  73. Justin Crumley
    October 22, 2015 at 2:02 am

    Hi Eric! I have done my research in looking for the right car for me and I’ve settled on the Mazda 3 hatch. My only question is 2015 or 2016? I was holding out for a while in case they were able to get the diesel in the 2016 model but it appears that isn’t going to happen. These two years seem to be so insignificantly different that I’m leaning towards the 2015. whats your take? thanks!

    • eric
      October 22, 2015 at 5:53 am

      Hi Justin,

      The Mazda3 is a great little car; I think you’ll like it a lot!

      As far as whether a ’15 or a ’16:

      There are no major changes for 2016, but Mazda lowered the base price slightly for the new model. But you may be able to get a better deal on a ’15 just because it’s getting close to the end of the model year and dealers will want to clear inventory.

      Unfortunately, the Sky-D diesel is on hold indefinitely. My sources tell me it is not likely to be offered in the U.S. in the near future, if ever.

  74. October 21, 2015 at 5:46 pm

    What is your reprint/republish policy? Is it okay to reprint the first few lines with a link back to your original article? I just did this at Let me know if this is a problem!

    You should consider a creative commons type of license instead of a copyright.

    PS: great site. I’ve heard you a couple of times on the Tom Woods show.

    • eric
      October 21, 2015 at 5:56 pm

      Feel free, Jay – and thanks for asking (and for the kind words!)

  75. Marcus
    October 21, 2015 at 12:10 pm

    I heard about you through Tom Woods and I think you would be perfect to refute Adam Conover’s TruTv/CollegeHumor Show called “Adam Ruin’s Everything” and the episode is “Cars”. The episode is also on Youtube . Adam does get somethings right about how Dealerships use government to create a monopoly and stop direct sales, but the overall episode pushes the theme that cars are “bad” and “dangerous” so we should want public transportation over owning a car.

    • eric
      October 21, 2015 at 1:40 pm

      Hi Marcus,

      As OJ used to say… I would love to!

  76. Paula
    October 15, 2015 at 9:24 pm

    I’m getting an error message about JavaScript and cookies when I try to post, but they’re both enabled on my device. The error message suggested letting you know that there might be a problem. So FYI.

    • eric
      October 16, 2015 at 6:08 am

      Hi Paula,

      Thanks for the heads up on this; I will look into it!

  77. October 12, 2015 at 8:20 am

    Loved your write up about the 89 MR2 SC. I recently bought one after owning an 89 N/A model for almost 20 years. My distributor housing broke while putting it back on the car after resealing. Any chance you know where I could get one (a distributor, or just the housing)? I hope I do not regret buying the SC model.

    Thanks, in advance.

  78. je
    September 25, 2015 at 6:14 pm

    I am having trouble finding power window parts (regulators,motors,etc) for my 1989 chev. Cavalier convertible Z 24.

    Do you know of some aftermarket sites for these parts?

  79. Lee
    September 24, 2015 at 9:36 am

    Have you done any articles on Smart Cars?

    If you have, is there a link?

    The Pope is saying that efforts to improve the environment shouldn’t be done exclusively at the expense of those who are least well off. Hopefully, the government might take his admonition to heart.

  80. Ernie
    September 23, 2015 at 9:49 pm

    Eric, could you give your take on the VW/EPA issue regarding their diesel vehicles?

    • eric
      September 24, 2015 at 6:29 am

      Hi Ernie,

      See the latest feature article!

      • Daniel
        October 21, 2015 at 8:27 am

        Hi Eric – I just heard you on the Tom Woods Podcast, good stuff!!

        Do you know how much MPG performance actually improved? I wonder if it would be worth coming at this from a total net emissions impact? Because they sacrificed “emissions”, they got better performance/MPGs = less fuel burned or wasted = less fuel extracted & refined = better for the environment. VW may actually be more environmentally conscious than the EPA!! :)

        • eric
          October 21, 2015 at 8:47 am

          Hi Daniel,


          It’s hard to know exactly, but we can make an educated guess. 30 years ago, it was common for diesel-powered cars to average 45-50 MPG. That was without the benefit of all the modern advantages (such as overdrive transmissions) all modern diesel cars benefit from. Yet the mileage of modern diesel cars is barely as good and often worse than the diesel-powered cars of 30 years ago.

          If they could build them to maximize mileage, even at the cost of fractionally higher emissions, I have no doubt they could average 60 or possibly more, depending on the vehicle.

        • BrentP
          October 21, 2015 at 9:35 am

          I read an article somewhere that a test was done to estimate that and it was 4mpg. Which is huge when it comes to CAFE.

          Government regulators don’t see the big picture. They only see little ones. Which is why government regulation is often counter productive.

  81. DJ
    September 21, 2015 at 4:06 pm
  82. Don Bacon
    September 16, 2015 at 12:37 pm
  83. cmccue
    September 10, 2015 at 9:55 pm

    I was delighted to find your book “Automotive Atrocities” on Amazon ( I was torn, however, between buying the one priced at $3.99 or the one priced at $2,121. I hope you won’t think less of me for choosing the less expensive option.

    After reading the introduction, I felt doubly guilty: it’s actually worth the higher price. Scathingly funny, nimbly written, and painfully true.

  84. Gary Bullard
    September 9, 2015 at 10:17 pm

    Ihad to turn off mu dollar a month because it kept adding a dollar a month each month. At 3 months,I shut you down from PayPal.

    • eric
      September 10, 2015 at 5:24 am

      Hi Gary,

      Thanks for the heads up on this. I assume Pay Pal has a setting you can adjust? I’m wondering whether others have had this issue as well?

  85. win
    September 4, 2015 at 9:30 am

    Have you written an article about the cost of changing Ford 150 spark plugs? The plugs break and it can cost $1000.

    • BrentP
      September 4, 2015 at 1:25 pm

      There is an issue where F150s made some years ago should have the spark plugs removed with more care than many are used to using. If the care isn’t taken they can break resulting in expensive repair if done by removing the head. Using tools and kits developed since would be much cheaper.

  86. MacNucc11
    August 31, 2015 at 1:43 pm

    I have a question about trucks. I am looking at a two wheel drive Toyota Tacoma with a V6 standard transmission. I want to know if you think this is sufficient to pull a small boat.



    • eric
      August 31, 2015 at 2:36 pm

      Hi Mike,

      What’s the weight of your trailer and the boat? The V6 Tacoma’s max tow rating is 6,500 lbs.

  87. Paula Douglas
    August 28, 2015 at 8:52 pm
  88. JJ
    August 16, 2015 at 12:34 pm

    Hi Eric, my question is about interior fit and finish. Which cars/suv’s that you have recently tested had the best fit and finish? Nothing drives me crazier than a rattle here and a squeak there. It reminds me of my parents ’83 Plymouth Turismo, which squeezed and rattled all over town. Hit any bump and you thought the dash was going to pop off and land in your lap!

    I have a 2013 Fusion and it has been great, except the creek in the headliner than comes and goes. And I have a 2015 MKC, which is a fabulous SUV in my opinion, except this tiny rattle in the dash that I cannot pinpoint. A 40 some K vehicle shouldn’t do that, am I right?

    I am on a quest for the best fit and finish vehicle for my next car, when the Fusion gets turned in next summer. Probably a mid size or compact replacement. Thoughts?

    • eric
      August 17, 2015 at 8:18 am

      Hi JJ,

      Fit and finish in today’s cars is much closer, brand-to-brand, than it once was – and overall, even the average cars are vastly better than the high-end cars of 20 years ago.

      That said – and this is purely anecdotal – my own experience with new cars (I test drive/review them every week) is that the German stuff seems to be the best put-together, with the next-best being the brand-name Japanese stuff, followed by the American stuff. The Koreans are now generally at “par” with the bread-and-butter Japanese (i.e., Toyota and Nissan) but not quite at Lexus/Infiniti levels.

      Hope this helps!

  89. August 13, 2015 at 7:46 am

    A woman can wear a tampon or not while running a marathon and on her period, right?

    It’s the same principle as individually choosing to wear a seatbelt or not during a race, is it not?

  90. john paul
    August 5, 2015 at 11:32 pm

    In you Heroes section, you are always make the cops as the bad guys. That is not the case in most situations. You read about cops across this nation, getting killed daily from basic traffic stops.They made do things that you do not like or agree with. Who doesn’t, when they get a traffic ticket. You can always find faults with why you go the tickets. But do you look at the cop’s pointy of view.
    You are beginning to sound like the black or Africa American situation. The cop is guilty until proven innocent. Regardless, of the situation. They are too busy to cater to the news cameras to look at the other side….edged on by the so called new media. What a misnomer that has become! We do not have news reporters anymore, just gossip readers.
    Fact is, if you are going to get nasty and argumentative with the police, you are going to have some problems with the police when they are arresting you. Do as you are asked and you will have less problems.
    I am not saying the city are not trying to turn the cops into revenue agents to add more money to the budget. They are!… But when you fight with the police, you are giving them more money than you would have to.
    Good cops, yes..,most of them. Bad cops, yes some of them get badge heavy and those are taken out of action, by their own actions or their departments decisions
    The black community needs to see cops as some one doing their jobs and not some racist in a uniform. That you can call CNN each time you get a racist tickets.
    We need to lightening up on the cops so they can do their jobs…is all I am asking or saying.
    They have a job to do.

    • eric
      August 6, 2015 at 5:48 am

      Hi John Paul,

      Yes, indeed. They have a “job to do.”

      Which has become enforcing unjust laws that have no moral basis.

      Defined as involving no victim, no harm caused.

      From the pettiest (seatbelt enforcement) to the most serious (kidnapping and caging people for “possessing” arbitrarily illegal “drugs”). Every interaction with a cop involves the implicit threat of murderous violence – with the cop held to a far flimsier standard than an ordinary citizen. These costumed creeps can execute us in the street – in our own homes – and (legally) get away with it by claiming they felt their “safety” was being threatened. Mark that. Felt that their “safety” was threatened. You or I, on the other hand, must be able to prove – in court – that we faced the actuality of imminent deadly attack before we may legally use a firearm in self defense. As it should be, probably. By why does the same standard not apply to these steroidal, buzz-cut, order-barking, mirrored sunglass-wearing “heroes”?

      That’s my beef with cops.

      They are no longer predominantly peace keepers.

      They are law enforcers.

      They’ve become little better than the Stasi in East Germany.

      And yes, you’re right that it’s prudent to “submit and obey.” But it’s also degrading and clear, unmistakable proof in support of my previous point.

      We’re dealing with American Stasi.


  91. frenchy
    August 5, 2015 at 1:49 am


    Got a question on braking in a manual. I was taught that when braking in manual, to also apply the clutch. What’s the right way to do it? I own a Golf 2012 TDI manual, and recently had to replace the clutch after 88,000 km Which the dealer said they normally need replacing around 90k km. However, my old ’95 Ford Ranger, which had over 150K miles on it, never had a clutch problem.

    I drive both the same way, but now I’m wondering if braking and using the clutch in my VW prematurely wore down my clutch.

    • eric
      August 5, 2015 at 6:58 am

      Hi Frenchy,

      This’ll be interesting – because I bet people have varying ideas!

      I leave the car in gear at first, during the initial stages of deceleration, because it provides some engine braking effect and because I prefer to not be coasting/freewheeling when it might be necessary to accelerate (to swerve out of the path of a Clover, for instance). I apply the brakes gradually at the same time. I push the clutch pedal down at the point just before the engine would begin to lug, ease into neutral and then use just the brakes to slow to a stop.

      That’s me – and assumes a normal/steady/anticipated/controlled stop.

      I’ve never had to replace a clutch in a modern car before 150,000 miles. The fact that you got 150k on the clutch in your Ranger indicates it’s probably not your technique that’s the problem. Having to put a new clutch in a modern car like your VW at well under 100k from new is not normal. The usual reason for such a thing is either a problem with the car… or a problem with the driver. I suspect the former’s the case in this case!

      • ЯΞ√ΩLUT↑☼N
        August 8, 2015 at 11:38 pm

        Eric, that works OK during a normal stop, but our Army driver training tells us to push in the clutch during emergency braking, because the engine takes time to reduce revs naturally and ends up pushing the car if left engaged.

        Just FYI. I’m sure you’re clear with the physics. Just wanted to clarify for others.

    • BrentP
      August 5, 2015 at 9:34 am

      It depends of course on the thickness of the clutch disk etc. Like Eric said that’s early for a modern car but there’s a lot of wacky things going on these days and I’d wonder if they skimped on the clutch disc to get an extra 0.0001 mpg on the federal government test. Poke around the VW forums and see what sort of clutch life other people are getting. The dealer may be telling you the truth.

      Holding in the clutch pedal when slowing wears the throw out bearing, not the clutch disc. The clutch disc would not see any more wear and tear that way than any other methods because you aren’t adding cycles to the friction surface. Now if the throw bearing started screaming and they replaced the clutch while they were in there that might be due to the way you described your driving style, but I would still expect the TB to last 150K or so.

  92. Ryan
    July 19, 2015 at 3:21 pm

    An officer negligently kills a police dog. If you or I attempt to defend ourselves against a police dog, it’s labeled assault and resisting arrest. So what is the charge for killing a police dog, suspension with pay?

    I know, it was an accident, and the guy probably feels like he killed his own dog and I feel sorry for them both.

  93. Alex
    July 19, 2015 at 12:47 pm

    Hi Eric,

    I am considering buying a 3/4 or 1 ton truck, but Consumer Reports does not have any data for these models. They do, however, have ratings for the 1/2 trucks.

    Would you recommend applying the data for the 1/2 ton models to the 3/4 and 1 ton models?

    Also, any advice on selecting such a truck would be appreciated.

    Thank you.

    • eric
      July 19, 2015 at 5:22 pm

      Hi Alex,

      Typically, 2500 and 3500 versions of a given truck series have significant differences (such as heavier duty frames and suspensions) as well as different engine lineups.

      The 2500 and 3500 (especially) series also get less media coverage; the press fleets tend not to have them – and so most of us (guys like me) tend not to get them as often as we do the 1500s.

      But herewith some general opinions based on my experience with the various brands:

      GM makes very good engines and transmissions – and the Allison transmissions in some of the heavy-duty trucks have a good rep.

      Chrysler generally makes good V8s, but their transmissions seem to be less rugged and (anecdotal) the bodies seem more prone to rust.

      The Fords (2500 and 3500) still have steel bodies – and do not use the “EcoBoost” V6s. There are two big V8s. One gas, one diesel. I’ve heard good things about both.

      Basically, the choice at this level is more about your personal likes (and dislikes) rather than a choice between radically different trucks (e.g., steel-bodied vs. aluminum and traditional V8 vs. micro-sized twin-turbo V6).

  94. richb
    July 8, 2015 at 9:04 pm

    Just made a comment, but it seems to be in the spam folder for some reason.

  95. JoeMama
    July 7, 2015 at 8:05 am

    We’ll Save You… Or Else!
    DUMB AS GET YOUR FACTS STRAIGHT BEFORE PREACHING BULLSHIT! The Highway patrol did not just open fire. People like you are why a cops job is 10 times harder today than ever before!Clover

    • eric
      July 7, 2015 at 8:37 am


      The facts?

      The facts are that the two men were just trying to get their truck out of the water when the “heroes” interrupted them, confronted them, ordered them to “comply.”

      If the “heroes” had offered advice, but left them alone, there would have been no shooting.


      A cop’s “job” – in a free society – ought to be keeping the peace, keeping people from harming other people. Not enforcing “the law” – and using guns to keep people from doing things you may not like or agree with.

  96. Chris Condon
    June 17, 2015 at 11:23 am

    I am driving a 2005 Buick Lesabre. It has 266,000 miles. It drives great, better than when I bought it. The engine is fabulous and can go another 100,000 miles. The transmission was rebuilt at 120,000 miles. The body is in great shape with just a few minor scratches and the interior is clean and well-maintained. Unfortunately, it seems to have been rather expensive to maintain. Over the last 4 years, I have been spending an average of $4,000 a year on maintenance. Is this excessive? Is it time to trade the car? Of course, I have replaced a lot of things so the car could still have some life left in it. Please comment.

    • eric
      June 17, 2015 at 12:57 pm

      Hi Chris,

      Well, a couple of thoughts:

      * You have a paid for car. That means you’re not laying out cash for monthly payments. However, given that the car is old and has high miles, you might want to put some money aside (in savings) for “just in case.”

      * Something “big” could happen at any time, given the mileage and age. If, for example, the transmission needs to be rebuilt you may be looking at a $2,000 repair bill – and (here’s the part that gives one pause) the car will not be worth $2,000 more once the repair is done. You’ve just put $2k into a car that’s worth (just for the sake of discussion) $5k. What happens – how will you feel – if it needs another $2k repair six months later?

      $4,000 a year in maintenance seems pretty high to me.

      No, really high.

      That’s about $340 a month – which is a new car payment, easily.

      What have you been spending $4k a year on?

      • BrentP
        June 18, 2015 at 12:02 am

        $340 a month is one ordinary repair a month done at shop. It seems nothing is less than $300 these days. DITY this would be averaging probably $50/month.

        • eric
          June 18, 2015 at 5:41 am

          Yeah, I guess.

          It’s nuts. No wonder people are turning off to cars! :)

          • BrentP
            June 18, 2015 at 12:07 pm

            My ’00 Mazda needs an intake manifold gasket. Part is $6. I’m sure at shop this is at least a $300 if not a $500 job on book time.

            • eric
              June 18, 2015 at 12:22 pm

              What a racket!

              I should open a shop….

  97. June 15, 2015 at 12:40 pm


    Hi Mr. Peters,

    Didn’t know if you might have a minute to read and comment on my article. It was spurred on by someone worse than a Clover: a liar. My father and brother were in an non-life-threatening accident, but damage was done (by a flying tire which damaged two trucks and a house!) and the party responsible including a police officer wanted to brush the whole thing off (another officer did her job and documented everything ignoring the lackadaisical attitude of the other officer). I wonder why? Maybe, because the guy was a liar in saying that he had insurance. He had the paper to prove it, right? Oh, sure it all looks good on the surface! Yet again, it was just a piece of paper, eh. Now what? Pursuance in court? Oh, yes, it will happen, but time and money gone. And here is the rest of the story (rant?):

    Thank you so much! I love what you have to say!

    J.C. Merak, nom de plume

  98. W. B. Hickok
    June 6, 2015 at 6:19 pm

    After reading your recent article about classic bikes I can’t help but think about Royal Enfield’s Bullet 500 C5 Classic. Yes it has a modern injection system but overall there’s not much to dislike. A circa 1955 bike made anew in one of India’s modern factories – at least that’s what I have read. The bike is now produced with current day tolerances and quality (no more oil leaks) but maintains the beautiful, clean lines of the minimalist 50’s. Throw it in the bushes?

  99. DonDon
    May 23, 2015 at 12:50 pm

    TO ERIC —–

    RE the Takata airbag recall: Now I read that the gov’t is forcing Takata to recall 34 million airbags.

    Do you have any inside information on what this is really about? Did Takata piss-off some Washington bureaucrat and the ‘crat is taking vengeance?

    Or did Takata really make and sell 34 million airbags before anybody discovered a problem? Seems unrealistic.

    Just asking.

    • eric
      May 23, 2015 at 4:44 pm

      Rant in progress, Don!

    • BrentP
      May 23, 2015 at 6:31 pm

      I mentioned this the other day. In another forum I was in ‘debate’ with a clover who claimed an ‘airbag saved her life’ who was actually more dense than our Clover. She was reduced to blathering insults at me when I decided it wasn’t fun anymore.

      My point was simple, from a statistical standpoint the batches of Takata airbags with the defect will save more people than they will kill. That the defect in Takata airbags have killed and injured far fewer people than the government’s unbelted 50th percentile male standard. The failure rate for these Takata airbags has been revised upward to 2.6% (or so, from memory). And even with that 2.6% only some people are injured where most recover fully and fewer yet are killed. From a government math standpoint, if this design of Takata airbag were vaccine government would approve it and probably mandate it. It would be safe and effective.

      The recall math is also suspect. The federal government calculates it automotive mandates by the value (in dollars since we are considered livestock) of the lives saved vs. the dollars the mandate will cost. With the same math the Takata airbag recall probably wouldn’t pass.

      Takata is a corporation so there is outrage at how they made a decision not to recall the airbags before the failure rate was revised upwards, but there is never outrage at the government who simply decided intentionally to sacrifice people’s lives with its chosen standard and to not even warn people of what had been known since the 1970s. Conditioning at its finest.

  100. jinaj
    May 12, 2015 at 8:43 am

    Hey there,
    Austin Rare Coins banner link goes to 404 page at website in both Opera and Firefox 05.12.15. When I do buy, though, I’ll tell them I got to them through you.

    • eric
      May 12, 2015 at 1:33 pm

      Thanks for the heads up on this… I am looking into it now!

    • eric
      May 11, 2015 at 2:51 pm

      Hi Bobber,

      My response: If you drive mostly short distance/stop-and-go and if you do not have to drive in extremely cold or extremely hot conditions, then – maybe – an EV might cost you less overall to own/drive than an otherwise similar conventional car.

      Leaving aside cost to buy – which is very high – EVs perform poorly (much reduced range) when asked to operate at highway speeds for any length of time. This dramatically limits the car’s usefulness, irrespective of its cost to operate. Extremes of heat and cold also affect battery performance. If you run out of juice, you’re stuck for at least 45 minutes – and that assumes you have access to a “fast” charger. If it’s just ordinary household 115V, it’s hours.

      How much is it worth to you to be able to just go wherever, whenever – and not have to worry about being stuck by the side of the road after 50 miles of driving?

  101. Jean
    May 7, 2015 at 8:51 am

    Self-driving TRUCK is inbound:

    Thought you might be interested, and could do some knowledgable research that the rest of us may not be as capable of finding.

  102. Eric_G
    May 2, 2015 at 1:00 pm

    Essay about cop body cameras:

    Police body cameras are being pushed as a solution to all the police woes. They sound great on paper: Every interaction with the public will be recorded, in a manner that is court approved (IE tamper “resistant”), so if something gets out of hand the incident will be logged by the unblinking eye.

    Sounds great, right? Keep the cops accountable. Wrong! Accountable cops is the last thing any of us should want. I’ll explain: Those cameras are going to be recording everything that the cop does. If you knew everything you did at work was recorded, would you continue working the way you do today? Do you do everything in your job exactly the way your employer wants you to do it? Have you ever bent the rules to help resolve a problem for a customer?

    20 years ago, a truck driver filled out his logbook with a pen and signed off on it. Sometimes he might run a little over the mandatory 18 hours, if he was trying to get to a good restaurant, or maybe he overslept and needed to make up time, whatever. That log book might show a little slack, but I’m sure no one ever filled out the log saying they drove for 28 hours straight, even if they were verbally instructed to do it. Then Qualcomm introduced OmniTracs, which brought real-time satellite tracking and reporting to the trucking industry (look for a little white dome on roof of the cab). Now, every time the driver started the vehicle it was logged, along with every mile and every stop. No more paper logbook. I’m sure the industry got a real wakeup call when they started seeing the true logbooks. Ever wonder why you see trucks lined up at on-ramps and rest areas? Because the rule (law) says they have to stop, NOW. Ever try sleeping in a bed that’s tilted 10 degrees down hill? Wouldn’t it be nicer to drive an extra hour or so to the truck stop and have a hot meal and a shower before bed? The “unblinking eye” of the Qualcomm box doesn’t care about meals and showers, only that you’ve been driving for 18 hours.

    When police cameras are recording, mangers will have a powerful tool for evaluating the beat cop. The cop will be second guessed on just about everything they do. Let’s say he pulls over someone for speeding. He smells beer and so has him blow a breathalyzer test. He reads just over .08, but he’s only a few blocks from home, and out with the wife and kids (heck, let’s say it’s his birthday -which the cop would know from checking his license). So he decides to cut him some slack and give him a warning for the speeding. No harm, no foul. I’m sure (despite what we are led to believe by the Internet and the media) it happens thousands of times a day, at least outside the cities.

    Now add a camera. 0.08 is over the legal limit for alcohol. It’s not a grey area: 0.07 is ok to drive. 0.08 is over the limit. The speed limit is 65MPH. The radar showed the vehicle traveling at 70MPH. Maybe his immediate supervisor reviewing his body camera footage will cut him some slack, but if it happens too many times, someone somewhere is going to want to know why it continues. When push comes to shove, the supervisor will stop defending his beat cop and side with management, because that’s what supervisors do (I know, I used to be one). That beat cop will hand out tickets for everything, without regard to human frailty or exception. That’s for the judge to decide, right? And God help him if the cop is on camera doing something he shouldn’t because he’s trying to help out. That’s right out the door. Let them bleed out while waiting for a “qualified” medic to show up.

    For what it’s worth, I’m not especially enamored with citizens recording police either, at least if they have to inform the cop they are recording. You go ahead and record your interactions with the police, but keep me out of it. Again, it’s the third party getting the opportunity to add their opinion. The only third party should be a judge (if it comes to that), not the public. Our legal system was built on the idea that a lot of officer discretion was not only desirable, but necessary. How many times did you do something that was illegal, but not intentional? Well, the law doesn’t say “…but only if he actually meant to do it,” it just says it’s wrong. Good police know that and will keep it in mind when dealing with people. This is why we laughed at Barney Fife and respected Andy Griffith. Once you take that power away from the front line cops, it’s all over.

  103. Silverwing Racer
    April 21, 2015 at 5:43 pm

    Hi there to you all. I am the proud owner of a lovely 1983 Honda GL650 Silverwing Interstate Limited addition that I have now owned for about 2years. My brother had it before me for about 8 years and used it regularly, he even came touring with me to the Swiss Alps with it. Befor my brother had it, his friend owned it from new and left it to my brother when he went to pastures new meaning that I know the full history of the bike. It has only done around 40K and when I was riding it to work a few weeks ago there was this horrible rattle that started all of a sudden inside the engine. I stopped immediately and found a thin layer of oil over the right hand side of the engine cover. I had the bike recovered to a friends garage who knows the bike inside out and once the took the engine apart they discovered that the Cam Chain Tensioner had exploded. For the last two weeks I have been looking for this part but to no avail. I spoke to Honda and they said that this part has been discontinued. I contacted David Sirver and they said that they have not come across this part for over 2 years. This bike has great sentimental value to me and I don’t want it off the road because of this part. I decided to go on forums and ask all you wonderful bikers if any of you have any idea where I can find this part. Any suggestion, tips, comments greatly appreciated. Many thanks in advance from the Silver”wing” racer

  104. April 20, 2015 at 7:47 pm

    Car makers citing copyright infringement to pressure third parties to stop working on cars.

  105. W. B. Hickok
    April 19, 2015 at 10:58 am

    Any chance of a Polaris Slingshot getting a EP review? Thanks for your great site.

    • eric
      April 19, 2015 at 11:09 am

      Hi WB,

      I don’t get their stuff routinely… but I’m hoping that will change!

    • April 19, 2015 at 1:11 pm

      W. B. Hickok,

      Polaris Slingshot is an interesting vehicle, but it is too costly (FRN $20000 IIRC) for what it is.

      At that price it is not as practical as a “regular” car and it costs much more than comparable motorcycles. It looks cool (I like it better than the can am), but I find its cost hard to justify.

  106. Alaister Crowley
    March 26, 2015 at 11:13 pm

    Didn’t you once write for this rag? Can’t tell if your articles are underlined.
    Please go to the link below and scroll for the text:

    “Underlined Passages from Sovereign Newspaper”

    “Boston Marathon bombing trial: witnesses and exhibit”s

    • eric
      March 27, 2015 at 5:23 am

      Hi Alaister,

      I think that paper reprinted some of my articles; not really sure as I just don’t have the time to keep up with it.

  107. Bob
    March 17, 2015 at 12:22 pm

    I cannot read with the stupid thing following me up & down on the Web page. I have to close it to relieve my aggravation.

  108. Johnm13
    March 12, 2015 at 11:56 am

    Hi Eric,
    I was sitting in DC traffic this morning and noticed that the car in front of me had moving parts in the exhaust system. I had never seen this before. It was a BMW X1 that had two tail pipes emanating from underneath the rear bumper. One of the tailpipes had a gate valve that would open and close as we meandered down 295 at a about 10 MPH.. I assume that this is something to increase the performance of the engine or emissions but, it can’t be good if they back up over a curb or something and damage the tailpipe. What is it and what is it doing other than driving the cost of the vehicle up?

  109. Rich
    March 4, 2015 at 3:44 pm

    Some Motor Homes come with a ford V10 motor. Many articles tell scary tales of the spark plugs blowing out form the cylinder head. They state that the treads on the aluminum heads are only 4 threads deep. After market kits are available to fix the problem, re- threading the heads and inserting new plugs. Ford has taken remedies to fix this problem in later models. Can you tell me if this is an overstated problem and when the fix was made by Ford. Many RV dealers charge less for units with the Ford V-10 compared to the Chevy units with Allison transmissions. If you were to purchase a used RV would this be a deal killer for you? thanks, Rich

    • eric
      March 4, 2015 at 4:02 pm

      Hi Rich,

      I hadn’t heard about that, but I have a good friend who is a master mechanic/owns his own shop. I will ask him and see if he knows anything about this.

    • BrentP
      March 4, 2015 at 4:26 pm

      On many mod motors made before about 2002 (maybe later, that’s from memory) the spark plugs were only partially threaded. This makes them very sensitive to torque on installation. If the factory shop manual is followed to the letter the chance of problems is low. However if someone were to torque spark plugs by feel as if they were in an iron head… they can very well end up blowing out.

      There is a fix with an insert which I’ve done on 7 of 8 cylinders on car (not mine) that works. Done with care it can be done without removing the head. It uses a special tap that grabs the remaining threads and pulls it through tapping the hole for the OD threads of the steel insert. There are many designs on the market, some require head removal, some don’t. The strongest ones require the head to be removed. These are thick walled aluminum inserts. The holes must be drilled out significantly larger, tapped, the inserts installed. That’s usually for boosted applications. The weakest is the kit I used, but it’s advantage is that the heads don’t have to come off and it removes the least material. Fine for low stress stock engines.

      Anyway if plugs haven’t been touched by a ham-fisted mechanic or a do it yourselfer who didn’t know about the sensitivity there isn’t much concern IMO. Especially if there is access to fix it should on the off chance it should happen.

  110. Orlando
    March 1, 2015 at 3:39 am

    Hey Eric,

    I’m looking for a low-milage used car that’s a great value. Something less than 2-3 years old still under some sort of warranty, and preferably under 12k miles. I’d also like to keep it under $35k, but under $25k is far more ideal.

    I’m flexible on body styles (coupe, sedan, SUV, or convertible), but I prioritize comfort – I’m 6’5″ with a spinal condition living in forever-traffic-congested Los Angeles, so legroom/headroom and a good leather seat is key. I don’t need to race, but I don’t want anything that’s sluggish whatsoever. It also has to be easy on the eyes (so no squares on wheels like the Kia Soul, Nissan Cube, Ford Flex, or Scion xB, etc.).

    But, again, value and comfort are highest priority.

    In a dream world where I didn’t have to pay for other expensive things in LA, I’d go for that impressive 2015 Mustang EcoBoost (though I haven’t tried it out to see how I fit in the seat) or, even better, something like a low-milage 2012 MB CL550 with an extended warranty. I recently had to rent a 2013 Nissan Maxima (I used to own a 1990 Maxima, which I loved before it was totaled by a clover) and it was both roomy and surprisingly zippy, but pretty pedestrian in the interior and not exactly a head-turner. Low-mileage 2013 Ford Edge, Hyundai Santa Fe Sport, and Dodge Durango all seem like great options to my untrained eye. My wife thinks I should go for the Nissan Murano Cross Cabriolet to get near-SUV size with convertible thrill. The Hyundai Genesis is not bad but I keep thinking that if I’m going to just get a Hyundai why not just save real money and get a slightly used Sonata with all the fixings (or the aforementioned Santa Fe Sport)?

    I know this is pretty broad and I’ve thrown a lot of Models at you, but I’ve been marinating on this for months now and figured I’d go to my most trusted LRC-contributing source.


    • eric
      March 1, 2015 at 6:15 am

      Hi Orlando,

      At 6 feet 5, your options are fewer because you’re in a percentile the car companies pretty much do not design for. Headroom is going to be an issue in many cars (and will be compounded by your spinal problem, which no doubt makes it hard/uncomfortable/perhaps impossible to duck down to get in and again to get out). I agree with your wife that some sort of sporty mid-sized crossover would be a good place to start. You’ll get more headroom – and step-in height, which will make life easier on you.

      The Murano is a good choice; as you probably know, it shares DNA with the Maxima (which you’ve indicated you like). The cross-cab has been discontinued because it did not sell well. New, it was very expensive. But you may be able to find one that fits your budget due to depreciation. There’s really nothing “wrong” with it – other than it being unpopular and (apparently) having some cowl shake. Or, shop a standard Murano.

      I like the BMW X3 (especially with the turbo 3 liter six). The VW Tiguan is another, similar type of smallish but sporty (and roomy) crossover with good headroom and easy access. But the Hyundai may be the better choice, budget-wise.

      Now, how about a wild card?

      Fiat 500 Abarth.

      Great headroom – and 30-plus pounds of boost fed into a hair-drier four. This car is all kinds of fun, not terrible on gas and fairly cheap, brand-new.

      • Orlando
        March 1, 2015 at 11:16 pm

        Thanks for the feedback, Eric.

        Uh… yeah. That Fiat really is a wild card. Not sure I can wrap my head around that one.

        A friend of mine has a brother with a Ford Edge and he loves it. Thoughts? There’s a 2013 with all the trimmings and under 6k miles near me and they’re asking $26k.

        Thanks, again!

        • eric
          March 2, 2015 at 6:01 am

          Happy to, Orlando!

          PS: I’m headed to AZ next week to test drive the ’16 Edge… expect a report here soon!

  111. Don
    February 26, 2015 at 10:36 am

    Eric, I really enjoy your articles but I was sadded to see my model of Prius taken out by a 50 calaber. What does Prius have to do with Tesla? Tesla is a government subsided toy for the rich while the Prius has the lowest operating cost of any vehicle. My car has been great, 14 years old with 131,000 miles. The only repair has been to replace the helper and main batteries. This is by far the best car I have owned. ( I’ve owned a 93 Camry and 88 toyota pickup with both went over 200,000 miles).

    As I tell people I can’t afford to own an American car.

    • February 26, 2015 at 12:59 pm


      Perhaps the machine gun fire is a bit harsh. (I did think it was funny)
      About how much did the batteries cost to replace?

      A Prius makes (much) more economic sense than a Tesla. Depending on the type and amount of driving one does, a Prius may even make economic sense against similarly sized conventional cars.

      While fuel costs is not the only cost to consider in choosing a car, it does make a big factor for me. The premium cost of a hybrid (over a similar non-hybrid) is also a factor for me when choosing a car to buy.

      The (BEP) break even point (number of miles to drive the Hybrid to recover the upfront costs) can take many thousands of miles depending on cost of vehicle, cost of fuel, and the difference in fuel economy.

      BEP = ({cost premium of hybrid} / [{ hybrid cost per gallon / mpg} – {non-hybrid cost per gallon / mpg}])

      Fuel cost $2.50/gallon
      hybrid costs $24,000 with combined mpg = 45
      non-hybrid $17,000 with combined mpg = 30

      The BEP is over 250,000 miles. $7,000 can buy quite a bit of fuel.

      One can change the numbers to suit their situation.

      Just for fun:
      A Tesla S (base version 60kWh battery) costs ~$66,000 {including $7500 give back from Uncle}
      If I assume $5/gallon and Tesla gets 2,000mpg, it would take just under 300,000 miles to reach the break even point compared to the $17,000 car @ 30mpg.

      While one might be able to make a case for a Prius, I can not make an economic case for the Tesla.

  112. David
    February 25, 2015 at 3:15 pm

    Your website is hard to read.
    The slide-show ad at the top of the page goes through slides of different vertical dimensions.
    Every time a short graphic is replaced with a taller one, the rest of the page drops down a bit. Then a shorter graphic replaces the taller one and all the text below jumps back up again.

    • eric
      February 25, 2015 at 3:49 pm

      Hi David,

      Sorry about that – but here’s the bottom line: I am doing everything myself. I no longer have technical support/help (because I can’t afford to pay for it). Hence, I’m doing the best I can with what I’ve got. Hopefully, someday, things will get better.

  113. Brent
    February 25, 2015 at 3:07 pm

    Having listened to your recent chat with Tom Woods, the topic of cheap fuel efficient cars came up and the difficulty of having them available here. I’ve had an interest in Elio Motors and the “car” they are developing (3 wheeled enclosed with car safety expectations). Have you taken a look at this development? It seems to be a commercial venture that you would be interested in. I’m not too fond about them seeking federal loans in the startup, but it’s hard to get all that you want.

    • eric
      February 25, 2015 at 3:53 pm

      Hi Brent,

      I’ve been following Elio and my understanding is they’re still at the prototype stage. I hope they succeed because it would set a precedent; show that it can be done – and that people are interested in such cars.

    • February 25, 2015 at 4:14 pm


      IIRC, the elio’s production date has been pushed back into 2016. Hopefully they will be successful in delivering a fuel efficient, inexpensive vehicle.

      A sub $8,000 vehicle with 49cty/84hwy mpg is impressive. I can not wait to test drive one.

  114. Luke Ball
    February 23, 2015 at 6:28 pm

    Hi Eric, good stuff as always. Tough to strike a balance between “motorheads” and “it’s just transportation” types. On the part about “free” inspections, I was wondering if it would be worth including a “new car” exception? Many new cars and dealerships include a first 2 years “free inspection” and free oil/filter change. Easy to miss if you prefer to have your maintenance done outside of the (usually much higher priced) dealership. Getting the oil/filter done at the dealership, along with them documenting the maintenance in their computer, with anything wrong usually still under warranty, negates the financial incentive to discover anything wrong, and much easier than keeping the jiffy lube receipts, at least until this coverage runs out.

  115. Tim Foote
    February 18, 2015 at 12:53 pm

    I need every bit of the 500hp my built Evo 8 has to pass the slow peds on the way home. Anything less and I have to follow along at 20-40mph and traverse the 21 mile distance in 45 minutes to 1 hour. There should be a special license plate designation for “skilled drivers” to drive in the left hand lane e.g.”SD”. They could time you on a pylon course and have someone drive with you to insure you can safely change lanes (unlike the masses who simply have no skills to change lanes or drive anywhere near the speed limit). The state could rake in more revenues and reduce the need for adding more lanes due to reduced congestion.

    • eric
      February 18, 2015 at 2:50 pm

      Hi Tim,

      I hear you.

      Still, one of the few blessings (inadvertent) of Dancing with Clovers is they’re slow-witted and slow-reacting. Easy – usually – to get the drop on ’em. The key thing is to not give them any advance notice of your intentions, much less that you’re annoyed by them.

      Just wait for your moment – and then seize it.

  116. McSack
    February 16, 2015 at 1:34 pm

    Hi Eric,

    Saw this the other day and thought I would post it:

    Seems like appropriate material for a good US import regulations rant. :)

  117. Andrew C
    February 11, 2015 at 10:33 am

    Hello Eric,
    First of all I’d like to say that you seem to have an excellent website and knowledge base. Mucho respect.

    My Audi A4 2007 has started shaking right around 40 MPH and above. Really shaking. Making me uncomfortable to drive on the highway when usually she’s totally smooth. Only has 57,000 miles on it and I’ve taken good care of her. It’s been snowing like hell here. I read online that it might be snow in the tires. There was indeed a lot of snow around the tires. However, I think that I’ve gotten it all out. There still might be a little left. This only started happening 2 days ago. I’m trying to avoid a trip to the tire guy or my mechanic who I semi-trust.
    Any thoughts? Do you think I should just wait it out, hope for a warm day? Maybe do a super power car wash to get inside the tires?

    • eric
      February 11, 2015 at 11:31 am

      Hi Andrew,

      There are many possibilities, but here’s one that many people neglect to check: frozen water inside the tire. Here’s what happens: Condensation forms; usually, the resultant water spreads evenly due to the rotational forces exerted by motion, as you drive. So the tire remains balanced. But then you park it – and it sits overnight in the cold… and the water freezes. But not uniformly. Now you have an unbalanced tire!

      Of course, it could be out of balance for other reasons (one or more of the wheels/tires). You may also have an alignment/suspension issue. It’s basically a process of elimination; begin with the simplest/most likely and continue until the trouble is found. I’d recommend taking the car to a shop you trust and have them look it over.

  118. je
    February 4, 2015 at 8:04 pm

    Thanks for your response. I checked my owners manual and tried to look them up on Toyota’s website and drew a blank. This is a mystery to me. Maybe one of the readers will pick up on it.

    I am beginning to think that I am just getting gouged in an attempt for extra work.

  119. je
    February 4, 2015 at 4:23 pm

    Hello Eric,
    I recently had the oil changed on my 2012 Toyota Camry and while there I was ask if I wanted to have the following services:
    DSGN recomended service
    DSI recomended service
    DSE recomended service

    I have no idea what these services are nor can I find them in my owners manual or on the Toyota website. Can you enlighten me.

    • eric
      February 4, 2015 at 5:49 pm

      Hi Je,

      I checked Toyota’s online (PDF) manuals for your car and could not find the acronyms you mention, either.

      Do you have the little “service/maintenance” book that came with your car? If not, you can buy one at any Toyota dealer or just download the PDF. It will list recommended service according to mileage and time intervals. There were likely also be differing schedules for “normal” and “heavy duty” or “severe” driving.

      I’m going to look around some more to see whether I can find anything about this DSGN and DSI/DSE stuff!

  120. Eric_G
    January 24, 2015 at 11:13 am

    If you want to know what the hive mind of Clover is thinking, this is a good start. I didn’t go though all 5 pages of comments, but you’ll notice most of the upvoted comments are strongly in favor of installing yet another expensive, mandatory and unnecessary accessory for saaaaaaafety.

    I don’t know the demographic makeup of your average Ars Technica reader, but I imagine they’re mostly young kids in college or in their 20s, living in the city and therefore seeing cars as a problem not a solution.

    I’m sure at least one (down voted) commenter points out that rear end collisions only increased after the introduction of red light cameras. This is a classic example of government pile-on:

    1. Create an artificial crisis (people ignoring red lights).
    2. Take an overly-agressive stance with no reasonable appeals process
    3. When the result of the corrective action has an undesirable effect, attempt to correct that undesirable effect.

    Meanwhile if you really just want to stop people from running red lights, just increase the yellow and eliminate the delay where everyone in the intersection has a red light. The reason people began running red lights in the first place was because they knew they could, since there was a 5-10 second delay added when everyone has a red.

  121. je
    January 16, 2015 at 4:07 pm

    I have a 1989 Chev Cavalier Z 24 convertible 3.2 liter V6. I have a miss in the engine. It is almost like a lope when you have a hot rod cam. This seems to be a common problem with the 3.2 liter V6 engines that I have owned. I am injector poor from replacing injectors so I hope there other lines of thinking here.
    One thing I have noticed is that when setting at a traffic light with the turn signal on it is as though there is a grounding problem.
    any ideas?

    • eric
      January 16, 2015 at 4:28 pm

      Hi Je,

      A miss can be caused by many things, as you probably know. Systematic, step-by-step elimination of the possibles will leave you with the actual(s)…

      I’d begin with the ignition system as misses can be caused by several things, most of them easy to check. I’d begin with a check of each spark plug, then each plug wire, then the distributor cap/terminals.

  122. Doug
    January 7, 2015 at 8:53 pm

    Eric: Were you aware your widget does not automatically rebuild stories in it? Home page, rolling widget with stories at top, Firefox 34.0.5, the top story is the ISA story. If you drill down to another story, that story disappears…if you use the back button all the way to the start, it reappears….Odd. Thought I would give you the heads up.


  123. Dennis
    January 5, 2015 at 9:38 pm

    Please describe an effective strategy, if it exists, for taking 1997 – 2001 Honda or Toyota and refitting it to make it last another 20 years (into 2035) if possible. What would you replace upfront, if anything? Engine? Transmission? Suspension system? Brake lines? More? What would you wait to replace if it was currently working well? And would the cost of a refit be worth it, and less costly than buying a new 2015 or 2016 car?

    • eric
      January 6, 2015 at 6:29 am

      Hi Dennis,

      I’d only replace parts that need to be replaced, as they wear out!

      The Catch 22 with modern cars (which includes the 1997-2001 Honda/Toyota you mention) is that their engines and transmissions will often last an incredibly long time (15-20 years) accrue what appears to be impossibly high miles (200,000-plus) and yet show little evidence of significant wear.

      But – as I wrote about recently – the body may have significant structural rust by then, such that it’s no longer economically feasible to repair it and no longer safe to drive the vehicle.

      And, the electronics (especially those related to the fuel delivery and emissions control system) will often start to eat you up with ever-more-frequent “small things.”

      So, what to do?

      One, you could simply buy that circa 1997-2001 car and drive it for as long as it remains reliable, which might be a very long time indeed. Especially if you start with a relatively low miles example (under 60,000k) that’s been well-treated and which is known to be particularly long-lived. The Toyota Corolla from the mid-late ’90s/early 2000s is a great example. Those cars will run almost forever – and if you bought one for say $7,500 (used) and drove it for 10 years say, then sold it for $3,000 or so, your ownership costs would be close to nil.

      Now, do the same thing again (and so on).

      Or, two, you you could buy a newer (or even a new) car and do the same basic thing – and for longer (15-20 years) although of course this means accepting a lot of the “big brother” technology you and I would rather avoid – so probably scratch that.

      Three, buy a car from the ’70s or early-mid ’80s… ideally a pre-computer car; or at least, a car with a simple computer and without the over-the-top stuff you and I would rather avoid (such as half a dozen air bags, back-up cameras, etc.)

      If the car has a simple fuel injection system (TBI) and an overdrive transmission, it will perform very much like a current car in terms of easy starting, good road manners, decent gas mileage. But it will also be easier (and less expensive) to maintain and repair, simply because it’s simpler. There’s less to go wrong – and what might go wrong is (usually) less involved.

      For example, it’s cost-effective to rebuild (or replace) the entire drivetrain (engine and transmission) in such a car because the engine/transmission in such a car is typically much less expensive to rebuild, in part because it is simpler and festooned with fewer electronics.

      Case in point: My old muscle car’s V-8 can be removed with basic hand tools in about an hour; it can be rebuilt from oil pan to air cleaner for about $3,000. The transmission can be rebuilt for about $1,500.

      I’ve retrofitted this car with a modern (overdrive) transmission, and it drives surprisingly like a “modern” car as a result, despite being 40 years old. If I were to replace the carburetor with a simple throttle body injection system (TBI) its operating characteristics would be even more “modern,” such that you’d be hard-pressed to tell – from driving it – that you were driving a 40-year-old car. (Well, ok, I’d probably need to upgrade the brakes; but that’s also very doable – and without requiring ABS.)

      But it wouldn’t (and doesn’t) have a computer, no black box, no air bags, no over-the-top “safety” systems and can be kept up by almost anyone with basic mechanical aptitude.

  124. Justin Quinn
    January 5, 2015 at 2:20 pm

    1986 Pontiac 6000, ~140,000 miles

    car wont start unless I unplug a chip on top of the carburetor, but won’t rev down even after warm-up. Need to pass NJ inspection.
    Don’t know 2 bits bout adjusting, or if problem is too expensive to fix

    Also been told hose work is all jacked and needs replacing and re-doing
    Cant tell u how many mechanics ive been to and they tell me different shit
    just dropped $300 on cv axil bc I dont have a garage and on a time limit, but no funds for new car.

    Give it to me strait, doc.

    Throw it in the woods?

    • eric
      January 5, 2015 at 2:29 pm

      Hi Justin,

      It’s very hard to accurately diagnose a car issue from a remote location, without actually laying hands on the thing – but first things first:

      Is the engine basically sound? You can check the “majors” by doing a vacuum check/compression check. If all cylinders have good compression (within spec.) and the valve seals are ok, no issues with the big stuff, I’d try to fix this thing.

      Are you sure it’s a carburetor you’re dealing with – and not a throttle body?

      If I had to bet, I’d bet it’s a TBI – and that is probably your main issue (assuming the engine itself is ok).

      I’m gonna do some research and post more… hang in there!

    • eric
      January 5, 2015 at 2:45 pm

      Hi again, Justin….

      Ok, I did some checking; do you know whether your car has the four cylinder or V-6? Here’s what was available:

      Years Engine Power Notes
      1982–1991 2.5 L (151 cu in) LR8 TBI “Tech IV” I4 90 hp (67 kW)
      1982–1986 2.8 L (173 cu in) LE2 2-barrel V6 112 hp (84 kW)
      1982–1985 4.3 L (263 cu in) LT7 diesel V6 85 hp (63 kW)
      1983–1984 2.8 L (173 cu in) LH7 2-barrel V6 135 hp (101 kW) STE
      1985–1986 2.8 L (173 cu in) L44 MFI V6 140 hp (104 kW) STE
      1987–1989 2.8 L (173 cu in) LB6 MFI V6 130 hp (97 kW)
      1988–1989 3.1 L (191 cu in) LH0 MFI V6 135 hp (101 kW) STE AWD
      1990–1991 3.1 L (191 cu in) LH0 MFI V6 140 hp (104 kW)

    • eric
      January 5, 2015 at 2:47 pm

      Some more: Your problem sounds like a choke (or cold start enrichment circuit) issue… I think it’s fixable… and (hopefully) not an expensive fix!

      • Justin Quinn
        January 5, 2015 at 3:02 pm


        6 cylinder. CarB and not FI, less I’m blind +every mechanic ever has lied to me.

        If I reply to the email w/ pics, would u get them?

        • Justin Quinn
          January 5, 2015 at 3:03 pm

          Definitely 86, so probably

          1985–1986 2.8 L (173 cu in) L44 MFI V6 140 hp (104 kW) STE

        • eric
          January 5, 2015 at 3:16 pm

          Hi Justin,

          Ok, I think we’ve narrowed it down; I think you’ve got the 2.8 V-6. If it has fuel injection, it’ll look like this:

          If it doesn’t look like that, then you have the carb (2 BBL, according to my references).

          Base on your description, it sounds like a choke-related problem. If you could get the engine running and warmed up, it would help to diagnose. If the problem disappears once the engine is warm, it is almost certainly the choke; it’s stuck open or sticky or not adjusted correctly.

          Some simple things to try first:

          Replace the fuel filter (if you have the carb, this is very simple; GM typically placed them in the front of the carb, where the fuel line threads into the carburetor body. Use box wrenches to unscrew the fitting; the filter should be inside).

          Clean the carburetor. This can be done (decently) without removing it. Go buy two cans of aerosol carb cleaner and thoroughly spray the exterior of the carb, including all throttle linkages (rotate them as you spray). Use the plastic spray nozzle thing to clean off the venturis – the “o” looking things you see when you look down the carb’s throat; should be two of them – as well as the choke plate above them, on the very top of the carb.

          If you have an electric choke (I’m betting you do) check the connections; make sure they’re ok.

          • BrentP
            January 5, 2015 at 3:26 pm

            He mentioned a hose issue, if air is leaking in somewhere that could also cause high idle. It would help to know exactly what he is disconnecting to get the car to start. GM used computer controls on carbs so he may be sending something into limp-home mode.

            • eric
              January 5, 2015 at 3:38 pm

              You may have a “coolant temperature” hose that diverts warm water to a sensor (when the engines reaches normal operating temp) which in turn signals the choke to turn off. Definitely something to check!

              • Justin Quinn
                January 5, 2015 at 3:45 pm

                Sorry, when I said “a bit” I meant 5 seconds. Engine is definitely to @ opt temp when shuts off.

                Currently warming up. After I’ll plug it back in and see if it restarts.

                Btw, with cold start, valves didn’t seem to move between off and starting up, plugged or unplugged, but hard since only me to watch. Have to start then quickly run to check.

                Left valve always slightly open, right valve always closed

                • eric
                  January 5, 2015 at 7:13 pm

                  Hi Justin,

                  I just got back… and had a thought. Hopefully, a good one. I would be willing to bet that you have a clogged pilot jet. This is a very common problem with carbureted engines fed ethanol-laced gas, which turns to goo (as it chemically disintegrates plastic and rubber inside the carburetor) and this crap readily blocks the very narrow diameter passages in carburetors, especially pilot jets. The pilot jet is critical to cold start (and idle) performance; it feeds the engine fuel before the main jets come online (via engine vacuum signal).

                  Assuming you have checked the choke and it is definitely working properly and assuming adequate fuel flow (no issue with either the fuel pump or the filter) and assuming the engine itself is in basically good condition, I would hone in on the carb – and the likely need to clean that beast. This will, unfortunately require disassembly. It’s not horrendously difficult, but it does take patience, some knowledge and the right tools. Your mechanics may not be comfortable working on carbs. I recommend finding someone who is.

                  It’s too bad you’re not down the road from me. I’d seriously invite you over, pull the damned thing and have it back together for you by the morning!

          • Justin Quinn
            January 5, 2015 at 3:27 pm

            Definitely a CarB.

            More specifically

            Cold Start:
            A. Chip plugged in-starts after a bit, but shuts down immediately.
            B. Chip unplugged-Starts after a bit and stays running high. Doesn’t rev down

            Every mechanic has “adjusted” the crap out of it, so I’m hoping that’s the problem I need to pin down.

            I’ll do all the above and report back.

            • Justin Quinn
              January 5, 2015 at 3:56 pm

              Let run to get good n hot for 15min, then shut off.
              Plugged back in. Started. Ran for ~3 min. Hit the gas once and it shut down again. Couldn’t restart.

  125. Brent Bielema
    January 1, 2015 at 9:06 pm

    I was just wondering what would happen if ALL insurance was converted to a savings-account-based system, like the medical / health savings accounts. This way the contributors (the insured) would accumulate assets instead of having a massive (often coerced) transfer to the big insurance companies (which makes them less responsive / accountable). Perhaps a new company could pioneer this idea and see how long the established firms would endure, before getting the government to go after the new upstart! Thanks for posting this.

    • eric
      January 2, 2015 at 9:36 am

      Hi Brent,

      This is a not-bad idea. At least, much better than having our money simply taken from us, never to be seen again.

      I once added up the insurance extortion I’ve been forced to pay on my multiple vehicles over the past 20 years. It amounted to thousands of dollars, enough to buy a museum-quality H2 750 (I’ve had a chubby for one for years) or have my old muscle car properly repainted.

      Instead, it all went down the bottomless gullet of the insurance mafia….

  126. Chris Condon
    December 30, 2014 at 10:34 am

    I am currently driving a 2005 Buick LeSabre. It still drives well but I am having discomfort which could be the result of the fact that I have very long legs and the seats in the Buick are rather low. When I buy another car, I don’t want to stumble into this trap again, so I want to buy a car with somewhat higher seats so that I will be more comfortable. Can anyone recommend a brand that would fit this description? I would prefer a sedan to an SUV.

  127. iamawild1
    December 26, 2014 at 9:24 pm

    With all the hype about the new Dodge Hellcat, 392’s, R/T’s, etc. lately, I’m interested in knowing if you would like something different – information on the famous “Hemi Tick” issue. Our group could really use some help. We’ve all spent in excess of 40 grand each on our cars and Dodge just keeps pushing out the same product over and over without addressing issues that have been going on for years. Can anyone help us? How about an article about us little guys here that Dodge/Chrysler is refusing to acknowledge?

    Myself and approximately 60 others on a popular forum have been having some interesting discussions about the Hemi Tick. From what we’re told by Dodge, this is a normal sound found on a lot of the hemi engines. Some of us are having issues with a different type of ticking. As with the hemi tick, it’s our understanding it can be heard with the hood up with the engine at idle. We are hearing something quite different, no ticking at idle but excessive ticking while driving, generally between 1500-1800 rpm’s and above. Here are two sound clips from my personal car while driving. One is with my electronic cutouts slightly open, the other with the cutout noise removed. (normal) (cutouts slightly open).

    Most of us have contacted Dodge Customer Care and Chrysler Customer Care and have all been shot down with the “it’s normal” line. Our dealers hands are tied since the automaker refuses to acknowledge there may be an additional problem and won’t further investigate the noises coming from our engines. If this was “normal” wouldn’t ALL the Hemi’s be doing it?

    A few of our group have had Star Case #S1309000013 Ticking Noise from Upper End of Engine completed by our dealer. “If the customer complaint is ticking/clatter noise from engine compartment during cold start or with engine at normal operating temperature and Star On Line Case #S1209000001, S13090000021 have been reviewed; proceed with the following inspection…” The repair procedure is listed and in general it states to remove tabs left on the lifters during assembly. (I’ve attached the Star Case). Unfortunately for most of us, this didn’t help at all with the tickatickaticka we hear inside our cars. Others have had their oil changed, from regular oil that the vehicle came with, to 0w40 Penzoil Full synthetic. Again, this was no help for the ticking problem. Some of our dealers even went further and replaced lifters, rods, short blocks, etc. to correct the problem, several had their engines replaced and one has had their car replaced. The service is intermittent among us, some getting good service and correcting the problem, others left by the wayside with the old “it’s normal”.

    I received an email from Chrysler Customer Care that stated “To review of our records indicates that the condition in question is a function of your vehicle’s design and is not a defect in materials, workmanship, manufacturing, or factory preparation. These are the only types of defects covered under the new vehicle limited warranties.” I just cannot accept the ticking as part of my vehicle’s design. Did they knowingly build a vehicle with a ticking noise? It sure sounds like they did from their email statement. My own dealer has refused to service my car if I bring it in with the ticking complaint again. I’ve even gone so far as to drive from New York to North Carolina to another dealer willing to take a look at my car. 1400 miles and no relief in site. It’s most embarrassing when a passenger notices the ticking, thinking our engines are low on oil. We’ve all written emails and called specific people at Chrysler. NOT ONE person has answered us or even attempted to address our issues.

    Now, if the factory rep and technicians didn’t think there was a problem, why did they do the work on the Star Case? Why did they authorize the change from regular to full synthetic oil? And if this is a known problem with HEMI engines, why aren’t they ALL doing it? Is Chrysler afraid of another recall after the timing chain problem? I think it would be interesting to dig deeper and find the answers to our questions.

    I am sincerely hoping you can help us here. We don’t have many options left other than the Lemon Law and/or a class action suit. We don’t want to do anything other than get our cars fixed. Myself, I ordered my 2014 Shaker exactly the way I wanted it and it is irreplaceable. It is a numbered car, signed by an employee at the Brampton Plant, and is my forever car.

    Thank you for taking the time to read my letter and if there is any additional information needed, please contact me at


    M. D.
    Email I received from Dodge:

    Dear M D,

    Thank you for contacting the Dodge Customer Assistance Center.

    I was sorry to learn of your dissatisfaction with your 2014 Dodge
    Challenger. I understand how this might cause you inconvenience or
    concern and appreciate the time and effort you took to bring this matter
    to my attention.

    To review of our records indicates that the condition in question is a
    function of your vehicle’s design and is not a defect in materials,
    workmanship, manufacturing, or factory preparation. These are the only
    types of defects covered under the new vehicle limited warranties.

    Because we rely on our authorized dealerships to determine when a
    warrantable defect exists, we must support the assessment of your
    dealer. However, seeking a second opinion from another authorized
    dealership may be a viable option.

    Thank you again for your email. Should you require additional
    assistance, or have any new information to provide, please reply to this
    email message or call 1-800-4A-DODGE (1-800-423-6343).



    Customer Service Representative
    Dodge Customer Assistance Center

    For any future communications related to this email, please refer to the
    following information:
    REFERENCE NUMBER: 25986153
    EMAIL CASE NUMBER: 3069524

    A few of us have even filed complaints:
    Your Confirmation Number (ODI Number) is: 10667169.
    Your Complaint will be available within 72 hours at
    1. Vehicle Information
    Vehicle Identification Number (VIN): EH231420
    Make / Model / Year: DODGE CHALLENGER 2014
    2. Incident Information
    Approximate Incident Date: 04/08/2014
    Vehicle mileage at time of incident: 1
    Vehicle speed at time of incident:35 (mph)
    Affected Parts: Engine, Power Train
    Fire: No
    Crash: No
    Injury or Fatality: No

    Tell us what happened:

    Brand new car delivered had a TICKING sound ONLY while driving at aprox 1800 RPM’s and above.. Complained to dealer and was told “normal” for new car until engine break-in. Weeks later Star Case S1309000013 performed on car to remove tabs left on lifters at engine assembly. Tabs removed, no relief from ticking. Chrysler Rep authorized dealer to change regular oil to SRT Penzoil 0w40 Full Synthetic with cost being billed to Chrysler for next 5 years. Ticking is still heard inside vehicle while driving. Dealer refuses to service car for “ticking” engine. I was told Dodge would not pay for their time to check the car. I took car out of state to another dealer who was not able to repair ticking per Dodge. This is NOT the HEMI Tick. Some customers are getting their cars repaired, others are being brushed off as “normal”. Some have had engines replaced and another has had his vehicle replaced. If this is “normal” why aren’t all 5.7 engines doing this? They’re not! It is extremely annoying to listen to the tickatickaticka constantly while driving. It is embarrassing to have passenger’s hear the ticking. I have gathered about 60 other Hemi 5.7 owners together all with the same problem. WHY won’t Chrysler/Dodge fix our cars? An email from Chrysler stated ” “To review of our records indicates that the condition in question is a function of your vehicle’s design and is not a defect in materials, workmanship, manufacturing, or factory preparation. These are the only types of defects covered under the new vehicle limited warranties.” What they are telling me is that they knew this problem existed and it’s a function of my vehicle’s design? There is NOTHING in any documents I have that state this car will tick as it does. I would not have purchased this vehicle if ticking was part of the car’s design. FIX IT CHRYSLER!!!!!
    One dealer replied to me:

    I road test a lot of cars and i validate every single performance car we build, I know what is normal and what isn’t, over 35 years of racing, engine building, race car building and general hot rodding, if I feel there is an issue, I’m like a bull dog with a fresh bone, you’ll never let me let go of it. However we need time, it will take time to access, diagnose, disassemble, parts ordering, etc,

    if there is an issue, and I’m assuming there is, anything can be fixed, or replaced, if your engine has an unusual noise, and cannot be pin pointed, a new short or long block can be installed. We have very, very few people at our door complaining, it is not a common problem, however we have seen camshaft and lifter issues. Be glad to help.

    A Dealership in North Carolina who IS making every attempt to fix their customer’s cars!!!

    North Carolina:
    there is a hemi tick that we will consider normal, all hemi’s have it and to some degree the volume or severity will vary dramatically between vehicles, it is predominantly worse or more noticeable when the vehicle is next to a building, ie: like going thru a drive thru…. you will not get rid of that tick………never, again the pitch or the volume will vary drastically, on some almost non existent

    we have seen lifter issues, in some case, one moment the vehicle sounds normal, the next sounds horrible, the common repair is to replace all the lifters since in most cases you cannot distinguish which lifter that’s making the noise….. in most cases, we inspect the lifters and cannot find anything physically wrong, but replacing them always seems to take care of the issue

    we have seen the roller seized or seizing up on some which causes damage to the cam lobe, we also have seen the plastic retainer broken……and the individual lifter turn sideways…..usually make a mess of the camshaft

    in some cases we were not able to verify the noise that comes and go, however we normally go to our field engineer and we get authorization to install lifters….not very common but we do see it, like i said earlier, in nearly all cases, replacing the lifters fixes the problem. to look at them, they normally look perfect, no damage, abnormal wear etc
    we have also seen the lifters cause MDS related issues, in rare cases, the lifter causes the MDS not to disengage….typically on a 5.7 police cars

    my suggestion is to have a field engineer drive the vehicle, if he feels its abnormal, and diagnostic and repairs do not correct the issue, then file for lemon law or seek replacement, a good service manager with a good district manager will get the vehicle replaced, msrp swap, trade assist, without much grief….

    we do it all the time when the customer is justified, did it recently with a new Wrangler with a transmission problem, 9k miles on the vehicle, my dm did a 5k trade assist and we moved the customer into a one year newer vehicle, we made no money on the deal to assist the customer, customer lost nothing and is in a brand new one year newer vehicle… when the issue or situation is justified, the good dealers assisted by a good dm, will resolve the issue

    ps good luck

    Ticking Cars From Our Forum Only:

    M D – EH231420 2014 R/T Shaker, 5.7 – 7500 miles, Youngstown, NY – ticking since first arrived, lifter tabs removed approx 500 miles, still ticking. Changed to full synthetic per Chrysler 11/14. Still ticking. Chrysler Customer Care said they will NOT provide any more service on my car for the “ticking”.

    C G – 2014 R/T Shaker Texas – Dealer told ticking noise was “normal” 5350 miles

    J Mc – 2015 R/T Plus TWO MILES on Odometer!! Tickatickatick

    B H – 2014 R/T, 5.7 – 6000 miles, Simi Valley, CA – ticking since received new.

    L M – Harlingen, TX – I’ve had the car for four days now, and I heard that ticking sound when they fired it up at the dealership. I thought it was normal for the Hemi, since I’ve never owned one before. My car has 200 miles on it now.. It still sounds the same with that ticking sound.

    K F– Milan, TN – tab removal done, still ticking, a few days after I purchased it there was a heavy ticking sewing machine noise that can be heard in the cab at over 2k. This has gotten worse plus the lifter noise started about 3000 mi. I have almost 8000 on it now. Dealership says normal. Burning oil smell in car. New lifters installed 11/19. No change – still ticking loud. it didn’t help mine a bit. Almost sounds like the pushrods are too short or bent causing a lot of slack thus causing the noise?????

    C T– 2013 R/T Classic 3600 miles – 11/9 got a call from CCC on Friday night. They opened “a new Star Case”, spoke to the dealership and they want me to bring my car back for them to look at, again. I’m going to call them tomorrow morning to set up an appointment. At least the service manager at my dealership heard the noise previously and admitted that it didn’t sound right. 11/12 had the tab removal done last week and it made the noise worse for me. I can hear it over the radio at 2,000rpm’s. 4th Challenger (’09, ’10, ’10 and ’13) and the other three never made this noise. Before Chrysler would do anything, I had to return my car to stock, even tho the mods I did made no difference with the ticking. Making me jump thru hoops to get warranty work done.
    Update 12/4/14
    Well, I picked my car up about two hours ago and it’s still making the same noise. I could hear it revving the engine up in the parking lot at the Dealership. This was after being told “It sounds much quieter now”. I had to leave because I had my kids with me and it probably would have gotten ugly. Plus, I had to get the kids home. I called the Dealership after I relaxed a little to let them know. I fired off an email to my Chrysler Rep when I got home. What really sucks is that I used to really love this car, now, I don’t even want to be in it. I also had to pay $478.13 for a rental from the Dealership (they had my car for 8 days). Chrysler said I will be reimbursed up to $35.00 a day. The cheapest rental was $45.00 a day. I can only imagine the hoops they’re going to make me jump through to get my money back…should be fun

    Kondo – Well, I had this Crazy ticking sound back in Sept. I took a friend to the KC airport driving from Des Moines Iowa. After I got back, it almost sounded like a belt was hitting my fan (Only the sound was metallic). I looked around for a fix only to find talk about changing my Oil to a different brand and oil weight. That didn’t sound to cool to me. My dealer didn’t know what the issue was at the time. I told the dealer I was thinking it was a lifter issue. One Week later, dealer tells me he thinks that is the issue. Then he showed me the lifters, they had flat spots on them. Two Weeks later parts came in and they put my ride back together. The sound was gone, but I could still hear a very low tick (Hemi Tick). I was fine with that small sound. It was just nice to have my car back. But before they did the work, they tried to make it look like it was my fault. Before they did the work they wanted to see a list of my oil changes, to see if I was up-to-date. I have only used Mobil 1 OW-40. After I gave them all my paperwork, they took their sweet little time fixing my car. This was on (2009 SRT). Just food for thought-New Lifters could fix the issue for some. Yes, had to put in a new cam also. The cam did not look all that bad, But New Stuff did the trick… At this time I have about 67,000 on the Car.

    Rupert – 2014 Shaker, Los Angeles, CA – Terrible engine sound, tick, tick, tick.. No help in sight from Dodge

    D Mc – 2014 Dodge Challenger R/T Plus, 6000 mi, EH293857, Thibodaux, Louisiana ticking crazy

    Z G – 2013 Dodge Challenger RT Plus, 30855, VIN EH524937, Avon, CT, I have verbally expressed my dislike and concern of the tick

    Fast RS – R/T Classic – California ticking, no cure in sight

    Whiter – NE Ohio – tab removal and still ticking! 800 miles on car.

    Rkpalm – 2014 Shaker, Texas – ticking, taken to dealer several times – no fix

    Therockknj – New Jersey – tab removal done, District Manager authorized a new engine to be put in and wasn’t done. 450 miles on car – preformed Star Case #S1309000013 – still ticking – New engine being delivered to dealer. New Engine 12/1/14.

    JC109 – 2011 392 – Same noise – they changed all my lifters and its still in the shop because it did not solve the problem. They are having to replace my shortblock.

    Dave – St. Louis, MO they replaced my ’13 with the tick this past April with a new ’14 at no cost to me. After they replaced my lifters I had a strong burning oil smell inside the cabin. I took it back to the dealer 3-4 times, they kept saying they couldn’t smell it or find a leak.

    Mikeychallenger – Florida in addition to exhaust, have them check near the bell housing where the transmission mates to the engine. I still think it could be a loose flywheel bolt or something loose in there since you said the sound changes also when you push on the clutch pedal. Interesting. If you listen to the start and the end where it sounds like you were at idle speed, the tick is about 6x a second. That equates to 360 ticks per minute: what you’d expect from a problem with a single lifter on an engine operating at about 720 RPM.

    Hal H – Portland, OR – The service bulletin goes on to state that if the tab removal procedure doesn’t resolve the lifter tick >> next step is the lifters get replaced. Also refer the shop to Star Case #S1309000013 (from 4/11/2013) – Ticking Noise from Upper End of Engine (specific to the Hemi V8s) its a procedure to trim the tabs on the rocker shaft retainers – if this doesn’t resolve the ticking noise, then lifters are replaced…
    This Star Case doesn’t involve very invasive procedure (no heads removed) – each retainer is removed one at a time, trim the tabs, reinstall and do this for all 20 of them on the V8.

    J W – 2013 R/T – Los Angeles, CA – brought the R/T to the dealer for check on getting some stripes and asked someone to listen to the tick since it was a little loud. After running a diagnostic test and a month of waiting, Chrysler has determined the lifters and head gasket needs to be changed. The mechanic replaced Both cylinder heads and gaskets. The paperwork said I had a worn valve guide and several collapsed lifters. Must have installed a bad valve at the factory. I have to bring it back since the “master mechanic” failed to bolt my air box back down.

    M C – 2014 R/T , Daphine, AL. ticking issues

    Bebike – PA – I’m guessing it’s one of three things; – bad lifter(s) – damaged or bent pushrod – cracked or otherwise loose rocker arm/assembly.

    J W – 2014 R/T – I’ve had tick since new and just completed my second oil change. Car is ticking loud.

    Rick – 2012 Challenger R/T (VIN: CH131458) with 3,800 miles on it had no noise issues. On Nov. 20 I traded the 2012 for a 2014 Challenger R/T Redline (VIN: EH251693.) I might not noticed the noise except for the fact that I switched stereos installing my MyGig 720n in the 2014, but since I couldn’t remember my security code I had to drive home with just the sound of my HEMI to keep me company, which wouldn’t have been so bad except for the unwanted noise. The following day I returned to the dealership to retrieve the locking gas cap I forgot to remove from my trade-in, so I took my new ride over to service to have them check things out. The first thing I was told was “all hemi’s make that sound,” which immediately pissed me off because my other R/T didn’t make the noise I was describing to them. The first tech took my car for a drive and said he didn’t hear anything, so another tech took it for a drive and said the same thing. After this I rode shotgun to try and point out the sound to them, but for some reason they just weren’t hearing it. I know I’m not crazy and imagining things. I hope that we can get enough Challenger owners together and get this issue resolved. I have waited many years to get to what I consider the “car of my dreams” to settle for for something sub-standard.

    R Z – Clank, Clatter, Knock – 392 Engine Noise A little update. In addition to the lifters being replaced, they have a replacement camshaft inbound as one or some of the lobes were worn down from the lifter. Final Diagnosis/Resolution 12/3/2014 –

    I picked up the car today with all the warranty repairs conducted. Below is a summary of the final tech sheet: “Customer states clunk noise from engine. Noticed while under vehicle that the harmonic balancer and tensioner pulley has excessive amount of movement. Tear down and found lifter damage. Cam Lobe on NO #3 damaged. Replaced Camshaft and Lifters”
    Parts changed out:
    -Head gaskets
    -Engine oil filter
    -Oil 5w-40

    All in all, things seem all good. I’ll keep updating if necessary but overall, now the question is, what caused a cam lobe to wear after 63,000 miles of regular driving.
    I did ask to see the camshaft so I could take pictures, however, they didn’t have it available.

    K B – 2014 Shaker #317 – ticking

    L F – 2013 Dodge Daytona Charger (5.7) Hemi VIN dh677064 Troy, Michigan Excessive ticking

    Gary T – Chillicothe, Ohio – ticking after timing chain recall

    Rpaulg87 – I dealt with this crap when I had my Challenger, sadly the reason I sold it, god damn that SRT-8 was sexy though, kept holding onto it. But after fuel-pump failure, lifter failure, power steering failure, a\c fan failing, stock rear end going out, and then the 2nd one (then they installed a 3rd which howled at anything over 40 MPH, and claimed was normal) and ignition failure, plus two half-shafts breaking, one of them installed incorrectly fried my entire ABS system (how the hell do you install a half-shaft wrong!?) and uhhhhoh yeah win-module failure so my car was in the shop for 30 days while they figured out while push to start or remote start wouldn’t work. Oh, also, my entire IRS cradle ripped through my frame, cracking it as one bolt holds it in. Anyway end of the rope was when I was told my diff howling noise with even the radio up @ 25 volume was normal, and the “customer service rep” would not talk to me in person about it.
    Hopefully Dodge steps up, I’d be horrified to ever have a Dodge dealership service a Hellcat if I got one down the road.

    Some have needed the rocker shaft replaced.
    A forum member in here just found out how bad it can be as he just destroyed his cam and lifters. Then it took a rebuild from all the metal going through the motor.

    11/18 Letter written to Dodge, Chrysler, both facebook pages and to Dodge Cares on forum. NO RESPONSE FROM DODGE CARES.

    11/20 Called Dodge CCC and spoke with Anna 800-247-9753
    CASE # 25991155 – she said she will look into why the car wasn’t fixed and why I got an invoice for the difference in the synthetic oil from my dealer. Dodge offered 5 years of synthetic oil changes on the car. NO REPLY AT ALL.

    L F ……. Number of repairs to 5.7 Hemi’s
    The problem started in late 2011 and has grown since. Take a look at the data that I received from a Chrysler Tech. (no names to protect their jobs) I received this in January 2014. These are numbers of repairs to 5.7 liter Hemi’s with a tick /clicking @ 1800 RPM’s and above.

    It shows that there were 5/month in Aug.2011 and goes up from there. In September 2013, there were over 40 cases per month, and going higher each month after that…….(over 60 cases/month in 2014) They changed something, design, or maybe a new supplier of lifters, push rods, rockers, or other component that would make the sound we “ALL” are hearing today. I showed Chrysler STAR my data, they said they do not compare vehicle to vehicle. They only treat each occurrence as one. That’s their procedure.

    This is the pin-point of the problem why they are not listening to us………(or) because costs will be high to fix them all, just tell everyone its NORMAL ! Its cheaper to loose a couple of MOPAR lovers than to issue a recall or major campaign to repair.

    • eric
      December 27, 2014 at 7:21 am

      Hi IM,

      Glad to see you made it here (you’ve been approved as a “regular”)!

      On your question:

      Valvetrain ticking is often caused by oiling issues, or lash adjustment problems. However, lately, a similar ticking sound is becoming quite common (and is normal – that is, doesn’t indicate a mechanical problem) because the automakers have been going over to direct rather than port fuel injection. Direct injection operates at much higher pressure than port (or throttle body) fuel injection and that sound you’re hearing may be attributable to this.

      That said, your post references engines made circa 2011 – and I am pretty sure that those engines were not direct-injected.

      Which gets us back to valvetrain (and possibly, oiling) issues.

      Assuming proper installation and non-defective parts, a cam and lifters ought to last pretty much the life of the engine (assuming no abuse and normal maintenance with proper oil and so on). If lifters (and cams) are failing as early (as prematurely) as described by the posters, it indicates (to me) either a design defect or a manufacturing/assembly issue.

      Anyone else out there want to chime in?

      • iamawild1
        December 27, 2014 at 11:17 am

        the ticking is driving us all nuts. there is no way to un-listen for it while driving. its there period.

        what do we do to stop it? first plan of attack? there could be a number of reasons why its ticking. what would you suggest our first step should be? this ticking is ruining the driving experience with our cars.

        dodge says its “normal” yet not all the 5,7 hemi’s are doing it. most of our dealers are refusing to fix or diagnose the problem causing it. we are caught between a rock and a hard place when Dodge refuses to fix this problem. Dodge wont even respond to our questions about this.

        I ordered my 14 shaker exactly the way *I* wanted it. its also a numbered car, therefor unreplaceable. I would gladly pay to have it not tick and need your guidance of what to try first. Dodge has just swept us under a ru?g, thinking if they ignore us long enough that we’ll just go away. Hey Dodge… we are here for the long run! I will not give up. fix my car or continue to find my letters everywhere. you can’t delete all of them. we, as a group, are not going away!

      • Spasticdog70
        December 27, 2014 at 12:07 pm

        I’m one of the people with this problem and more. The valve train noise is excessively loud and can be heard constantly in the cab. Tab removal & lifters replaced no difference. Why would Dodge OK these two star cases performed if all this is normal????? Now after lifters replaced I smell burnt oil, have a terribly loud spark knock in MDS mode on passenger side with chattering valve train & gas millage is terrible. Dodge rep drove my car after hearing all these noises and detonation was recorded but he said all is normal, working as designed! My engine sounds like a junk pile! Dodge is trying to sweep this under the rug! I’m at the point of filing lemon law. All I want is my engine fixed or replaced, this goes for all of us with this problem. Dodge needs to stand behind their products & their warranty! Dodge ….is this to much to ask????? NOT A HAPPY CUSTOMER!

        • BrentP
          December 27, 2014 at 4:54 pm

          Many times work will be done in an attempt to satisfy a customer even if it within the normal range. What I tend to fear is the damage dealership mechanics can do chasing an annoyance.

          Any sort of ‘spark knock’ should generate a misfire code if it happens more than once in a great while. Even without a code the condition should show up with right equipment connected. Even my simple laptop OBD2 software circa 1999 or so can do it. With the burned oil smell I would wonder if one of the valve cover gaskets has been damaged or not installed correctly.

        • iamawild1
          January 18, 2015 at 8:27 pm

          When I wrote the letter to my Dealer last week, I also CC’d it to Dodge and Chrysler Customer Care’s as well. Today, I got an email from CCC… what a JOKE!!!

          “I regret to learn of your dissatisfaction and appreciate the time you
          have taken to contact us back; although your email does not contain any
          information that would cause a change in the previous decision.

          Furthermore, any future communication related to this issue will be
          retained in corporate records.”

          Sure CCC… keep a copy of all my complaints in your corporate records.. for all the good it does because obviously no one there sounds like they can READ! How about putting ALL the ticking engine complaints into ONE FOLDER?? I wonder how many there would be?

          “Thank you again for your email. Should you require additional
          assistance, or have any new information to provide, please reply to this
          email message or call 1-800-4A-DODGE (1-800-423-6343).”

          Yeah right.. I’ll keep writing, you’ll keep filing.. pretty soon your filing cabinet will be over full… Dodge/Chrysler is JOKE!

          • BrentP
            January 19, 2015 at 1:21 am

            There are lawyers that specialize in this field, lemon law, warranties, etc.

      • BrentP
        December 27, 2014 at 4:45 pm

        In the recording all I hear is what sounds like a variable valve timing system but I can barely make it out. (may be a function of my computer speakers though)

        With all the modern valve timing gizmos these days it seems engines have a variety of ticks that vary from car to car. It’s like getting used to a set of entirely new normal sounds and of course those that are actually a sign of a problem.

        • eric
          December 28, 2014 at 6:33 am

          As most here know, I test drive a new car each week (sometimes two). I’ve noticed that engines have become more rather than less noisy, probably because of DI/VVT and cylinder deactivation, etc. … but usually, this is noticeable only if you raise the hood and especially if you remove the plastic acoustic cover almost all engines now have. But with the cover on – and the hood closed – the sounds are (usually) very effectively muted.

          It is possible the Chrysler’s sound deadening is not as effective; or that some people simply have more acute noise sensitivity.

          On the other hand, there could indeed be a problem with the valvetrain (or oiling system). This happens – even with new cars.

          A few years ago, I got a Nissan Altima to evaluate. Brand new car. At cold start, the valvetrain would clatter alarmingly for about 10 seconds, until (I assume) oil pressure built up sufficiently. I was very reluctant to even drive the car and called Nissan up, told them about the issue. They came and picked it up; never saw that car again….

          • BrentP
            December 28, 2014 at 5:34 pm

            My ’12 Mustang has been a learning experience of new sounds, especially with the hood up. Thankfully I am pretty good at figuring out what is purposeful and what isn’t. Forums and youtube help too.

      • Marilyn
        January 10, 2015 at 4:24 pm

        As an update.. one of the 5.7 owners here finally got another dealer to look at his car, and he stated he believed there is a problem with the noise coming out of his engine.. this is what happened next:::::

        Took it to a different dealer today. Lord and behold they said I had a problem but they want to remove the heads again to try and find the problem. I talked to my DCC rep afterwards and flat out told her I wanted a new engine and was tired of going through this hit and miss crap. The engine has also been spark knocking for several thousand miles and no telling the damage that has occurred. The engine now sounds like a freaking joke! Getting worse by the day. The service manager couldn’t believe the other dealership said this was normal. Waiting to hear back from DCC on engine replacement but as of now have appointment Wed. morning to diagnose. At least I’m making progress, if you want to call it that. And YES fingers are crossed

        1/8/15 update: This just gets worse! I picked up car today from dealer. They removed valve covers and said everything looked normal but sounds horrible. The service manager clearly told me the engine has an extremely louder than normal ticking and pinging noises but hands are tied by Dodge will not authorize any repairs. He said he would do all he could to help but Dodge would not work with him. So on the drive home just a ticking away I looked in the rear view mirror and saw nothing but smoke rolling from behind. I thought …. yep!….she’s finally blown so I pulled over and the smoke started boiling from the hood and coming inside the cab. I thought the car was on fire! Popped the hood and when the smoked cleared I noticed oil pouring from back of the valve cover onto the exhaust and onto the ground. They did an excellent job putting covers back on?? Immediately called the dealership and had to have car towed back in. I’ve had it!!!!
        Just now finished a certified letter to Dodge with my problems requesting a new engine. If they refuse lemon law will be filed. There is no sense for anyone to go through this much trouble to have a car repaired under warranty!

        • eric
          January 10, 2015 at 6:24 pm

          Hi Marilyn,

          I am almost speechless. This is among the worst I’ve heard (and I’ve heard a lot). If this isn’t an isolated/aberrant issue with your particular car but a general flaw, Chrysler is going to catch Hell once word spreads.

          • Marilyn
            January 10, 2015 at 8:44 pm

            Thanks Eric… I’ve heard a lot of horror stories coming from Dealers but this one has to be the worst I’ve ever read.

            Another member of our Challenger group had a good experience with his Challenger tho…

            Loxahatchee, FL – I brought it to my dealer today. They seem to agree it’s a lifter and have agreed to replace it next week under warranty. I’ll let you know how it goes.
            Update 1/10/14 – All done! They replaced 4 lifters and the cam shaft. No charge. As of right now, no tick.

            Now if ONE DEALER can take the time to properly diagnose and fix a car, why can’t the rest of them? The service we’re getting is sporatic at best. We all need to get on the same page here Dodge..

            Thanks Eric for the space to share our stories.

            • eric
              January 10, 2015 at 9:01 pm

              You bet, Marilyn – it’s the least I could do!

              PS: While I agree the FL dealer handled the problem better, I’d still be concerned about such premature lifter failure regardless. If abuse is excluded, lifters ought to cause no problems for at least 100k-plus miles; the life of the engine, really.

              • Spasticdog70
                January 11, 2015 at 12:51 pm

                Hello Eric,
                I’m the lucky one you read about with the leaking valve cover that almost caught the car on fire. I do not like to keep taking my car to a dealer for them to hack away not solving a thing but stuck between a rock and a hard place to get this problem fixed. Last dealer said excessive ticking and unusual valve train noise but Dodge says normal. Anyway, could all of the excessive ticking be caused by bad cam shafts? Can easily explain why some engines tick and some don’t and have ticking on one side of the engine. One lucky one had their cam replaced and seemed to fix the problem. Just asking your opinion. Thanks Eric for your response, KF

                • eric
                  January 11, 2015 at 4:50 pm

                  Hi Spastic,

                  A mechanic who cannot correctly reinstall a valve cover gasket is probably someone you don’t want working on your vehicle. That’s a basic job. If they botch that, how will they handle a complicated job?

                  Your Hemi is an overhead valve V-8, so it has just the one camshaft, mounted in the valley of the “V” – with lifters riding on the cam lobes as the camshaft rotates, pushing pushrods that in turn actuate rocker arms that open and close the intake and exhaust valves.

                  Camshaft failure would be pretty spectacular, absent a serious design defect, inadequate oiling, abuse – or improper installation.

                  The ticking could could indicate any of several valvetrain-related problems (among them, improperly adjusted valve clearance, a failed/failing lifter, bent pushrod, etc.).

                  I am wondering – based on your description – whether some Hemi engines were not put together properly (i.e., some valves set too tight or too loose, which could definitely cause ticking as well as performance problems and even premature engine failure). This happens. There may also be an issue with a bad batch of parts (such as lifters).

                  In any event, the only “normal” ticking sound – assuming the engine does not have solid lifters (yours doesn’t) – is that associated with direct injection. There’s an audible, diesel-like ticking that’s noticeable at idle, esp. with the hood up. However, I am pretty sure your particular engine is not DI (it has port fuel injection).

                  So… I’d be considering the following:

                  * An issue with the variable cam/valve timing.
                  * Defective components (e.g., lifters).
                  * Improperly assembly of the engine (specifically, factory adjustment of the valvetrain).
                  * An oiling issue (which may tie in to the variable cam/valve timing.

                  Hope this is helpful… and you definitely have my sympathy!

                  • iamawild1
                    January 20, 2015 at 4:52 pm

                    I found some interesting info no dealers mentioned and none of the idiots at CCC or DCC.

                    STAR ONLINE case number: K59926684
                    On many of the hemi engines the ticking noise is none other than the exhaust valves. according to chrysler engineers the tick is caused by excessive valve stem to valve guide clearence. MOPAR has now revised the exhaust valves with fatter (29 microns) stems. the part number for the valves is : 53021551AB” Issue Engine Is Making A Ticking Noise Around The Exhaust Manifolds.;Vehicle is equipped with a 5.7L engine. The noise is not a valve lifter, rod bearing or crankshaft main bearing noise. Engine oil level and oil pressure is ok. There is a ticking noise coming from around the exhaust manifold area. There are no exhaust leaks. System or Component Chirp,Click,Knock,Pop,Ring,Snap,Tap,Tick;Customer Concern (No DTCs);Rocker Arm / Lash Adjuster,Tappet / Hydraulic Lifter,Cylinder Head,Exhaust Manifold,Front Pipe;Right,Left,under hood;Engine Idling;Closed Throttle;Lower Speed / Below 25 MPH ( 40 KPH );Yes – Intermittent,Yes – Continuously Recommendation The descriptions of the noise may vary widely and may include: 1. Ticking (low amplitude) 2. Chirping 3. Whooshing 4. Belt type noise 5. Exhaust type heat crackling 6. Chuffing type piston 7. Air flow in the exhaust shell ring Generally the noise is heard at idle and is not temperature related. The sound can be heard from outside the vehicle at the L/F or R/F, however under the vehicle is preferred. We have reports that loosening the exhaust pipe to manifold connection can change the noise and to help qualify the noise: Remove the accessory drive belt to eliminate possible belt noise issues. Hoist the vehicle. Use engine ears or a stethoscope, listen at the front pipe near the manifold connection for noises.
                    NOTE: Cold engines with a very pronounced ticking noise heard from the top end of the engine should be called in to STAR for lifter /tappet/valve spring diagnostics/repair. If you have determined that you have the above noise and it is not isolated to another mechanical source, the likely cause is excessive valve stem to guide clearance. MOPAR now has the revised exhaust valves with larger (29 microns) stems (P/N 53021551AB). Isolate the noisy valves and replace as required.

              • Marilyn
                January 20, 2015 at 4:54 pm

                I just got off the phone with MY dealer. They said based on what another dealer out of state last reported, that Chrysler will do ABSOLUTELY NOTHING for my car’s ticking. It’s claimed as being a charasteristic of my car. BULL$hit.

                I asked what it would take to have it fixed out of pocket? They refused to comment. Said they couldn’t and wouldn’t do anything in their service area.

                Ok then.. if I have a Professional NYS Certified Repair Shop do what it takes to stop the ticking, I was told it would most likely VOID MY WARRANTY.

                Ok, so MY dealer refuses to do it, EVEN if I pay for it myself AND if I take it elsewhere to have it done, it voids my warranty with Chrysler? So I can’t have this engine fixed????

                WHAT IS WRONG WITH THIS PICTURE?????

              • Marilyn
                January 26, 2015 at 12:31 pm

                Well Eric… it seems that Dodge DOES know how to stop this ticking. They found this out a few years ago and issued a TSB. My dealer is refusing to perform this TSB on my car as per Chrysler! Go figure… the know exactly what’s causing it and how to fix it.

                STAR ONLINE case number: K59926684

                On many of the hemi engines the ticking noise is none other than the exhaust valves. according to chrysler engineers the tick is caused by excessive valve stem to valve guide clearence. MOPAR has now revised the exhaust valves with fatter (29 microns) stems. the part number for the
                valves is : 53021551AB” Issue Engine Is Making A Ticking Noise Around The Exhaust Manifolds.;Vehicle is equipped with a 5.7L engine. The noise is not a valve lifter, rod bearing or crankshaft main bearing noise. Engine oil level and oil pressure is ok. There is a ticking noise coming from around the exhaust manifold area. There are no exhaust leaks.
                System or Component Chirp,Click,Knock,Pop,Ring,Snap,Tap,Tick;Customer Concern (No DTCs);Rocker Arm / Lash Adjuster,Tappet / Hydraulic Lifter,Cylinder Head,Exhaust Manifold,Front Pipe;Right,Left,under hood;Engine Idling;Closed Throttle;Lower Speed / Below 25 MPH ( 40 KPH );Yes – Intermittent,Yes – Continuously Recommendation The descriptions of the noise may vary widely and may include: 1. Ticking (low amplitude) 2. Chirping 3. Whooshing 4. Belt type noise 5. Exhaust type heat crackling 6. Chuffing type piston 7. Air flow in the exhaust shell ring Generally the noise is heard at idle and is not temperature related. The sound can be heard from outside the vehicle at the L/F or R/F, however under the vehicle is preferred. We have reports that loosening the exhaust pipe to manifold connection can change the noise and this could be used to verify and possibly correcting the noise. Diagnostics to help qualify the noise: Remove the accessory drive belt to eliminate possible belt noise issues. Hoist the vehicle. Use engine ears or a stethoscope, listen at the front pipe near the manifold connection for noises.
                NOTE: Cold engines with a very pronounced ticking noise heard from the top end of the engine should be called in to STAR for lifter /tappet/valve spring diagnostics/repair. If you have determined that you have the above noise and it is not isolated to another mechanical source, the likely cause is excessive valve stem to guide clearance. MOPAR now has the revised
                exhaust valves with larger (29 microns) stems (P/N 53021551AB). Isolate the noisy valves and replace as required. Important TSB for Hemi owners:

    • Jimmy 2-Tone
      December 27, 2014 at 12:28 pm

      I own a 14′ Challenger Shaker, although I don’t have the “tick” I completely understand the how Iamawild1 feels. Mopar owners especially Challenger owners are a very passionate group to the extent of being literally like family. So when one member of the family is having troubles we all rally together to find a solution to find to the problem. All we want is to have our cars preform the way they are suppose to. We pay good hard earned money to Dodge and in return we expect our cars to function properly.
      There was a time in the 50’s, 60’s and even in the 70’s that a lot of cars had quality issues that the big 3 never resolved until they lost market share. When imports were made better and cost less only then did the Big 3 start improving quality. I believe they’ve come a long way and have caught up and are capable of producing a world class product. Now I fear something else is causing quality issues, namely, government putting a choke hold on free inter prize. If these company’s receive tax payer money, what incentive do they have to please the customer. I know Eric has covered this issue before so I won’t beat this dead horse.

      Bottom line Dodge need man up and be responsible for you actions and products, whats the matter Dodge (AKA McFly) are you chicken? We got you back Iamawild!

    • C
      December 30, 2014 at 10:42 am

      I have a 2013 Challenger RT Classic (6sp). This is my fourth Challenger and the only one to have a loud metallic ticking/clicking/flutter noise that starts at approximately 1500RPM’s and continues to redline. I can hear this noise clearly inside the vehicle while driving and, can hear it over the radio. I have been dealing with this issue since May 2014. At first, I was given the canned answer “It’s normal”. That is, until I found the Star Case for the rocker tab removal. My car has been to the dealership multiple times. So far, I have had the rocker tab removal done, lifters and pushrods replaced. I was told the tech at the dealership found two bent pushrods but, was unsure if they were bent prior to the lifter replacement or during the fix. Since the lifter replacement, the noise is worse. My car is currently at the dealership (12/30/14) and has been there since 12/22/14. The dealership has only road tested it in the nine days they’ve had it. This is the second time they have had my car for over a week. I was told by Chrysler Customer Care on 12/24/14 that they would look into getting me a loaner or rental, I still haven’t heard from them.

  128. tbone
    December 16, 2014 at 5:34 pm


    We have a Subaru with a “black box” described in the owner’s manual.

    Is this an actual physical device or simply circuitry wired into the car computer?

    Can it be bypassed or inactivated?



    • eric
      December 16, 2014 at 7:20 pm

      Hi tbone,

      Yes, the “black box” is a physical device. It is technically an Event Data Recorder (EDR), and it stores data such as speed, brake input, whether the occupants were wearing a seat belt (and so on). These EDRs are wired into the car’s systems and – as far as I know – cannot be removed. The legal questions – who owns the data? who may access it? – are still being haggled over.

  129. steve zimmett
    December 14, 2014 at 12:17 pm

    Eric: I’m thinking about buying a car cover for my 2010 Ford Focus. Looking at
    TITAN 5L ULTIMATE WATERPROOF CAR Cover. Are they any good for snow in the winter time. What about the size??Or should I look for some thing else, Thanks Steve Zimmett
    By the way I did not purchase a Mazda Miata

    • eric
      December 24, 2014 at 6:35 am

      Hi Steve,

      I don;t have any direct/personal experience with that particular car cover. However, a car cover – in general – is good policy as it will reduce sun damage as well as protect the car when parked from bird droppings and so on. My understanding, though, is that breathable is desirable because trapping moisture has obvious potential downsides. This car cover may have dealt with that problem in some manner, however.

  130. Mike Hignite
    December 10, 2014 at 11:17 am

    On battery replacement. Victory Lane tested my four year old battery and it had two numbers: 71% battery condition, and 100% battery charge. They recommended replacement. I declined at that moment.

    What conditions on this test should indicate time for a battery replacement?

    • eric
      December 10, 2014 at 2:25 pm

      Hi Mike,

      I assume they did a load test – which is the important measure of a vehicle battery’s performance. A weak battery can indicate “full charge” but is nonetheless weak – and while it may seem ok on a warm day, when the temperature drops and its actual cranking capacity has declined by say 30 percent (as appears to be the case here) then you might find out otherwise.

      Four years is on the shorter end of battery life under normal circumstances, but I’ve seen them die much sooner when subjected ot extremes of heat or cold for regular/extended periods.

  131. DanLiberty
    December 4, 2014 at 9:07 pm

    Hi Eric,

    Recently, I purchased a 2014 Dodge Dart and the dealership stated that I should change my oil every 7-10k miles? I was always under the assumption, every 3k miles?

    Please advise as to what the proper protocol should be. Greatly appreciate your advice.

    • eric
      December 5, 2014 at 7:17 am

      Hi Dan,

      First thing: Modern car engines are designed (and able) to go much longer between oil changes (among the reasons, fuel injection doesn’t wash down the cylinder walls with raw gas – and dilute the oil) and the oil itself is leaps and bounds superior in terms of the protection it provides.

      So, it is true that changeout intervals are less frequent today vs. yestderday – and every 3,000 miles is probably excessive (and needless).

      However, do not go by what the dealer told you. Go by what the car’s designers tell you. Your owner’s manual will have a service schedule that describes “normal” and “heavy duty” (or “severe”) service schedules. If your driving qualifies as “normal use,” go with the recommended interval for that type of driving. It may be 7-10k miles. On the other hand, if you do a lot of very short-trip driving, or mostly stop and go driving, that may qualify as “severe” or “heavy duty” use and the oil change interval will be sooner.

      Also, it matters what type of oil you’re using. A high-quality synthetic such as Amesoil will provide more protection (for longer) than a run-of-the-mill conventional/non-synthetic.

      Personal opinion: I prefer to err on the side of caution when it comes to both change intervals and the oil (and filters) I use. So, I change the oil sooner than the maximum recommended/advertised limits. (In part, because I am of the opinion that the automakers’ recommended intervals are, to some extent, also based on marketing considerations. That is, they want to tout how much money you can save by not changing your oil as often.)

      But not too soon, if that makes any sense.

      I like to fall within the fat spot of the bell curve, so to speak.

      If your car was mine, and assuming “normal” driving, I’d probably change it once a year or every 5k-6k or so. Using a higher-than-specification quality oil, too.

  132. Phillip the Bruce
    November 6, 2014 at 12:02 pm

    Here’s an interesting summary of the ‘news’ coverage of Flight MH17 –

  133. Warp
    October 30, 2014 at 12:29 pm
    • eric
      October 30, 2014 at 4:08 pm

      Hi Warp,

      I’m for decriminalization of everything that – as such – does not cause tangible harm to anyone. Lane splitting falls into this category.

  134. Brad
    October 24, 2014 at 7:59 pm


    I own an early 90s Mazda B Series with a carb and there is a ton of insane stuff added to recirculate air and control emissions etc. It appears that most enthusiasts buy a Weber carb and many “delete” most of the emissions equipment, and even get rid of the ECU.

    Do you have any articles that discuss that pros and cons of this practice?

    • eric
      October 25, 2014 at 6:02 am

      Hi Brad,

      What to do depends greatly on where you live. If you live in an area where they have aggressive (and mandatory) vehicle emissions inspections, especially where there is a visual component in addition to a tailpipe emissions component (that is, the inspector looks under the hood for “modifications” as well as samples the vehicle’s exhaust) you may want to think twice about altering the factory fuel-delivery system in any way. Because they will fail you – and (if it’s like it is in my state) you will not be able to get/renew registration, rendering the vehicle effectively unusable.

      But, if your state does not require regular emissions testing – or they are fairly lax about it (no looking under the hood, just have to pass the tailpipe “sniffer” test) then… you can probably get away with it.

      But, here’s the truly important consideration: Will removing the factory emissions stuff result in a better-driving truck?

      Probably not.

      Because your truck’s emissions equipment is part of an integrated system. Removing sensors or EGR piping will – among things – cause the computer to throw codes (“check engine” light) and may very well result in more problems than positives. The ignition system is also probably controlled by the ECU, so if you were to remove the ECU, the ignition system might not function. To get the engine to run without the ECU you would probably need to install an entirely new ignition system – “stand alone” distributor, etc. The aftermarket Weber carb would bolt on, though. But, again, it may not be compatible with the vehicle’s electronic controls.

      Probably the simplest thing to do is get all the factory equipment running as it should. It may be possible to use the Weber carb, too – with the ECU and retain “emissions compliance.” It’s not necessarily illegal to install a non-stock carburetor – provided it has a “CARB” exemption (California Air Resources Board). Same basic rule as applied to, for instance, aftermarket car exhaust systems.

      Keep us posted!

      • Brad
        November 13, 2014 at 12:40 pm


        Thank you for your thoughtful response, I forgot I asked this question until I saw one of your articles on LRC today.

        Not to make you too jealous, but I live in an area with zero emissions testing. Which is good because my pickup blew an ungodly amount of oil for a year until the engine gave out and I had to replace it and my wife’s car has an exhaust leak in front of the catalytic converter I haven’t tried to patch yet and it also runs rich (I believe new 02 sensors may actually fix it, unfortunately that’s like $200 on a volvo.)

        I believe in the 4 urban counties in WA it is still just a sniff test, which I have read they can pass with a properly functioning weber. A lot of people also put on a new intake manifold (A pace setter I believe it’s called.) There are different levels people modify them after putting a weber carb on, but many of the hoses will simply no longer go anywhere.

        How would I be able to tell if my distributor uses the ECU? The only thing that runs from the distributor is the ignition coil plug and one vacuum hose (which runs back to the carb. It appears to be a very basic system where it just turns clockwise and sparks I don’t know what the ECU would regulate. I believe I read it only does ABS and emissions. It’s too early of a model for a code reader, it just has the blinking check engine light system.

        And just for anyone who is wondering, the idea that my carb/air intake system is too damn complicated is not just in my head, check this out

  135. RJ
    October 13, 2014 at 2:47 pm

    Hi –

    I just started to read your blog recently (got tuned into it from LRC) and enjoyed your recent “best of” review of the 2015 cars.

    I also read your recent article about the new, federally mandated “car black box” gps trackers (sorry – forgot the actual car-guy abbreviation for them) that the DOT is starting to mandate in all new cars. The thought of “big brotha/sista” tracking my every move, sending me tickets, charging me by the mile or (worst yet) driving my car for me just totally sickens me.

    So my questions are: Is there any 2015 car/truck out there that DOES NOT have one of these devices? If they do all have them, can they be removed and still be functional vehicles? When is the last model year that cars/trucks were not fitted with these things?

    I like some of the new fuel-efficient cars coming out (like the Honda Fit or one of the many new 3-cylinders) but don’t want to shell out $20K plus to be tracked, controlled and taxed!



    P.S. You mentioned that you think that someday the government will ban ALL old cars from the “public” (sarc) roads that don’t have one of these spy devices “retrofitted” into them – very likely accurate given the exponential growth of the nanny state! I would just say this: God willing, I never live to see that day!

    • eric
      October 13, 2014 at 4:49 pm

      Hi RJ,

      I’ll need to root around to be certain but I doubt any major automaker currently sells a vehicle without an EDR.

      I know for certain that EDRs have been de facto standard equipment in all GM vehicles since the mid-1990s. They are also installed in all the major German brand cars, including Porsche, Volvos as well as Lexus and Toyota vehicles. I am pretty sure Ford and Chrysler install them, too – and have been doing so for several years.

      I am not certain about: Honda/Acura, Mitsubishi, Subaru and some of the smaller Japanese brands. But I am betting yes.

  136. Motorist
    October 6, 2014 at 2:29 pm


    Here’s today’s Agenda 21 update:

    Car insurance is becoming unaffordable for low-income drivers: study

    We must recognize that it’s not cars they’re principally after; it’s unfettered personal autonomy and mobility.

    Notice that the urbanists never champion scooters 125cc, and under, though such vehicles get over 60mpg. Scooters allow people to avoid the control scheme being deployed. If you have a scooter, what need have you of the light rail and bus line they want to to use?

    • eric
      October 6, 2014 at 2:43 pm

      Exactly so, Motorist…

      The object is make autonomous motorized movement an unpleasant (and expensive) burden. They are open about this, many of them (the Agenda 21 crowd).

      We must look these monsters in the eye – for that’s indeed what they are. Monsters – in human form.

      • Jean
        October 6, 2014 at 4:20 pm

        Look ’em in the eye, and plant an axe in their forehead.
        Problem solved (start: Reolution cycle of next problem.)

        Side note: Need lots of axes, and something to kill security cameras… 😛 😀

    • October 6, 2014 at 3:27 pm

      Scooters. Good one. I already have ideas along those lines to use to further point out the anti-driving nature of progressive bicycle and transit politics.

      I’ve been arguing that it’s an anti-mobility agenda behind it all for a while now. It is certainly agenda 21 related, but it is also desired independently of agenda 21. These useful idiots can’t understand that once driving is done for for the lower and middle classes bicycling will be attacked next, probably under some health care edict of ‘risk’ and then transit will be cut back, and cut back, and cut back until all it can do is get them to their job in the system and that’s it.

      • Jean
        October 7, 2014 at 7:41 am

        I doubt it’s that altruistic.
        The objective will be to make the cube an efficiency. You’ll be born into a company on Floor 23, collected by the Delivery boy, brought to the Corporate Day Care, taught all you need to know to do the role assigned to you, and then sent back up to your assigned cube, to live, work, sleep, play, {Scratch that, playing during corporate times is stealing from the company}, and eventually – you’ll die, be recycled into Soylent Peuce for the other workers to eat in their lunchtime gelatinous mystery meat.

        Think of those tiny apartments, with the bed over the door, and take out the door – make it a desk; and then pair male and female proles across the cubetop beds…


        • eric
          October 7, 2014 at 7:56 am

          Yup – you can see a prequel in Japan.

  137. Mike in Boston
    October 4, 2014 at 11:58 am

    Have been reading about Evans waterless coolant and was wondering if anyone here has any experience with it. Will be putting it in a 10 year old Corolla if I do it, is it worth it to prolong and older car’s life or is it too late by now and best used in a new engine? I want to keep my Big Brotherless car running as long as possible, any advice would be appreciated.
    Thanks in advance to all.

  138. Gregory
    September 21, 2014 at 9:36 pm

    Question :

    Hello Eric !

    I heard you speak on the Tom Woods Show and decided to contact you.
    6 years ago I leased my Acura TL from Dallas Acura dealer. This was the first time I leased a vehicle.
    After 3 year lease, I bought the car. I paid taxes when I leased and when I bought the car, which surprised me, as I was expecting to pay taxes only once.
    Acura just came out with 2015 TLX (TL’s replacement) , and I’m thinking of leasing it as well, but I will not do so if I’ll get taxed twice.
    Is there a way to lease a car and avoid this double taxation ?

    Also, when do you plan to review 2015 Acura TLX ?

    • eric
      September 22, 2014 at 5:46 am

      Hi Gregory,

      Taxes on vehicles vary from state to state (and even locality to locality). Here in Virginia, for example, we have this obnoxious annual (perpetual) “property tax” on vehicles. Yup. You pay a special tax every year, just for the privilege of “owning” a vehicle – even if you paid it off years ago.

      The bottom line is, if Texas has taxes on the books you’ll be forced to pay them. The dealer is just the agent of the state, collecting the taxes. The thing to do is check whether, in fact, it is is a tax – or a fee. The dealer (lessor) may simply be adding charges to your tab. This is pretty common – and of course, if so, it is negotiable. You do not have to pay (as an example) “additional dealer markup” (yes, they actually call it that). You can haggle. With cars, everything that is not mandated by the government remains negotiable. And you can negotiate lease costs just as you would sales costs.

      I haven’t had the ’15 TLX yet but anticipate getting one within the next two months.

      Welcome to EPautos, by the way!

  139. Mari Jackson
    September 20, 2014 at 9:26 am

    Looking for information on reliability and long term cost of ownership for cars made in China.

    My wife and I have retired to Chile and are looking at buying a ‘city car’.

    In this URL , you will notice that most of them are made in China.

    Do you know of any real statistics on the reliability of Chinese cars?


    • eric
      September 20, 2014 at 11:28 am

      Hi Mari,

      I have no direct experience with Chinese-built cars as they are not (yet) available in the U.S. My guess would be that they are probably equivalent (in terms of build quality, etc.) to ’80s/early ’90s-era cars. That is, overall, pretty good.

      But I would not be surprised if some were also pretty bad.

      As always, it’s important to research the particular vehicle you’re interested in – and then proceed with caution.

  140. September 20, 2014 at 8:34 am

    Blind Side “Inspirational Scene”

    This is some kind of positive African agenda movie. And I think there’s a second hidden agenda, that’s bragging it can take anyone and make them anything. The PTB have that power. (And I think they do, but at what cost to others, I’d ask.)

    Now for the other side of the spectrum. Have tickets to see this today. This is some kind of negative African agenda movie. I’ve personally been around these kind of “malignant narcissists” type ghetto black men. The ones in the south are different than the ones in the north and the big midwestern cities.

    But both south and north urban blacks are formidable, and not likely to be confused with the offspring of Austrian or Japanese wealthy intellectuals. You’d want to be conscious of how they differ from these other more cerebral races. Otherwise you might have a very bad day.

    But some of this SCARY BLACK PRISON CONVICT movie is wrong. It is not the case that EVERY criminal will ALWAYS be a violent criminal. There is way more variability in nature than that. Without jails and cops.

    Some guy, let’s call him Leroy, will just wake up one day and not be violent anymore. He’s not a robot that has to keep on killing and being violent just because he was before. He’ll have his own unique epiphany. Or just get tired of it all and stop caring enough. Don’t let the problack PTB oversell the potential of Ghetto blacks. Or let the antiblack PTB undersell the potential of ghetto blacks.

    Generally as blacks age, these killer black types mellow out and maybe by age 50 they’re comparable to a 16 year old angry West Virginia rural scrapper lets say anecdotally.

    If I had to go to the ghetto and buy some crack or my kidnapped family would die. I’d find an old Cuban guy. The less black. The older the better. You’re less likely to have problems from these guys as they age. And as they’re less “Africanized” as they say. If they know only spanish and no English or Ebonics is known, they’re probably still immersed in there less violent Catholic Culture, even if pigmentally black. Black doesn’t just mean melanocytes. But a basket of traits we all know and take caution around for good reason.

    There’s without doubt a gang of PTB that have an interest in mainstreaming all these blacks without delay.

    Idris’ father, [he’s the guy in No Good Deed] Winston, was a Sierra Leonean who worked at a Ford motor factory, and his mother, Eve, was a Ghanaian who had a clerical job.

    Good old BBC. Notice the metrosexed whitish male high pitched singers. Faces shaved. Skin washed, shampooed. Docile. Mild. Perfumed and deoderized. Passive. Obsequious. Nice and girly the way the PTB-BBC likes them to be.

    None of this for PTB-BBC-B class blacks from the British African colonies. Well spoken. Doesn’t tinkle the ivories and preen for cameras. He gets to strut on the show. And still get to retain much of his masculinity. He won’t settle lots of issues with mere words. Nearly no blacks will. They resort to fists and more violent means of settling arguments.

    But there’s a secret undercurrent at work. That doesn’t want blacks to assimilate. It might be just as Fred Reed said. A gap that can’t be closed. Maybe even the PTBs can’t make Africans into Japanese. The divergence might be 100s of thousands or a few million years old now. It might be a really huge gap to close.

    But still in some bizarro earth without the restrictions we have here. This exact strain of genetics. This Idris Alba, can be made to approach any thing with in his genetic reach over time. Can he be bred to breed with gorillas. I don’t think so, no one has that level of knowledge yet.

    But Planet of the Apes might be possible. Or some parts anyway. [Also its interesting that the movies have little to nothing to do with the books. They are about a whole different agenda really. The PTB agenda, I would wager.]

    There’s a gang of PTB that have an interest in further Africanizing and Violence Selecting all these blacks without delay.

    – tl;dr. It’s not a simple case of choosing the right answer off the rack. The true answer is hidden from us. Maybe from everyone. The PTB have secret knowledge, but then are lacking in simple scientific discipline.

    The truth of blacks can be discovered by dispassionate trial and error. And observation. There’s a cost benefit of getting this truth. Maybe its not that important. But I think it’d be interesting to run some of these experiments with whoever is willing to voluntarily participate.

    And of course, you have to control for human intelligence. Secret agenda groups of power brokers, who profit from ignorance and fear. And from noone behaving rationally and using trial and error. Who sow seeds of discontent and chaos, and then have a heyday, pieces a few of the things they’ve broken and pretending to be heroes.

  141. September 18, 2014 at 10:21 am


    I am looking for a pickup truck for under three grand, that will run good for a long time and if possible, a 1990 model. What do you recommend Mr. Peters?

    • eric
      September 18, 2014 at 11:04 am

      Hi Daniel,

      I own two older (2002 and 1998) Nissan Frontiers. Both have the four-cylinder engine and manual transmission; one’s a 4WD and the other’s 2WD. They are superb trucks and known to be durable and problem-free (the four cylinder models).

      I can personally recommend this truck. The last year for the compact-sized model was 2004, IIRC.

      The earlier (pre-’98s) are also a great choice.

      I have heard good things about its Toyota rival, the Tacoma (and also the T100).. as with the Nissan Frontier, you can “older” – into the ’80s – and the trucks are still tough little dudes that seem to be unkillable. Rust is their chief enemy, though.

      In a full-size truck, the older Ford F-150s with the 5.0 liter (302) and 5.8 liter (351) V-8s and also the straight six are well-regarded.

      The GM trucks from the same era are pretty good also.

      • September 19, 2014 at 3:19 pm

        Mr. Peters:

        I appreciate you taking time to answer my question.

        Now that I know what model pickups to look for in accordance with my budget, my next question is how do I go about it without getting into a car loan? To unpack this question more, I have a 2000 impala I want to get rid of and use the money towards a pickup, also the IRS owes me my tax return from April, which is another topic altogether (has anyone else not receive their tax return yet?)

        If I confused you, I can rephrase.

  142. Phillip the Bruce
    September 18, 2014 at 9:58 am

    Eric – my wife is saying she want to replace our minivan (Grand Caravan) with a full-size van. Have you reviewed any of them, or have an opinion? I’m especially curious about the ‘high’ vans, Sprinter, e.g.

    • eric
      September 18, 2014 at 11:08 am

      Hi Phillip,

      The full-size vans have their pros – and cons.

      The pros include being generally heavier-duty, capable of carrying (and pulling) more.

      The cons include poor gas mileage and clunky handling.

      The Sprinter is pretty neat in that it can be configured in an almost infinite variety of ways, to suit your particular needs. It can be a stripped-down freight hauler… or it can be an opulent RV.

      I’d definitely take a look and see what the possibilities are…

    • September 18, 2014 at 11:11 am

      Dear PTB,
      I was on a series of larks the other day. Ended up writing this article for the forum, still in a holding pattern somewhere in the skunk works – ready to take off if approved – but for now in pending status:

      Spotlight On Commenter – Phillip the Bruce

      To give you an idea of the quality of writing here at Libertarian Car Guy, here is a selection of writing by a single forum member – Phillip the Bruce:

      I will NOT pledge allegiance to the flag of the United States of America, for there is no longer a republic for which it stands. Forget the red herring of “under God,” which was added later.

      And on it continues listing your comments I thought were interesting for a total of 2,024 words.

      It concludes in the following fashion:

      Now isn’t that some impressive and valuable writing well worth your time?

      If you value this alternative to the mainstream media, please help support these important and unique independent voices. If you prefer to avoid PayPal, instead of clicking the donate button, send your payment via snail mail to the following address:

      721 Hummingbird Lane SE
      Copper Hill, VA 24079

      I was just messing around as I tend to do, to prove something to my own satisfaction, I decided to run a query of comments containing “Phillip the Bruce”, and then reproducing the ones I deemed best in class in standalone form.

      • Phillip the Bruce
        September 19, 2014 at 1:34 pm

        Tor – I’m not sure whether to feel honored or frightened, that you singled me out or this.

        • September 19, 2014 at 5:57 pm

          Sorry, used wrong case when typing your initials. Yeaaaah. Definitely the wrong case. You’re the PtB that be of course.

          I’ll just delete it. Yeah Tor will definitely delete it. I’ll write it in my notebook so I remember to do it.

          My wife says I’m some species of autistic or something. Yeah ball breaker. Definitely a ball breaker. Eric Babbit. A-number-one blogger. Course Eric lets me drive slow on the driveway. But not on Friday, definitely not on Friday. It’s a 1949 Buick Roadmaster. Straight 8. Fireball 8. Only 8,985 production models.

          ‘Course, three minutes to Kardashians. Number eighteen in 1988, Eric Peters Babbitt squeezed and pulled and hurt my neck in 1988. I get my boxer shorts at K-Mart in North Las Vegas. K-Mart sucks. QANTAS. QANTAS never crashed.

          Definitely watch Lew Rockwell Freedom TV but I have to be in bed at eleven. Lights out at eleven. 97X, bam! The future of rock ‘n’ roll. 97X, bam! The future of rock ‘n’ roll. 97X, bam! The future of rock ‘n’ roll.

          Do you know how much one of those new compact cars costs? I’d guess about a hundred dollars. Eric says: Tor, you’re never gonna solve it. It’s not a riddle because Who *is* on first base. That’s a joke, Tor, it’s comedy, but when you do it you’re not funny. You’re like the comedy of Abbott and Abbott.

          Monday night is Italian night. Yeah, I got $3,000,000 but I didn’t get the rose bushes. Eric got the rose bushes. He definitely got the rose bushes. Those are rose bushes!

          ‘Course I got Jeopardy! at three o’clock. I watch Jeopardy! Have to get to K-Mart. 400 Ochoa Street. The sign said ‘Don’t Walk’. Have you ever been to K-Mart. In movies they mention K-Mart because that’s called product placement. It’s a marketing technique to help fund expensive movies. Marketing. Definitely marketing.

          Every movie has lots of products. Guns. Cars. Nice clothes. A plot where you take an eidetic mathematic savant to Vegas and hit the blackjack tables. All the time in movies the protagonist goes to Vegas because the convention center here will pay any movie maker who mentions Vegas in their movie. Yeah. Definitely pay them.

          Are you taking any prescription medication? Wheel Of Fortune. Look at the studio filled with glamorous merchandise. Fabulous and exciting bonus prizes. Thousands of dollars in cash. Over $150,000 just waiting to be won as we present our big bonanza of cash on Wheel Of Fortune.

          Friday is fish sticks. Green lime jello for dessert. Course in 1986 46,400 male drivers were definitely involved in fatal accidents. E-R-I-C P-E-T-E-R-S, my main man.

          • Phillip the Bruce
            September 20, 2014 at 7:36 am

            Definitely, definitely!

      • Phillip the Bruce
        September 19, 2014 at 2:31 pm

        Just don’t get “PTB” confused with “TPTB”

  143. September 17, 2014 at 8:54 pm


    Question concerning tire size. Positives/Negative points of owning and using larger rimed & lower profile tire compared to smaller rimmed tires with larger profile.

    (ie a 15″ wheel with a 60-70 profile vs a 17″ wheel with a 40-50 profile)

    Assuming that the different tire sizes fit and work with the car in question:

    I think that

    A smaller diameter, larger profile tire is:

    • less expensive
    • more comfortable (cushioned) ride
    • lighter (both tire and rim) — in general not counting light weight alloy rims
    • more difficult to damage
    • less costly to fix or replace if damaged

    compared to a larger diameter, smaller profile tire.

    A larger diameter, smaller profile tire is:

    • better handling

    compared to a smaller diameter, larger profile tire.

    Do the larger diameter, lower profile tire brake better than the smaller diameter, higher profile tire?

    Is there any other benefit of larger diameter, lower profile tires over smaller diameter, higher profile tires?

    Is there something else that I am missing in comparing different sized rims and corresponding tire profiles.

    Thanks for the input.

    • eric
      September 18, 2014 at 5:36 am

      Hi Mith,

      You have it sewed up pretty well!

      Short sidewall tires provide sharper steering response and handling, but they also tend to ride rougher. This is why you’ll see shorter-sidewall tires on sporty cars – although even today’s standard-type tires often have comparatively short sidewalls compared with what was typical in the past.

      Braking: The short-sidewall tires are usually also a more aggressive (“sport”) compound and tend to have a wider contact patch… which of course will improve braking performance. But, the “sport” compound tires also tend to wear faster…. and so, last not as long.

      One other thing: Unsprung mass/rolling resistance.

      A car fitted with 20 inch rims and tires will have more of both (probably, assuming similar alloy material, etc.) and this has an effect on handling/acceleration/fuel economy/performance.

      • to5
        December 5, 2014 at 5:59 pm

        Not to mention getting the tires and wheels on and off the car on the side of a road. Especially if you are female or have back problems. Also a flat tire on these ultra wide rims would damage the inner fender liner, and I bet a few other parts also.

  144. steve zimmett
    September 9, 2014 at 6:11 pm

    I got your email today regarding the Mazda Miata. You claim that more than a handful of snow days each winter – a Miata might not be a good choice. I found some videos on You tube that would question this??


    On Driving A Miata In Winter

    • eric
      September 9, 2014 at 6:57 pm

      Hi Steve,

      The Miata – like any rear-drive/low-riding sports car – is not set up optimally for snow-day driving. That doesn’t mean you can’t drive it in the snow. Heck, you can do anything you want to. It just means your chances of getting stuck (or worse) are greater. (Just as you’d be more likely to get into difficulty taking a Corvette off-road rather an a 4WD truck.)

      The car will ride up on top of the snow (due to the ground clearance) and this will reduce the already less-than-great traction you’ve got to work with. Being RWD, the car does not have the traction advantage of pulling rather than pushing (as well as not having the weight of the drivetrain over the drive wheels).

      Good winter tires will help – just as it would help the handling of a 4WD truck to fit it with “sport” rather than M/S tires.

      But if you want a good snow car, a Miata’s not what you want.

      • steve zimmett
        September 9, 2014 at 10:49 pm

        Eric: If you watched the video
        he seems to know what he is talking about. The car is small low to the ground, you are in control, he speaks of back ice, breaking system shines with anti-lock brakes, nose always stays straight ahead, weight balance helps on the snow to, equally light in the back as it is in the front a 50 50 weight distribution, he claims perfect balance which is easy to control, limited slip differential. He goes on and on.
        So why wouldn’t this car work in snow?? Thanks again Steve Zimmett

        • eric
          September 10, 2014 at 5:51 am

          Hi Steve,

          My teeth are starting to hurt.

          Look: A really good driver probably could get a Corvette (or Miata) through a snowstorm (or at least, go farther in a snowstorm before he ends up stuck) than a Clover in a 4×4.

          The skill of the driver is a huge factor.

          But this does not obviate the fact that the Miata – being a sports car, being rear-wheel-drive, having not much ground clearance – is inherently at a disadvantage for driving in the snow. Just as 4×4 truck is inherently at a disadvantage for high-speed cornering work due to its higher center of gravity and so on.

          Good luck to you, if you decide to take a Miata out with four or five inches of snow on the road.

  145. August 13, 2014 at 9:16 am

    that’s a wicked pissah he got bagged by a taxachusetts statie

    as long as one violates THEIR rules, and doesnt aggress, I am for him. aint nobody got the hi hosey monopoly on making their cars look official no suh

    the Maserati’s police-style shield decorations said “Decepticons punish and enslave,” rather than the usual police motto “protect and serve.”

    under agorism, anyone has the right to protect and serve, and do all other free market even if retahded things, if that is what one wishes to do

    article on wicked local

  146. Turd Burglestein
    August 13, 2014 at 8:34 am

    A fucking clover in trouble with the law…I love it.

    In the article this asshole driver said this to the cop:

    Foster said the driver told Holt that he believed he was assisting the police “because other drivers noticed him and slowed down, thinking it was a police vehicle.”

  147. Damon
    August 8, 2014 at 11:54 am

    Hi Eric:

    I found your site a few years ago via the reposts at and I really enjoy your writings.

    Anyways, I’ve lately been looking around at buying a pickup truck and saw that the 2015 F150s will have an aluminum body to save about 700 lbs of weight. Since I live in snow country and drive through salt all winter, the idea of a body that never rusts is very appealing to me.

    My question is what is your opinion on the conventional wisdom that you shouldn’t buy the first model year of a new vehicle or first year of a major redesign? The story goes that the engineers need a couple years’ worth of data to learn the shortcomings of the new model and then fix it. In your opinion is this a valid concern, even for a model as old as the F150?

    By the way, when I buy vehicles, I run them into the ground — I don’t trade up every few years the way a lot of people do. My 2000 Cherokee has 250,000 miles but I’m putting $200-300 in repairs into it every month and I want to get a V8 before Obama bans them.

    • eric
      August 8, 2014 at 2:51 pm

      Hi Damon,

      I think it’s sound policy to avoid the first year of anything that’s “all new” – let alone an all-new technology or process.

      An aluminum body – to save weight especially – seems like a very good idea. I’d be less concerned about rust (with a steel body) because body integrity, rust inhibitors and paint application are generally so well done that most any new vehicle’s body will last longer than its drivetrain.

      PS: Ford has had some problems with the Ecoboost V-6 in the F-truck by the way.

  148. Mitch Skov
    August 1, 2014 at 12:39 pm

    Mr. Peters,

    I have a 1976 Oldsmobile Cutlass Supreme which I have had since 1990. It has 180,000 + miles on it – the original engine. My current mechanic indicates that it needs a rebuilt engine installed to really fix the issues. The primary problem at the moment is keeping proper oil pressure. It was addressed temporarily by putting heavier oil into it, but that no longer seems to work. I asked why not just put in a new oil pump, but he indicated that would just solve the immediate problem and the general wear on the engine would present more problems in the near future.

    I consulted with a couple other mechanics and they indicated this was likely true, though they aren’t familiar with the car.

    The car’s body is in good shape given its age – only real rust is on the front fender. Mechanic indicated that installing a rebuilt engine would be in the $3,000-3,100 range. I have a newer car that is now my major vehicle. Neither car gets driven daily but the Olds has now been sitting for months. FYI I had a rebuilt transmission put into the Olds around 2005 and haven’t had any problems with the transmission since.

    As for driving it, the only real irritant with that is the carburetor, I tend to have a problem with the engine sputtering and acting like it is going to stall at traffic lights. Yes, I have had the carburetor rebuilt, adjusted, etc. but this just seems to now be a constant even after the car is warmed up.

    I do have somewhat of an attachment to the Olds but am concerned about getting in an accident after the engine rebuild and the auto insurance company totaling it and giving me a few hundred dollars, or whatever book value might be at the time.

    Any suggestions? I realize it depends on how much I like the car. There is something to be said for having a car w/o a computer.

    Thank you for your site and its very helpful information. I typically see your articles on another website but go to your site to read them in total.

    • eric
      August 1, 2014 at 12:48 pm

      Hi Mitch,

      To answer this intelligently, one would need to know the overall mechanical condition of the engine, in particular, whether the compression in each of the engine’s cylinders is within specifications. If the piston rings are worn (or valve seals are bad) the engine will consume a progressively increasing quantity of oil and replacing the oil pump will not salve the problem.

      The good news is the cost to properly rebuild the engine is reasonable – and in line with what your mechanic quoted. If the car itself is in good condition, putting $3k or so into it strikes me as worth doing, given that the car ought to be good to go for many years to come once that’s done. And because it is a simple car – relative to anything “modern” – any future issues that crop up will be easier and much less expensive to deal with.

      Assuming you like the car, I’d recommend fixing it.

      Hope this helps!

  149. Daniel
    July 19, 2014 at 10:20 pm

    Greetings Mr. Peters:

    I am looking for either a pickup or an RV style van that is old enough that I dont need to go through inspections which is 25 years in PA I believe and yet will take me where I need to go as far as I need to go. Please advise.

    • eric
      July 20, 2014 at 5:56 am

      Hi Daniel,

      The factor here is the age at which your state exempts the vehicle from inspections. You indicate it is 25 years in PA. This means 1989 and older vehicles. Which is great news – because by the mid-late 1980s, most vehicles already had the Big Two technical upgrades that – in my opinion – make a car “modern”:

      Fuel injection and overdrive transmissions.

      Fuel injection – especially the early throttle body type (vs. the current direct injection systems) is a great leap forward over carburetors in terms of driveability (in particular, cold start) and simplicity/ease of service.

      Overdrive transmissions, meanwhile, dramatically reduce highway cruise RPMs and thus, decrease wear and tear while also greatly increasing fuel efficiency.

      As to which model?

      I have always like the Ford E-Series van, but the GM equivalent is also good. Both of the vans from this era (mid-late ’80s) will have their respective manufacturer’s V-8s, which will be the proven designs that date from the late 1950s/early ’60s (and which remain in production to this day, even if only as service replacement “crate” engines). The “small block” Chevy (350, 5.7 liter) and Ford (302/351), etc. These engines are inexpensive, easy to fix – and parts are readily available and probably will be for the foreseeable future.

      The GM van may have the better transmission (GM turbo-hydramatic automatics are generally well-regarded, but watch out for some of the “duds” such as the early 2004R – an overdrive 4-speed automatic that wasn’t very strong, at least at first).

      The main thing, though, is not to fixate on brand – but on the best van you can buy for the money you’ve got. Condition matters most when it comes to used vehicles. Find a good one – well-treated, lower miles, etc. – and you’ll have found the van for you.

      PS: A wild card, if you don’t mind something smaller: The VW camper wagon. I think they even made a diesel version during this time period.

  150. Herb
    June 19, 2014 at 7:47 am

    I was wondering how difficult it would be to convert from a gasoline engine to a diesel. I have a 2007 Honda Odyssey and a 2006 Scion XB. Both are paid off and have high mileage. Just your thoughts on the matter. I like the idea of diesel because of the higher mpg.

    • eric
      June 19, 2014 at 9:23 am

      Hi Herb,

      If the vehicle was originally available with a diesel, it’d be easier – but you’re still looking at a total drivetrain swap. And not just the drivetrain (engine and transmission). You will also need to have the entire fuel system purged and probably several components replaced.

      Diesel engines also weigh considerably more than gas engines, so it may be necessary to modify the front suspension. The final drive ratio may have to be changed – possibly, the axle itself if it’s not able to handle the torque output of the diesel.

      Bottom line: It’d be a challenge and unless you can do most of the work yourself, it will be expensive, too.

      Better to just buy a diesel-powered vehicle, ideally an older one without the current emissions stuff, which will have the ability to operate on waste vegetable oil/bio-diesel.

  151. DR
    June 7, 2014 at 9:02 am

    Bill Buppert, Zerogov, on D-Day.

    Good stuff here.

  152. May 22, 2014 at 4:43 pm

    Eric, are you aware of this?

    We need all the help we can get out here on “America’s last frontier.” Sigh…

  153. Ron
    May 21, 2014 at 1:33 pm

    HI-=- Please help. My daughter has purchased a 1968 vw. Her husband has not been able to get all the air out of the right rear line. All other lines are clear. this line spits out a short stream of fluid than air then fluid. Has replaced all wheel cylinders, and master cylinder. Much of the lines. No notice of wet spots or leaks. Very frustrated at this point. Looked at your videos, not sure what to do next. Not sure about the 10 times per pedal.???

  154. May 15, 2014 at 1:09 pm

    What do you know about the car called: Tesla and a guy named J. B. Straubel? What about Operation BlueStar?

    If you don’t know of this car you should. You may have addressed it so sorry if you have.

  155. George
    May 7, 2014 at 9:08 am

    2002 Subaru Forester 160,000 miles driven in Pennsylvania and New York. Mechanic says the catalytic converter needs to be replaced after engine light came on.

    I am wondering, given the age of the car, if I should just replace the whole exhaust system in one shot?

    Any thoughts on Subaru vs Generic parts?

    Any thoughts on Dealer vs National Chain vs local service?

    • eric
      May 7, 2014 at 9:19 am

      Hi George,

      Why replace more than needs to be replaced? If the exhaust pipe/muffler are ok, why throw them away?

      I would be careful to use at least an original equipment equivalent (OEM) converter designed for your specific car – as opposed to a “generic” that may not flow as well or in some other way not be optimized for your particular car. The function of the cat will greatly affect vehicle performance – and economy.

      On service: Some dealers are great; others not-so-great. Same applies to national chains (and local shops). I strongly recommend “due diligence” before taking your car to any shop. With the Internet, it’s usually easy to check a shop’s reputation – not just Better Business Bureau-wise, but also customer complaint-wise. People who’ve had bad experiences often post ’em – publicly.

      Also, ask around: Getting a recommend from someone you trust – who has good judgment – and who has had good experiences with a given shop – is a great way to find a solid (honest/competent) mechanic/shop.

      • george
        May 7, 2014 at 11:47 am

        My thinking was the exhaust pipe or muffler would be the next thing to go. So in the long run I would save time and money by getting the whole thing replaced in one shot.

        • eric
          May 7, 2014 at 12:40 pm

          Hi George,

          It depends…

          The muffler may be sound; ditto the exhaust pipes. If so, I’d leave them be.

  156. Jack
    April 22, 2014 at 9:19 am

    I heard about your blog through and I read your article

    I got some questions for you.I got a 2000 chevy cavalier with 249,000 miles on it and i was wondering if the motor blew up and died would it be better to take it to someone and have them rebuild it or buy a rebuilt motor or buy another used vehicle like a used Geo Metro. My other question would be is who would i take it to rebuild the motor? How can i find out if a mechanic is good or not a doing it? Is there someone who specializes in rebuilding motors? What kind of warranty is there if any? Thanks for writing great articles and taking time to answer questions

    – Jack

    • eric
      April 22, 2014 at 1:07 pm

      Hi Jack,

      A new replacement engine would probably be less expensive in that the labor costs (the big hit) will be much lower. Literally pull the old engine, install the new one, hook everything up – and done. Rebuilding the original engine entails (if it’s a proper rebuild) complete disassembly of the engine, inspection of all parts, necessary machine work, then re-assembly. Very time consuming. Hence, expensive.

      I know GM sells new/warranted service replacement small block V-8s (“targetmaster”) for around $1,500. A replacement four cylinder engine for your Cavalier would hopefully be in the same ballpark.

      And: You’d have a new – and warranted – engine.

      With rebuilds, it’s very hit or miss. If the guy doing the work is good at what he does, uses quality parts, it can be hit. But if he’s not so good… or uses cheap parts… miss.

      One should be very specific/clear as regards the definition of “rebuild” before agreeing to anything. If it’s not a complete teardown, inspection/replacement of all worn parts, it’s not – by my definition – rebuilt. What parts will be used? Is there a guarantee?


  157. Peter
    April 13, 2014 at 2:52 pm

    I just bought a 2014 classic Prius. I would like to disable the seat belt beep on the driver’s side and also the back up beep. I tried some of the older techniques and they did not work. What is the protocol to removing these beeps on the 2014 Prius cars. Thank you . Peter

  158. Julius
    April 9, 2014 at 11:27 am

    Hello Eric,

    I drive a pickup simply because I like the room . I drove half ton Silverado’s for several years , 97, 2000, 2004. The ride was great but the heater control units needed frequent replacement and then in the 2004 after 3 heater control units the speedometer went out. I sold it and would like to buy another truck.

    What is the best riding truck, as I am in to comfort more than any hauling or towing concerns, and why does the mileage still suffer on pick ups? I don’t know if I want another Chevy…….

    Julius Adams

    • eric
      April 9, 2014 at 12:55 pm

      Hi Julius,

      A great deal depends on the suspension of the truck in question – and that will depend on whether it’s a 4×4, or has “off-road” equipment (or not) . . . as well as tires (critical) . . with M&S-rated tires often giving a not-so-great ride (with the trade-off being they’re good in the snow, mud, etc.). Also avoid 19/20-inch wheels (very popular now) with short sidewall tires. The ride tends to be stiff and bouncy.

      That said, any of the new 1500s are proverbial Cadillacs compared with what trucks were like even as recently as 10 years ago. Chevy, Ford and Chrysler have worked near-miracles in this regard.

      But, because there are several entirely subjective variables in play – the big one being how the seats feel to you – my advice would be to test drive each one for a minimum of one hour, with at least half that time driving on not-so-great roads.

      I personally prefer the ride of the current F-150. But the truck I personally would buy (of the Big Three) is the Chevy/GMC – because I am not a fan of the Ford’s over-elaborate multi-turbo “EcoBoost” V-6 and don’t trust it for the long haul. The Chevy’s OHV V-8s are bulletproof – and GM’s automatic transmissions are the best in the (light-duty truck) business.

      Chrysler (Ram) trucks are appealing on a number of levels… except for the not-so-great quality/reliability of recent Chrysler products.

      If you’re potentially interested in a smaller truck, the Toyota Tacoma is outstanding. The Tundra is a good truck, too – especially the updated 2014 model. The only weakness of this truck – in terms of objective stuff – is the relatively limited configuration (bed/cab) options available.

      Hope this is helpful!

  159. April 7, 2014 at 3:25 pm

    Issue: No Speedometer/short in ABS system/won’t shift out of 1st gear-Brake fuse blows upon insertion

    I purchased a 94 Chevy G30 6.5 Diesel (Vin Y) cargo van with 4l80E transmission for the purpose of building out a nice conversion van. At the time I bought it, it was running well mechanically but needed a lot of attention to suspension. I proceeded to do my interior build which included hardwood floor, paneleing, DC inverter, custom lighting, etc… I did have to drill the floor with sheet metal screws, but was very careful to check underneath before drilling to ensure I wasn’t going to hit any wiring harnesses or other lines. When I was drilling the new holes for front seats, I did nick one of the hard brake lines and also hit one of the 8 ga wires that runs all the way to the trailer hitch which I assume is for the trailer brakes. I did appropriate repairs with a hydraulic compression fitting to the brake line and used crimp on butt connector to repair the single wire.

    Now the van has no speedometer, will not shift out of 1st gear, and the ABS light is lit up.

    Troubleshooting I have done:
    After checking some forums, I tried replacing the 2 speed sensors on the 4L80E transmission. Both input and output sensors have been replaced with no effect. While I was under the van, I examined the transmission wiring harness and the 2 pigtails for the speed sensors. Everything looked good. I spent about an hour crawling up and down both sides of the body looking for any potential place where I could have hit a wiring harness with a sheet metal screw and I don’t see any harness that goes towards the back other than the bundle that runs down the passenger side to the trailer hitch which doesn’t have any damage.

    I checked the fuse block and have discovered that the fuse labeled “Brake” is blowing immediately. This circuit controls the ABS system and the speedometer. I pulled the cover under steering column off to get better working access and have pulled the fuse panel partially out and have determined that the red wire with white stripe is the power to this circuit. I cannot see where this wire goes other than farther up into the dash area. I opened up the split-tubing where all the wiring comes through the firewall by the battery and I don’t see a wire of that color coming out. I also looked where the computer box under the driver seat is and don’t see this wire there either.

    Yesterday I hooked up my buddy’s Snap On Modis ODB1 code reader and the diesel engine has no ECM, but I was able to communicate to the transmission and there were no codes or faults reported. There is a special connector for communicating with the ABS that involved hooking a green wire to pin H and a black wire to pin A. When I connected to the ABS as specified, I am getting a No Communication error. There is supposed to be positive voltage coming through pin H which there isn’t which I can assume is because there is no power to the ABS system because of the blowing fuse problem I discovered.

    Does anyone know if there is an ABS computer control box stuffed up somewhere underneath the dashboard that I haven’t seen yet? The only other object I’ve seen is a small white box mounted above the parking brake which has 2 small harnesses connected to it, but I think this is for the airbag system. Also my other thought was perhaps I had a bad relay somewhere, but I do not see any relay block either underneath the hood or under the dash.

    Honestly at this point, I am lost and other than removing the rest of dash and physically tracing this wire throughout the vehicle I don’t know what else to look for at this point. My friend who’s Modis box I borrowed has 20 yrs experience and is ASE certified and he’s not sure what to look for either. He says something has to be shorted or grounded out somewhere and once we find the source of this that everything will likely clear up. He too looked underneath the vehicle and didn’t see any place where wiring looked damaged and also said that my repairs to the hydraulic line and the 8 ga wire running to the trailer brake connector was goodDoes anyone have any suggestions on what could be causing this fuse to blow or know the path of this wire? I don’t see any possible place where I could have damaged any wiring unless there is a hidden bundle that is actually inside of one of the frame rails running the length of the vehicle, which wouldn’t make sense to place one there as it would not be serviceable.

  160. Vlad
    April 3, 2014 at 11:10 am

    Looking for a used mid to large SUV for the wife. Any thoughts on the KIA Borrego or any recomendations or ones to stay clear of?

    • eric
      April 3, 2014 at 1:49 pm

      Hi Vlad,

      Kia (like Hyundai) had some early teething pains – and quality/reliability issues. But the current stuff is all pretty impressive (and superbly warranted). The Borrego only lasted one model year (2009) and while I’ve not heard anything bad about it, I’d steer you toward something along the lines of the Nissan Pathfinder or Toyota 4Runner, if you need a real 4×4 SUV.

      Buying a one-year-only model has its pros – and its cons. The potential pros (assuming it’s a basically ok vehicle that just didn’t sell well for whatever reason, as in the case of the Borrego) is that you are likely to get a good deal on one because it’s not popular and they depreciate fast. Cons include likely parts availability issues (body and trim especially) and… depreciation.

      If an AWD crossover will do, there are a number of good choices – including the new Jeep Cherokee I just finished reviewing. You might also want to check out the Hyundai Sante Fe (either the smaller Sport version or the larger V-6 version) as well as its Kia cousin. There’s also the perennial favorites: The Toyota RAV4 and Honda CR-V.

      Here’s a wild card: Honda Ridgeline. Yes, it’s technically (kind of) a truck. But it’s more like mix of truck and crossover SUV. It’s pretty versatile and capable – and a good vehicle, in terms of reliability. People love it. Honda just discontinued it, but they’ve been out for years and it ought to be easy to find a good used one….

      Hope this helps!

  161. January 7, 2014 at 7:21 pm

    I have read countless of your articles through and enjoyed all of them. I recently decided to attempt to start writing about various causes, and the first issue I took up was elimination of most traffic laws.

    You can read my article at, but to summarize I make the argument that a crime is not a crime unless there is a victim. I’ve had some comments come back which I’ve been easily able to reply to, but got one today that made me think a little. I’ll post it here:

    “Well-written, interesting read. One thing I wanted to bring up. I was wondering if you had considered the “scared straight” effect a traffic stop can have on a young adult.

    I was pulled over when I was 17 because I was driving too fast. Before that day, I approached driving in a much more careless fashion than I currently do. That is partly due to being more mature but also because I got a reality check that day. I’m lucky my reality check came in the form of a police officer and not a major collision. I imagine that there are countless others in the same boat.

    You could argue that it is a parent’s responsibility to raise their children to drive safely, but we all know what it was like to be a rebellious teenager. I think an abolishment of traffic stops would increase the number of victims, which is the most important number. What do you think?”

    I still don’t think this warrants punishing innocent people who haven’t committed a crime, but I wanted to know… how would you respond to this?



    • eric
      January 8, 2014 at 7:13 am

      Hi Jared,

      The premise is a false one.

      What is the premise?

      That only the state and its agents can inculcate a sense of responsibility in people.

      In fact, it’s the opposite.

      When people grow up knowing that they, personally, will be held accountable for the harm they cause, it “grows them up” a whole lot faster than our infantilized system of “obey the law” that does not encourage people to develop and exercise judgment.

      Consider: Has the quality of the driving of the average person out there become better – or worse – as a result of the system discouraging individual discretion, but instead insisting on rigid obedience to all traffic laws, simply because “it’s the law”?

      As far as “the number of victims” …

      Whatever harm the occasional reckless/irresponsible individual may do pales to insignificance compared with the body count racked up by government.

      How many millions of people languish in cages today in the US? Not for any harm they’ve caused to others but because they were convicted of some statutory offense entailing no victim – such as the statutes regarding arbitrarily illegal “drugs.”

      On a daily basis in this country, how many tens of thousands of people are waylaid at gunpoint by costumed thugs and threatened with lethal violence over non-crimes such as electing not to “buckle up” for safety?

      How many people have been murdered by this government – sent to fight in manufactured wars, from Vietnam to Iraq?

      You see the point.

      Welcome to the site, by the way – and thanks for the kind words!

      • Jared
        January 8, 2014 at 9:53 pm

        Thanks for the reply! Honing my ideas and being better able to articulate them is important to me, and you’ve definitely helped me with that.

        Thanks again

  162. LK587
    October 15, 2013 at 7:15 pm

    I have questions about what the British call tracking and what I think in the US is front wheel alignment. It seems like an ordinary person could at minimum do the testing.

    Is it worth checking your own alignment on a regular basis? Will you be able to detect small faults?

    Are products like these worth the money?

    The string method is free, is it worth the effort?

    Informational site:

    And finally, would you recommend ordinary people adjust their own tie rods (talk to your lawyer before answering)?

    • BrentP
      October 15, 2013 at 11:23 pm

      I do my own suspension/steering work. I have an old fashioned bar and indicator toe gauge which has worked well. I forget the brand, but it’s the kind of tool that has existed probably since the 1930s. For camber and caster I have a Fastrax Camber/Caster Gauge and some gauges from the early 60s/late 50s (which have a toe gauge that mounts to them) I got from my grandfather. The older ones are useless on most cars made after the 1970s. The real bonus was that I got turn tables. Those are expensive and required to set caster. (there are a number of cheap work arounds however)

      I aligned my 1997 mustang after a lot of suspension work. camber & caster. Toe stayed in spec, but I had to measure it. My mazda I just did toe on. Was it worth my time and effort money wise? Probably not. However I know how to do something myself now and I don’t have to go through dealing with a shop, which makes it worth it to me.

      That laser system just seems fancy… but I have my doubts on it’s accuracy given how it is used. Guess like any tool it would come down to trying it.

    • eric
      October 16, 2013 at 6:30 am

      Hi LK,

      Brent answered the technical side pretty well. I’d only add that checking alignment (or having it checked) periodically is smart policy in terms of tire longevity. Minor out-of-adjustment may not be noticeable in terms of how the vehicle tracks, even if it seems to track true and straight. But even minor out-of-adjustment can result in uneven/more rapid tire wear, as well as more/faster wear and tear on other suspension components.

      In my experience, FWD cars seem to be more easily thrown out of whack by such things as popping a curb – or hitting a bad pothole.

  163. Patrick
    December 4, 2012 at 4:36 pm

    I was at a car dealer last nite, in the financing office, talking a deal on a car. Finance lady said that they didn’t have agreements with banks for variable rate financings, that they only could offer fixed rates! Is that a bunch of b.s. likely, ie. to get me on a higher rate loan (ie. fixed rates are higher than variable)?

    • December 4, 2012 at 4:41 pm

      I have never heard of variable rate financing for a car loan. That doesn’t mean such deals don’t exist, of course – but it’s news to me.

      And why would you want to? Rates right now are at historic lows.

      • Patrick
        December 4, 2012 at 4:53 pm

        Interesting, well i’m in canada, and i was at another dealer talking a deal on a car (which i didn’t buy) and i was offered a variable rate financing. That’s why last nite, when she said they didn’t offer variable, it made be suspicious (thot she mite be lying). Ya, the historical low mite be an argument to get fixed anyways. And maybe the norms are difference in the US. I know regarding mortgages it is. You guys have 30 year fixed rate mortgages apparently. Here the longest term offered by banks for fixed-rate is 5 years i believe (some mite give 10 years i think,,at a higher rate of course). The norm tho here, is for 20-30 year mortgages, with the rate fixed for 5 years terms inside of it (thus the rate is renewed every 5 years).

  164. Tor Munkov
    November 27, 2012 at 11:48 am

    Single Mom in Chicago endures Financial Armageddon

    It’s hard to believe: but this ordinary woman has been railroaded into a financial holocaust state wealth concentration camp.

    It always happens right under the commoners noses, because always the black magicians change their tricks, and execute their black magic in some new unforseen way.

    Napolean, Lincoln, Bismarck, Stalin, Mao, Hussein. It’s never obvious until it’s far to late, and all you have to keep the wolves from your door and the mobs from pillaging your family is a few scraps of useless government paper.

    Six million Jews die quite unnoticeably when you spread it out over twelve years 1933-1945. A few million Germans die immediately after, and no one can afford to even count or keep score.

    It’s only homeless, druggies, domestically violent, paperwork scofflaws, extremists, who have to be rounded up and caged at public expense. In the next few years there will be over 80 million Americans with zero net worth if we go “Forward” the way we are now.

    Forward/Avanti was the slogan of Mussolini’s fascists. Then one of Hitler’s slogans, Now it is America’s slogan. McCain or Obama, Romney or Obama, Christie or Clinton, they’re all nickling, diming, dollaring, troy ouncing us into roadside ditches by the millions.

    Dig or Die they say. America needs you to pick up a shovel and dig deeper, faster, and harder. You are almost done now, the ditches are our trenches to keep our soldiers safe. Freedom isn’t entirely free anymore, remember what George W Bush said that has now come to define our nation:

    “America is no longer a place where people say ‘Do whatever feels good.’ After nineleven, America has a new motto and a new creed – ‘LETS ROLL’

    President Barack H, O. Bush is calling to us again to dig deeper the ditches, and to stand ready with our soldiers behind us as we line up and face the trenches. To proudly stand at. The edge of the fiscal cliff while our brave soldiers get in formation behind us. LET’S ROLL FORWARD! The Kuwaiti fireworks record will be broken. We will be witness to the greatest fireworks display of all time. Look up into the sky with shock and awe, thr fireworks are about to begin.

  165. Patrick
    November 18, 2012 at 9:06 pm

    I’m wondering how the two are measured exactly. For example, is front-seat legroom measured with its seat all the way back?
    And the back-seat’s measured with the front-seats in what position?
    And with headroom, the driver seats in some cars can be raised and lowered…etc.

    What’s your analysis on this please?

    • November 18, 2012 at 9:25 pm

      Hi Patrick,

      Welcome, first of all – and, a thousand pardons for the recent hassles with posting. We had an epic week with server problems that ended up with us (well, Dom) moving the site to an entirely new server!

      Ok, on interior measurements: Technically, each automaker is supposed to follow SAE guidelines using an anatomical dummy that “sits’ in each seat. Measurements are then taken from the dummy’s hip point in relation to its surroundings. But there’s definitely variation in terms of real-world usable space (all else being equal) because – as an example – floorpans are shaped differently, car to car. One car may technically have more front seat legroom – but (as an example) the dead pedal/footrest to the left of the clutch/brake pedal may take up a fair amount of the actually usable space. A car with a differently shaped floorpan, dead pedal (or no dead pedal) may feel roomier.

      Seat shape/adjustment range is another variable that can really affect real-world room.

      I can tell you from 20-plus years of test driving and writing about new cars that the raw numbers only tell you so much. They are a good starting point, but to really know whether a given car will fit your body comfortably, you have to get your body into the car!

      • Patrick
        November 23, 2012 at 11:21 pm

        Hi Eric, just getting back to you. Thanks for the reply. So, regarding seat position tho,,,,from what seat position is legroom supposed to be measured? Is there an SAE standard for this?

        • November 24, 2012 at 1:09 pm

          Hi Patrick,

          From the hip point centerline. I’ve been trying to find a graphic to show exactly how it works. So far, no luck.

          • Patrick
            November 24, 2012 at 5:24 pm

            Eric, “hip point centerline” sounds to me like that’s a position on the dummy’s body?

            I’m wondering, what position the seat itself is in? Ie. for front-seat legroom, is the front seat all the way back? In the middle? All the way forward? etc.

          • Patrick
            November 27, 2012 at 1:13 am

            Any luck on finding the answer to this lol?

          • Patrick
            November 30, 2012 at 9:58 pm

            I guess nothing eh. Well, shoot me a line on here if you come across something. CHeers!

          • Patrick
            December 1, 2012 at 8:34 pm

            Haha, I ain’t paying no fee. I’m surprised the answer to this question is so hard to find. Wbu eric? I mean, ‘what position is the front-seat in for the measurement of front-legroom?’. Who woulda thot that would be so difficult to find an answer to lol!?

            • December 1, 2012 at 9:50 pm

              Hi Patrick,

              SAE is one of those outfits that charges for its studies; I don’t have free access to them, either. Sorry I couldn’t be more helpful!

          • Patrick
            December 1, 2012 at 9:57 pm

            Ya,,,,you must have a guess to the answer to my question eric lol? If so, what would you think answer is?

          • BrentP
            December 2, 2012 at 5:42 am

            Even as a paying member this stuff isn’t ‘free’. Just lower cost.

  166. Tinsley Grey Sammons
    November 1, 2012 at 12:58 pm
  167. Vedad
    October 6, 2012 at 3:30 pm


    I’m a 23-year old who’s considering making my first car purchase. I know of your site via, where I have read many of your columns (which I enjoy greatly) and see you as an authority on automotive matters.
    To save you time, I’ll ask my questions first, then elaborate on the reasons behind them, if you feel like reading that:

    – Could you recommend some books or other material summarizing the things to consider when buying a (used) car, including long-term concerns such as re-saleability, maintenance costs, etc

    – Could you also recommend some specific cars to consider? I’m looking for an economical car which will cope well with low temperatures (I live in Norway). I don’t need any gadget-filled cars, though having an AC for summer would be nice. The car doesn’t have to have a rock-bottom price tag, as I imagine most of those would likely bring higher maintenance and fuel costs.

    – Lastly, could you please recommend any books on basic car maintenance, repairs which one can do on one’s own, best driving practices, etc.?

    My reasons are as follows:

    Since march, I’ve been borrowing my dad’s tired old Citroen Saxo for my daily commute, which is roughly 60km one way. The daily 120km trip is starting to show its wear and tear on it; first, it had trouble starting after rainy weather (we never figured out the reason), then the front right brake started getting troublesome, and now for the last week, the servo steering doesn’t always start until the car has been running for a minute or two. In short, this car doesn’t seem cut out for long-distance commutes. Furthermore, it feels wrong to be putting so much wear and tear on my dad’s car, for my own benefit. In short, I need to buy a car.

    It’s probably glaringly obvious that I’m no petrolhead (as Jeremy Clarkson calls them), so I hope you forgive my ignorance.

    Also, please don’t post my name if you decide to publish my question.


    • October 6, 2012 at 5:03 pm

      Hi V,

      Well, let’s start with the obvious: How much money have you got to spend? This number will help narrow things down considerably.

      Since you’re 23 and a student, I’m going to assume you probably aren’t looking for a new car. At least, I hope not. Even if you have the means to afford new, it’s generally a bad move, financially speaking. A slightly used (3-4 years old) car will give you much better value. There’s very little downside – other than not having the “latest” thing.

      In general, I’d recommend budgeting about $7,000 or so (U.S.) which over here would get you into something along the lines of a 3-4 year-old Yaris or Corolla (and similar models) with relatively low miles (about 40-50k) and in overall very good cosmetic/mechanical shape. Almost any “name brand” compact economy-type car will probably be just fine for your purposes – which I’m assuming means solid, reliable, economical “A to B” transportation.

      Unfortunately, I’m not up on the cost of cars in Norway – you may have to spend more than you’d have to spend over here. Also, of course, you’ve got access to cars (and brands of cars) not even sold here, such as Citroen. I’m by no means an expert on European-model vehicles.

      But, the same general rules apply anywhere:

      Thoroughly research the make/model of vehicle you’re interested in. Check consumer guides for negative reports/feedback. Look into resale value (over here, this info is published in Automotive News and Consumer Reports, among other sources).

      Know what a fair price is for the car you’re interested in – with the equipment/features/options you’re interested in. Check classified ads in your area as well as used car value guides to get a feel for what that price should be.

      Take the car for an extended (1 hour, at least) test drive to make sure it suits you – and to look for any obvious problems or signs of potential trouble (such as, for instance, an overheating engine, transmission slipping, unusual noises, brake performance, etc.).

      If you’re serious about a particular car, have it checked by an independent mechanic you know to be competent and trustworthy. Do not buy any car the seller will not let you have checked out.

      Well, that’s for openers !

      • Vedad
        October 6, 2012 at 6:11 pm

        Many thanks for your quick reply!

        Cars in Norway tend to cost about twice of what they do in most of the rest of Europe (and, I assume, the western world), and importing one means having to pay the difference to the government, making it not worthwhile even trying. Ergo, the prices I mention are probably twice of what you would pay for any given car.

        I’m thinking of the 40-60000kr range, which translates roughly to $7-11000, well below your recommendation, considering the price disparity. Perhaps I should save for a while longer… (Note: I’m not a student any longer, though the way I wrote the post might’ve made it come across as such.)

        The amount of money I have to spend is quite small (most of my money goes to student loan repayment), though I can save – and possibly take up a loan, though that idea is distasteful to me. Notwithstanding that, I’m thinking that paying more up front and saving on maintenance and fuel down the road is probably a good idea, compared to going strictly with what’s within my current budget.

        I just quickly checked the price for Corollas and Yarises (using – is the biggest classifieds site in Norway, the manufacturer list on that site can give you an idea of what is available here).

        For Corollas, cheaper 2006 models start around 80-90000kr, with 2009s around 170-190000kr. As for Yaris, 2006s go for 80-90000kr and 2009s for 100-120000kr. Perhaps I could stretch it and go for a 2006 of either model, but anything newer would leave me broke for years.

        As for the rest of your advice, it certainly seems sound, and I’ll do my best to follow it. I’ll also have my dad in on the process (experience), though I know he has a tendency to go for lower upfront costs, whereas I would rather go for lower long-term costs.

        Oh, and a quick by-the-way out of curiosity; where does the term clover come from? I know what you mean by it, but I don’t get the reference.


    • Peter
      April 13, 2014 at 2:32 pm

      I just bought a 2014 classic Prius. I would like to disable the seat belt beep on the driver’s side and also the back up beep. I tried some of the older techniques and they did not work. What is the protocol to removing these beeps on the 2014 Prius cars. Thank you . Peter

      • to5
        December 5, 2014 at 6:28 pm

        Hi Peter, this is what i’d do. Get the buzzer to work and use your ears to try to locate the area from which the sound emanates.Most likely this will be in the area of the speedometer, or the fusebox. Remove what panels you can and with the buzzer going off, feel around components that look boxy, and feel for vibration. Remove the wires from it and put everything back together.

        Also enlist on a forum for your car. Most likely other people on that forum have the solution to your problem. The forums are free.

        • November 23, 2015 at 1:51 pm

          So I have a 76 year old machine with two wheels, one wheel had a TKR this April, and its performance is definitely not what I’d like it to be since.

          Here are all it’s additives and substance intakes:

          For questions regarding all auto-Medications please contact the bio-wrench-Physician.

          Medication Instructions
          DIGOXIN (LANOXIN) 0.125 MG 0.125 MG ORAL EVERY 48 HOURS.
          5 MG ORAL DAILY.
          CITALOPRAM (CeleXA) 10 MG 10 MG ORAL DAILY.

          Conditions of 2 wheeled Genetic Transport Truck:
          LLQ pain
          UTI (urinary tract infection)
          UTI (urinary tract infection)
          Transient hypotension
          Chest pain
          Atrial fibrillation with rapid ventricular response
          Pleural effusion on left
          Urinary retention
          Urinary retention due to benign prostatic hyperplasia

          Shopwork / Diagnostic & Prophyllactic Report

          Date Report
          Nov 16, 2015 Discharge Summary
          Nov 15, 2015 Chest X-Ray
          Nov 13, 2015 Retrograde Pyelogram
          Nov 08, 2015 Chest X-Ray
          Nov 06, 2015 Abdomen/Pelvis CT
          Oct 27, 2015 Nephrostomy Tube Change
          Oct 27, 2015 Chest Ultrasound
          Oct 27, 2015 Thoracentesis Ultrasound
          Oct 27, 2015 Chest CT
          Oct 27, 2015 Chest X-Ray
          Oct 27, 2015 Chest X-Ray
          Oct 27, 2015 Discharge Summary
          Oct 14, 2015 Chest X-Ray
          Oct 14, 2015 Discharge Summary
          Oct 14, 2015 Discharge Summary
          Oct 11, 2015 Chest X-Ray
          Oct 10, 2015 Chest X-Ray
          Oct 09, 2015 Chest X-Ray
          Oct 06, 2015 Chest X-Ray
          Oct 05, 2015 Thoracentesis Ultrasound
          Oct 05, 2015 Chest Ultrasound
          Oct 05, 2015 Chest X-Ray
          Oct 01, 2015 Chest CT
          Sep 30, 2015 Chest X-Ray
          Sep 30, 2015 Thoracentesis Ultrasound
          Sep 30, 2015 Chest Ultrasound
          Sep 29, 2015 Chest X-Ray
          Sep 19, 2015 Chest X-Ray
          Sep 18, 2015 Discharge Summary
          Sep 14, 2015 Chest X-Ray
          Sep 11, 2015 Guidance Needle Placement
          Sep 11, 2015 Guidance Needle Placement
          Sep 11, 2015 Retroperitoneum Ultrasound
          Sep 11, 2015 Nephrostomy Tube Placement
          Sep 10, 2015 Abdomen/Pelvis CT
          Sep 10, 2015 Chest X-Ray
          Sep 05, 2015 Retroperitoneum Ultrasound
          Sep 05, 2015 Pelvis Ultrasound
          Aug 17, 2015 Discharge Summary
          Aug 15, 2015 Vascular Ultrasound
          Aug 14, 2015 Chest X-Ray
          Aug 13, 2015 Abdomen/Pelvis CT

          It’s really a labor of love at this point. Not sure how familiar your readers are with this make and model.

          Might be throwing good money after bad at some point, but you just can’t find these kind anymore, and I really am fond of the device.

          Here’s from the last time, my alpha and omega ride left the shop:

          This machine is a very pleasant gentleman who came into the mechano-hospital, as a 76-year-old make and model, problem with malfunction of right nephrostomy.

          So the plan was to do cystoscopy and eventually ____ resection of prostate surgery, which has been done.

          Postoperative, the patient has recovered now and
          is doing much better. Urine is absolutely clean.

          So the assessment of the patient is status post TURP, bilateral hydronephrosis, chronic atrial fibrillation and the patient’s BNP is 528, hemoglobin 9.9, and hematocrit 30.8.

          Electrolytes are normal except for the low magnesium, which I am going to replace and a chest x-ray was done, which has shown a little bit of basilar
          opacity, chronic on the left side, small left pleural effusion, cardiomegaly, and from cardiology point of view, the patient is okay to be discharged stable.

          From CV point of view, will start anticoagulation when cleared from urology and therefore customer has promised me that will ask other specialist on
          Friday to the service.

          Ejection fraction is low and had a normal nuclear
          stress test 2 months ago, which was normal. Atrial fibrillation is rate controlled, chronic compensated systolic hypertension. Continue with p.o. metoprolol and digoxin daily, chronic AKI on chronic kidney disease, creatinine improved and the device will again be discharged home.

          See medication reconciliation with the home garage health.

          • je
            November 23, 2015 at 4:56 pm

            Your definitely not hitting on all 8

            • November 23, 2015 at 7:21 pm

              I think you’re right, je. My “definitely” isn’t firing correctly, and I’m howling into the abyss ungrokked.

              I do hope I’m not grok-blokking anyone.

              I do appreciate any diagnostic ideas from my fellow travelers. As I try to figure out why my Hominid 350 V8 Small Block isn’t thinking on all 8 silicinders and why there’s so much variance between which neurons do decide to fire?

              Neurons have the points type distributor.
              Axon Terminal Spark plug gap is at .035 nm.
              New spark wires are installed.
              The dwell gap in the distributor has been set right.
              Axon spark plugs are new.

              First it was running on 5 silicinders, faith-hope-charity-love-knowledge before wires were new.

              Now its gotten to only one silicinder is firing on one side each, and it continues to differ.
              What am I missing? Myelin sheath distributor cap be bad? Something else?

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