Questions/Posts

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

Email to: epeters952@yahoo.com

Or email Dom at dsruggiero@gmail.com

  35 comments for “Questions/Posts

  1. Vedad
    October 6, 2012 at 3:30 pm

    Hello,

    I’m a 23-year old who’s considering making my first car purchase. I know of your site via LewRockwell.com, 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.


    Cordially,
    Vedad

    • 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 http://www.finn.no/finn/car/used/browse1 – Finn.no 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.


        Cordially,
        Vedad

    • 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

  2. Tinsley Grey Sammons
    November 1, 2012 at 12:58 pm
  3. 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 legroom..it’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!

          • December 1, 2012 at 11:20 am

            Hi Patrick,

            Go here: http://standards.sae.org/j2732_200806/

            This will take you tot he SAE’s site, where the info is available in PDF form. However, there is a fee!

          • 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!?
            Crazy!

          • 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.

  4. Tor Munkov
    November 27, 2012 at 11:48 am

    Single Mom in Chicago endures Financial Armageddon

    It’s hard to believe: http://jalopnik.com/5963313 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.

  5. 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).

  6. 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?
    http://www.trackace.co.uk/Videos.html
    http://www.gunson.co.uk/

    The string method is free, is it worth the effort?
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wjZUu_d08t8

    Informational site:
    http://www.caranddriver.com/features/get-in-line-do-it-yourself-wheel-alignment

    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.

  7. January 7, 2014 at 7:21 pm

    I have read countless of your articles through LewRockwell.com 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 http://walljared.wordpress.com/, 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?

    Thanks!

    Jared

    • 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

  8. 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!

  9. 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

    History:
    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.

    Problem:
    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.

  10. 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!

  11. 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

  12. Jack
    April 22, 2014 at 9:19 am

    I heard about your blog through lewrockwell.com and I read your article http://ericpetersautos.com/2012/05/01/forget-hybrids-buy-a-cheapster/

    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?

      Etc.

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