Latest Reader Question (Dec. 1, 2017)

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Here is the latest reader Question, along with my Reply: 
Darren asks: Long time reader and down under Clover hater here. For some time, car makers have obediently followed the automotive fatwas to get better fuel economy. Instead of making their cars lighter, they make more complicated transmissions with many speeds, meaning an expensive repair when they go bang. For a guy who keeps his car long term, that’s a complete fail.

I hope you won’t laugh at my current Diamante, it’s been brilliant over the past twelve years. But I’m at a loss as to what to replace it with. Most new cars have cvts, which I refuse to buy. I have strong concerns about their durability. And don’t talk about the dual clutch repair  costs – outrageous.Meaning I have to dip into the seconds market and look at low mileage vehicles to get something affordable on an average wage.

It’s a scary world.

I have a good idea of what I need, and will be looking at what you call the Pontiac G8 (in a six cylinder version), or it’s now-gone Ford equivalent, the Falcon. But looking forward, manual transmissions are being phased out, and idiotic schemes like the Volvo ownership experience don’t inspire much confidence in the future options for car buyers who like to drive, and want to keep their vehicles for more than just a lease term.

I would love to have the option of something considerably older, but as a white collar guy, I don’t have the mechanical skills to do much work on them,  beyond basic maintenance.

Would welcome your thoughts. Love your column, keep up the good work.

My reply: I won’t mock your Diamante, first of all! Second, while I am also not a big fan of CVTs on subjective grounds ( I don’t like the shiftless feel of them) most have proved to be pretty reliable. I’d frankly take a CVT over one of the new nine or ten-speed automatics – for exactly the reasons you lay out in your question!

That said, you still have the option to go with a conventional (six speed) automatic in cars like the Mazda6 and Toyota Camry, both of which are excellent sedans. The Chevy Impala is a nice big car that also doesn’t – yet – use a CVT.

If you go back a few years – within the past five or so – you should be able to find cars like these with a manual transmission, if that is your preference. Keep in mind that almost any recent vintage car ought to be reliable/trouble-free for at least 150,000 miles – so buying a used one with say 50k on it is akin to buying a car with about 15-20,000 miles back in the ’80s!

. . .

Got a question about cars – or anything else? Click on the “ask Eric” link and send ’em in!

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  1. Darren, How goes it bro? I just have to say as a small boy that got older and larger, I always wanted to move to Australia. I was a died in the wool Texas cowboy but it seemed the down unders just pushed it further and had some strange creatures that appealed to me.

    I guess I didn’t really give up on the idea till the parliament pulled one of those Cheney/Bush false flag shitties and took everybody’s gun who hadn’t had the foresight to never register for one. And then they came up with that batshit crazy law of throwing people into prison just for having a name on their vest and riding a motorcycle. Now that really is batshit but probably no more than our TSA.

    Well, now it’s a draw and Texas has come back up in the comparison of the two….for me. Don’t get me wrong, Texas is the worst it’s ever been and plenty batshit crazy in it’s own right, esp. with the Hispanics screaming “white supremacist” at every mention of our heritage and history. I didn’t even know I was a racist till they kept saying I was. I need to discuss this with my Mexican friends who work for a living and are damned fine truckers if I may say so. Nobody has mentioned me being racist but those shrill women keep screaming it.

    Anyway, I got up this morning and had so little equilibrium I was appalled….and don’t know why. I guess yall get that a lot with all the blood draining to your head being upside down and all. I suppose the average person there has developed some way to stay on an even keel so it’s just like everywhere else, it’s the politicians who have never overcome most problems everyone else solved naturally. Yeah, we got it here too and you’d think the Tx. lege was full of tick-like creatures with their heads stuffed full of blood and unable to have a cogent thought. Oh wait, it is, and it’s my blood they’re gorged on….never mind. I guess the more difference there appears to be the more things are the same everywhere. Good luck with that gun thing and here’s to avoiding an influx of non-readers into your land. Probably most of us just hold our guns and think about what could have been and say “Shit, the entire world is batshit”…..which it is…..or as far as I can tell it is. Anyway, Cheers and tip a cool one for me.

      • eric, it will be those “good Republicans” in the NRA that’s queer the whole deal. 10 days or so into the Las Vegas thing when the screaming was reaching a crescendo some batshit woman politician(I guess that’s a oxymoron some way)proposed banning add-ons to guns…..not having a clue that buying a rifle is generally like buying some eggs and calling it breakfast. But who jumped right on that bandwagon before the entire idea gained no traction at all? Yep, the NRA said it was a fine idea. They always have a group they throw to the dogs every time some shitty happens and they’re all runing(well, ambulating)around and trying to assess a situation through intense senility. That’s hard to do when thinking’s never been your forte and then everything in your head hardened up and your brain resembles your legs with all those bad veins.

      • Oh thanks for the correction eric. And all of you as well. I’ve been on a long news blackout, but caught something on the_Donald that led me to skim the Breitbart headlines.

        I’ve finally been able to get out of the house for a bit and have been immersing in 100% spanish speaking environments for a few weeks as well. Nice to get a break from one’s severely sundowning parents.

        At home I have a dozen older computers I’m trying to rehab. Not as cool as wrenching but a lot cheaper and easier for me.

        Also this is my annual hibernation time where I get back to my baseline weight and concentrate on health and strength instead. Gonna need to drop 15-25 pounds this year, which is hard to do when my first meal is always modelo or corona. Can’t change that up when its been working for so long.

        • Hi Tor,

          Sorry about your folks; this is among life’s toughest things to deal with. I hope they and you are doing all right.

          On the weight loss: You probably know this already, but the fewer carbs you consume – and the more protein you consume – the better. I manage to stay within 10 pounds of my ideal weight just by avoiding most bread/pasta and (yes) beer. I love them all, but…


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