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I know zilch zip zero about cars! - Printable Version

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RE: I know zilch zip zero about cars! - JohnnyM - 08-17-2019

CityWoman, congratulations and go for it!

I re-read your earlier posts and maybe have a couple of thoughts that might help you. Hope so, anyway.

First off, I'd say don't worry about makes of vehicles too much. Any mainstream US or US-market vehicle from Japan or Korea will do just fine. Subaru, for just one example, is a great car with a huge cult following and an excellent service network. And ignore the skeptics who warn you off of a brand just because their brother-in-law owned a bad one.

I do recommend staying away from imported Euro cars or vans you might find for sale in the city; go for something more mainstream and commonplace instead. Renault, Citroen, Fiat, Mercedes, and BMW all make good machines for your purposes, but you won't be able to get them fixed out in the provinces, so leave them alone.

Buy newer rather than older. Motor vehicles, like some people, do not get better with age. That fabulous old Class C that the guy in "High Maintenance" lives in? Totally cool, but if you're not a mechanic it would be a nightmare. Cars get old and wear out, so buy as new as possible.

Since you already live in the city and are comfortable there and know your way around and will have your extra stuff in storage there, you'll probably be staying around for a while, so keep stealth foremost in your mind when looking for a vehicle. Even though it's legal to sleep in your car in the city, you won't want anyone looking at you while you're doing so, so buy with the goal of being invisible first and foremost in your mind. A windowless van would be ideal, but you can black out the windows in cars and SUVs too, some more easily than others. Just something to keep in mind.

Anyway, best of luck in your new life. It'll be wonderful and scary and joyful and most definitely a great adventure.

Johnny


RE: I know zilch zip zero about cars! - CityWoman - 08-17-2019

I just found this thread by Gideon:

Info on Common Minivans

He provided a lot of the kind of info I'd want to use as a guideline for shopping around. The only thing is many ads don't say what kind of engine or transmission is inside. But I did find this free site where you can look up a VIN and/or research by make/model:

https://www.vehiclehistory.com

HDR, I just checked and have about 80 vehicles saved on CL, too many to post here. Some I just quickly starred because I liked the pictures but didn't read the ad. I'm trying now to weed those down.


RE: I know zilch zip zero about cars! - GypsyJan - 08-17-2019

I am on my second RAV4 (1st was a 2005, current is 2016). A major selling point is the mileage and another is the distance off the ground. I live on a dirt road and would have had issues with a low-slung car, plus the struggle to get in and out of it.

It is great to have sto-and-go rear seats. When looking at vehicles, get into the cargo area and make sure it is relatively flat with the seats folded down into the floor. I have a cot in my cargo area which provides storage beneath. See if you can open your rear hatch door from the inside (I can't...bummer!). Find out if there is a way to shut off the "door open" dash light when the hatch door is up to provide you with shade and rain protection while cooking dinner or for ventilation while sleeping. Look for 12-volt ports near the re,ar door (coffee maker, fry pan, fan, reading light, recharge electronics while using them).

I wish my spare were a full size real tire. Instead it is one of those dinky temps with a 25 mile limit. Plus it stows under the cargo area, which means I have to unload things to get it.

Happy hunting!


RE: I know zilch zip zero about cars! - CityWoman - 08-17-2019

JohnnyM, thanks for your post. It is indeed helpful.

I'm looking for a minivan or SUV mostly because I am not a confident driver and a full-size van is too big for me. Last time I drove one was a nightmare.

As for stealth, I do plan on hanging black-out curtains all around the back of whatever vehicle I will wind up with.

I appreciate what you said about imports and it being hard to get them serviced. In fact, I was hesitant at first about even Toyotas and Hondas, but was told not to worry about that since they're so plentiful. And, in fact, I saw a Hyundai the other day (I forget what model) that really impressed me! My sister said to me, "Japanese cars just go and go."

Thanks again.


RE: I know zilch zip zero about cars! - CityWoman - 08-17-2019

(08-17-2019, 10:38 AM)GypsyJan Wrote:  I am on my second RAV4 (1st was a 2005, current is 2016).

. . . Find out if there is a way to shut off the "door open" dash light when the hatch door is up to provide you with shade and rain protection while cooking dinner or for ventilation while sleeping.

RAV4 is Toyota, right? I know I have seen a lot of them in my neighborhood. I'm 5'6" and they look sort of small to me, but I could be wrong. I'll check them out again.

I'll be sleeping and cooking/warming food in my vehicle while parked on city streets mostly, so I won't be able to keep the back door open.

Thanks for your post. It's very helpful!


RE: I know zilch zip zero about cars! - B and C - 08-17-2019

Oops, forgot that (darn CRS). So you're tall enough a compact SUV might not work. Sounds like you are into the mid sized stuff as the big ones are probably out too. When looking, figure out where the bed will be and how you are going to cook inside (laying down or sitting?). Are you are going to need to use the bathroom inside it too? You have been given good advice on as new as you can. You don't want to be without your home because it is in the shop.


RE: I know zilch zip zero about cars! - highdesertranger - 08-17-2019

you need to start somewhere take one of the ones you saved and really like and post up a link to it. even if you have to close your eyes and point at one. come on lets get this ball rolling. by doing that you will start to learn what to watch for. highdesertranger


RE: I know zilch zip zero about cars! - Stargazer - 08-17-2019

CityWoman,

My first car camping attempt was a Nissan Maxima.  I knew the first night out it was too small for me (5'4", 135#).

Did a Ford E-150 van, low top, loved it. But cumbersome in city driving.  And never had to drive it in snow.

Now have a 2014 Chrysler Town & Country (same as a Dodge Grand Caravan) minivan.  Haven't tried to live/camp in it yet but the stow n go seats were why I bought it, for future camping.  It had 24,000 mi on it, was 2 yrs old.   Now have 72,000 mi and not a single hiccup so far (tires and oil changes).  Good mileage, easy driving.  I don't know what engine or transmission is in it, have driven it heavily loaded over BIG mountains, piece of cake.
And though I hate front wheel drive, I have to eat crow and say now that I'm in snow country, it hasn't slipped or slid at all on snowy/icy roads.  I think I paid $25K at Carmax in central Texas.

I agree with the car dealer idea (just to look) and to get the newest lowest mileage you can afford.

Best wishes.


RE: I know zilch zip zero about cars! - CityWoman - 08-17-2019

Ok, another question.  What do you do if you look up a VIN on a site like vehiclehistory.com and there's a bunch of "NHTSA Recalls" listed?  Forget about it and keep looking? Ask the seller about any issues related to the parts in question?  Look at the car's maintenance records to see if they were fixed? Ignore?  Or something else?

Oh, and if an ad says the engine "starts with a boost," that means it needs a new battery - correct?


RE: I know zilch zip zero about cars! - CityWoman - 08-17-2019

Tacking more questions onto my last post:

Rust.  I know to look for and avoid it.  But how much rust is okay? And where is it okay to have rust? Which parts should never be rusted and mean you should walk away if they are?

And what is a rocker panel?  A lot of ads for GMCs say they have "typical rocker panel rust.". Huh, wha?