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Hi all!
I wonder how we all managed to keep our cars running before there were forums. I consider a good forum to be one of the essential tools in my toolbox when it comes time to solve a problem and keep my cars running. I am GLAD to be here.
Friday, August 2, I bought a 2002 Hyundai Accent GL. I won't have the car for long but will probably be taking care of it for a long time. My daughter starts college in a few days and needs transportation so she can come home once in a blue moon to see daddy. Thanks to craigslist and Edmunds ratings/reviews (high reliability rating), I found this little sedan.
So far here is what I know. The car was purchased previously about 5 years ago with 90K on the odometer. It now had 159K, so that's about 12K a year. The previous owner, a young woman, was pretty good at service/upkeep as the glovebox was full of receipts. The car is a pretty basic model. White with grey interior, 4-speed automatic transmission, aftermarket radio and very basic, which is the way I like cars I have to work on.
Here are the problems, which I will be addressing in the appropriate sub-forum threads:
Needs an O2 sensor, and sounds like it has an exhaust leak. Haven't even crawled under her to see if the sensor is gone or what, but it is a bit loud under acceleration. I like being able to hear the car sing, but this is a bit much for a little sedan.
Slight vibration at 70+ MPH: but I saw in the reciepts she had in the glovebox where one time a technician suggested all the struts were shot. Will also inspect steering/suspension linkage, rotors, check alignment and wheel balance, etc. Not too concerned unless parts get expensive or something is unusually hard to replace.
Uses a little oil: noticed that often at oil change time it was low on the dipstick (again, tech's notes), but not sure yet if it is burning oil or leaking oil. Gotta clean the engine compartment for a starting point.
Transmission: here's where it gets ugly (for me). The car seemed to run fine on a test run, even up on the interstate. So I bought it for $1200. Back up on the interstate to drive it home (about 8 miles) and it kicked out of overdrive and refused to kick back in. A quick search here has given me a feel for this problem. The CEL is on, but figured that's the O2 sensor. Will check codes as soon as I can lay my hands on a reader. Interesting part of all this is that there is a reciept in the glovebox where the transmission was repaired. I suspect, because the reciept is lacking in detail, that a used transmission was installed. Either way, she spent $1600 about 3 years ago and now I have a problem,
So, here's the plan. The objective is to go thru the car and make it reliable before putting my baby in it for long drives.
First - change all fluids and filters. I like knowing when it's all been done and I know sometimes just having fresh fluids can solve some problems. If nothing else, it needs to be done and is preventative maintenance.
Second - detail the car inside and out (just so it's pretty again). There are some stains on the seats and carpet. The white finish is a bit dull. The headlights are glazed a bit (new ones are $65 on ebay). I like a clean and underside if I'm going to work on it.
Third - deal with the tranny, starting with the simplest possible causes and working my way up. If it really needs a new tranny, then it will find its way back on craigslist and we will try something different.
Fourth - Resolve any other problems (O2, shimmy, oil loss). Looks like this car can be worked on. Not a million things crammed under the hood.
Summary - I'm kinda excited that I found this thing. It isn't a style classic by any means, but I'm impressed with the reliability rating. I think it will make a good college commuter for an 18-year old, and be something daddy can take care of minor problems for the next few years. And my daughter is excited about replacing her '89 Sable that has a roulette wheel for an ignition switch (you never are sure if it will even start).
Looking forward to picking your brains.
Ben in northwest Arkansas
 
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