Weekly auto rail, with tips on used-car buying, Car Q&A with Junior Damato and more.
Tip of the Week
Before you buy a used vehicle, it pays to know what the parts needed to repair and maintain it will cost you. You probably already have a few makes and models in mind. Before you settle on one, compare the cost of the parts needed for the most common repairs and maintenance. One model may have a sales price that's $5,000 less than another you're considering, but if the cost of parts is 20 or 30 percent higher than parts for another vehicle, the higher priced model might actually be a better deal.
Turn to resources such as RockAuto.com to compare parts prices. The site's Repair Index pulls prices from the company's vast parts catalog based on year, make, model and type of part. It's a quick, easy way to compare parts costs for different models and the results can be surprising.
Here are the most-expensive vehicles as judged by ownership costs over five years, as analyzed by ConsumerReports.org:
- Dodge Caliber SXT
- Mitsubishi Galant
- Cadillac CTS
- Mercedes-Benz S550
- Volkswagen Tiguan SEL
- Volkswagen Touareg (V6)
- Hummer H2
Did You Know
General Motors recently announced it is going to build a new car plant near Detroit; GM said 1,400 jobs should be saved.
Question: I own a 1992 VW Cabriolet. The air bag light on the dash is lit. I went to both my local mechanic and the VW dealer. Both said they do not have the software to diagnose the problem. I am out of resources. Can you help?
Answer: Check the local AAA office and then check with the shops and ask if any work with Identifix, the company we use daily. Between a good technician and Identifix, you should get to the root of the problem.
-- Junior Damato, Talking Cars columnist
GateHouse News Service