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


  163 comments for “Questions/Posts

  1. 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.

  2. 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.

  3. 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.

  4. 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.

  5. 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.

  6. 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. :)

  7. 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.

  8. 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.

  9. 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!

  10. 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.

  11. 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.

  12. 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.


  13. 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.

  14. 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.

  15. 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….

  16. 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.

  17. 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.

  18. 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.

  19. 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.

  20. 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.

  21. 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.

  22. Phillip the Bruce
    November 6, 2014 at 12:02 pm

    Here’s an interesting summary of the ‘news’ coverage of Flight MH17 –

  23. 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.

  24. 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

  25. 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.

  26. 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… :-P :-D

    • 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.

  27. 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.

  28. 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!

  29. 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.

  30. 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.

  31. 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.

  32. 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”

  33. 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.

  34. 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.

  35. 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

  36. 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.”

  37. 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.

  38. 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!

  39. 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.

  40. 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.

  41. DR
    June 7, 2014 at 9:02 am

    Bill Buppert, Zerogov, on D-Day.

    Good stuff here.

  42. 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…

  43. 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.???

  44. 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.

  45. 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.

  46. 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?


  47. 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

  48. 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!

  49. 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.

  50. 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!

  51. 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

  52. 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.

  53. 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).

  54. 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.

  55. 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.

  56. Tinsley Grey Sammons
    November 1, 2012 at 12:58 pm
  57. 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.

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