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MITBBS Automobile FAQ 0.

This document is organized trying to help answering basic question


about automobile. Copyright (C) 2007, Lewis.

This document is free document: you can redistribute it and/or modify


it under the terms of the GNU General Public License as published by
the Free Software Foundation, either version 3 of the License, or any
later version.

This document is distributed in the hope that it will be useful, but


WITHOUT ANY WARRANTY; without even the implied warranty of
MERCHANTABILITY or FITNESS FOR A PARTICULAR PURPOSE. See the GNU
General Public License for more details.

For detail information about GNU General Public License see


http://www.gnu.org/licenses/.

1. Anything you hear from others should be considered rumor if you


couldn’t find official document, which includes information you
read in this document.

2. Try www.google.com first for any official federal, state, city


law and rule. No need to ask on BBS because no one there can
explain the law better than law itself. And visit
http://en.wikipedia.org for any term explanation.

3. READ any paper you get from your insurance or dealer before you
ask question on BBS. You have right to CALL them for
clarification if you have any doubt about it. And make sure you
READ it before you sign any document. Once you sign it there is
very little chance you can make change to it.

4. Any suggestion in this document or you get from BBS are


suggestions only. You shouldn’t consider them as official answer
to your problem. Contact a lawyer for serious legal problem,
dealer for car problem, or government agency for official rule
explanation.

5. Don’t act like you are still in kindergarten. Do some homework


before you ask any question. And no need to beg for anything on
your knees because it is disgusting.

6. Driver License
a. It is illegal to drive an automobile without a valid driver
license. You should get your LC first before you go to
court if you did get catch by police. Study your state law
and get an idea what penalty you could get. Contact a
lawyer if thing could be serious.
b. It is illegal to drive an automobile with leaner permit
without a person over 21 having a valid driver license on
passenger side. You should get your LC first before you go
to court if you did get catch by police. Study your state
law and get an idea what penalty you could get. But usually
it is not considered a serious problem. If you can get your
LC quickly you can beg pardon from the judge. If the judge
is in a good mood your case will be dismissed. It is a
traffic violation problem, not felony.
c. Call your local MVA for any rule clarification. After 2002
rules changed a lot and frequently. Nobody on BBS can give
you exact right answer except your local MVA employee. If
it’s hard for you to get test pass try another MVA. You can
get your LC in any MVA office in your own state.
d. When taking driving test do exactly what your manual told
you to do. Adjust your mirror, look back for pedestrian and
moving vehicle, full stop at stop sign, drive at permitted
speed limit, full stop when merging from a small road to a
major one, full stop when making right turn at red light,
look for pedestrian at green light, always give signal when
change lane and making turn, and don’t forget your seat
belt. You will fail immediately if you don’t wear it.

7. Buy a car
a. Buy an account from www.carfax.com and check the VIN
number you get from the seller. It won’t tell you
everything though. But stay away from salvage title car,
big accident car. Fleet vehicle is owned by rental company
or any other commercial company. It may or may not be a
bad car. It all depends on the condition of the car.
b. There is no guarantee for mechanical check even done by a
garage. They only check certain obvious thing and driving
test. There are still many serious problem won’t be
discovered.
c. Visit www.edmund.com, http://autos.msn.com/default.aspx,
www.carsdirect.com, or any other web site and do some home
work before you buy a car. Asking which car you should buy
on BBS is kind of wasting time.
d. Make sure you get the title and signed by the seller when
you give him your money. Otherwise you are taking risk of
getting nothing.
e. Buy insurance before you go to MVA. Otherwise you won’t be
able to get registration card and plate. If you lie to
them when you get registration card and they find out
later you will be fined big money.
f. Even though somebody reported saving tax by report less
selling price of the vehicle you have a risk caught by MVA
cheating. You will have to pay the money back. It is not a
good idea to ask this kind of question on BBS. Keep it for
yourself.

8. Sell a car
a. Get a Bill of Sell template and get it signed by both
party. Both parties should sign title. Cash is the only
safe way to get money. Personal check is the most
dangerous one, if not the worst one.
http://www.dmv.org/bill-of-sale.php
b. Make sure you take off both plates from the car and return
them to your local MVA. They will refund you the remaining
registration fee and clear your record from that car so
you won’t be responsible for anything related to that car.
c. Put your ads free at
http://sfbay.craigslist.org/about/cities.html

9. Insurance
a. There are so many insurance companies. You can get a list
of them from
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_United_States_insuran
ce_companies. Not of all of them do business in your state.
And sometime you can get lower rate from local agent. You
have to do your own research. There are insurance company
rating from Consumer Report and www.jdpower.com. But these
rating are for customer services, not necessary give you
best rate.
b. In most sates it is illegal to drive a vehicle without
insurance. You have to study state law to find out if it
is required in your state.
c. It will depend on your state law and the police’s mood
whether or not you will be sent to jail. Consider a lawyer
in this situation.
d. Liability insurance is the basic insurance you need to buy,
which will cover damage and body injury to other party in
an accident if it is your fault. There is no deductible.
You will need to pay for remaining amount if the damage is
out of your insurance limit.
e. Comprehensive and collision coverage will pay for damage
made to your car by yourself. It’s required to have for
new car if you borrow any money from leinholder. There is
a deductible, say $500. That means the company will pay
amount greater than $500 and you will pay no more than
$500 for any incident. If the damage is less than $500 you
will pay by yourself.
f. In certain state you are required to buy un-insured
coverage, which will cover your damage if you are involved
in hit-and-run incident. You have to report to police and
get a case number. Then your insurance company can choose
give you a check or pay directly to a garage to repair it
for you.
g. In certain state you have to select PIP (Personal Injury
Protection)
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Personal_injury_protection.
You have to buy full coverage or opt out. When you buy
this coverage your insurance company will cover any
medical bill incurred. But this doesn’t limit your right
to pursuit legal right from any other party.
h. For anyone over 16 or 18 live together with you, you have
to report to insurance company, either put him on your
policy or exclude him from your policy. If excluded he
can’t drive your car. If you don’t report him and he got
into accident while drive your car your insurance company
won’t cover your damage or any other part’s damage.
i. For anyone who don’t live with you he can drive your and
get covered by your insurance. Your insurance company will
kick in first in case of an accident. If the damage is out
of your coverage limit the driver’s insurance will kick in
if he has insurance.
j. Insurance rate depends on your age, sex, residence, car,
purpose of commute, how far you drive, and so on. No one
can give you a quote except insurance company. It makes no
sense to compare two insurance quotes. But if you are
young and single you can lower your rate by adding an
experienced driver on your policy. It may not work for all.
k. Most insurance company will check your credit. And it is
illegal to give false information to insurance company.
They can increase your rate, or cancel your policy when
they find out later.
l. Don’t trust anyone in accident even he/she looks very
honest and nice. You want to call police anyway if you are
the victim. Take picture of the accident using a camera or
cell phone. It will give you less headache if you can find
any witness. Write down their name and phone number. Write
down other party’s plate number, driver name, driver
license, and insurance company and policy number. Be
careful somebody will give you false information. So write
down whatever you can find for your own good.
m. Don’t leave the scene before you get in touch with other
parties if it is your fault. People can report you as hit-
and-run. It’s a felony and can get you into jail. In case
you are in this situation find yourself a lawyer. No one
on BBS can help you.
n. In some state the state law only promise you certain
amount of repairing money, say $500 in MI, no matter whose
fault it is. It is called ‘No Fault’ law. It is designed
to prevent nonsense lawsuit. You need to study your state
law before you buy insurance. If you are in such a state
you better buy Comprehensive and Collision coverage in
order to get your car repaired in accident.

10. Start problem


a. Most of non-start problem is caused by battery. Even the
light and your radio still work your battery could be bad
also. For new battery there is a small light on the
battery. The light must be green for it to work. Jump
start your car by somebody and drive to Autozone and get
them check your battery and alternator. It’s free.
b. When the batter light stays on when you drive it indicates
something wrong with the alternator. Either the alternator
is dead or the belt is loose. Drive to Autozone and get
your alternator checked.
c. If your battery is good, then check the connector of the
battery. It could be loose or there is corrosion on it.
Clean the connector with baking powder solution.
d. The next thing you can check is the starter and solenoid.
Sometime you can start your car by hit the starter a
little bit. But that definitely means your starter is
dying. It could be a bad solenoid only. But it only costs
a little more to change the whole thing.
e. There are many other possibilities, like spark plug,
distributor, gas line, etc. If you still have problem with
start you better seek help from a garage.
f. Start problem diagnostic procedure
http://www.samarins.com/diagnose/index.html

11. Tire problem


a. You can buy cheap tires form www.tirerack.com. But you
have to install it yourself or get a garage doing it for
you.
b. If you buy from Costco or Sam’s club you get life time
free rotation and flat tire repair.
c. Inflate your tire to the figure from your car’s
manufacture, which could be found in your user manual,
passenger side door, or other place in your car. Don’t
inflate to MAX, which you found on tire.

12. Engine problem


a. You have a serious problem when you see ‘Check Engine’
light staying on. You can go to Autozone and let them
reading the error code from the car if your car is made
after 1995. You have to figure out yourself if it is made
before 1995. Some 1995 car also has OBDII adapter. You
need to check your user manual. Once you get your error
code you can go to www.google.com and find detail
information about it. Most likely you have to get it fixed
by dealer if it is serious.
b. If you see ‘Maintenance Req” it means you need to change
oil and oil filter or you forget to reset it when you
change oil last time. Read your manual to find out how to
reset that light.
c. Smoke from your tail pipe. White, you have head gasket
problem. It is serious engine problem. You need to fix it
soon. You engine oil will look like chocolate milkshake.
Or your dealer can check engineer oil element to tell you
exactly how bad it is. Blue, engine oil leak into cylinder
area. It’s common in old and high mileage car. Using
thicker weight engine oil can make the situation better.
Black, caused by excessive gas entering cylinder area and
can’t be burned completely. Some of the causes of excess
fuel are a carburetor that is out of adjustment, a faulty
fuel pump, a leaky fuel injector, or a faulty engine
computer or computer sensor.

13. AC problem
a. Most old car lacks Freon. The only allowed by environment
regulation now is R134A. If your car is old it may still
use R12, which is prohibited now. You have to go to a
garage and let them to evaporate out R12 before you can
add R134A. It is simple if your car uses R134A. You can go
to any auto parts store and buy R134A fill kit. Read your
manual or you can go to your local library find one repair
manual for your car. Locate the lower-pressure adaptor and
adapt the kit to the adaptor. In most case it is in blue
color. But your car maybe different. This is the first
step you should do if your AC is not working efficiently.
b.

14. Maintenance
a. Read your manual carefully. It has everything you need to
know about your car and basic maintenance information.

15. Online resource


a. Online repair video
http://www.prestone.com/carcare/howto.php
http://www.extremehowto.com/xh/article.asp?article_id=60
246
http://www.expertvillage.com/videos/rotors-replace-
check-inspect-brake-calipers.htm
http://www.expertvillage.com/videos/car-battery-change-
dead.htm
http://video.about.com/usedcars/Used-Car-Shopping.htm

b. www.dmv.org
c. www.google.com
d. www.wikipedia.com
e. www.edmunds.com
f. www.carfax.com
g.

16. Ticket
a. You should go to court fighting for any ticket you get.
You are not guilty until convinced by a judge. Most likely
you first ticket will be dismissed. But you should correct
your problem first, like getting LC, getting registration
card and sticker, buying insurance, repairing your broken
light. Even you can’t get it dismissed you still can make
a deal like paying fine without any point or reduced fine
etc.
b. Following traffic is not a good excuse for speeding.
c. Red light camera and speeding camera won’t add point to
your record.
d. You can get how many points you have on record by calling
your local MVA office.

17. Safe driving


The only way of safe driving is to pay attention to the
road and objects around you. Speeding is not legal but it won’t
necessary be dangerous if you are driving with caution. NEVER
drive under influence (DUI). It is not only dangerous, but has
serious consequences. Don’t drive long hours without rest. You
will loose your mind and get into trouble. If you put yourself
in other person’s position you will find driving much more
easier, like don’t block intersection!!!, don’t occupy left lane
on high way at low speed (especially with cruise control), let
people cut in if it won’t affect you too much, so on. Drive
safely.

18.