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CarDoc
CarDoc, Independent European Shop owner
Category: Car
Satisfied Customers: 6457
Experience:  20 years of experience working with European cars. Independent European shop owner and technician.
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Ok, so Im looking now at a Honda Accord or Toyota Corolla

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Ok, so I'm looking now at a Honda Accord or Toyota Corolla - had a /92 and loved it! so, wht about a BMW? For say, $6-7K? Are there any that are as good as an Accord that I Can afford? What are their +'s & -'s??? Never thought I could drive a beamer...:-) Also, thought about finding an "old lady car" - an early '90's Olds/Buick??? comfortable and not very reliable esp for LA, huh? I'm going crazy!!!! aaarrrggg!

CarDoc :

Hello, I'm Jason. I will do my best to answer your question quickly and accurately using the information you have provided.

CarDoc :

Ok, I've got to be completely honest here....

CarDoc :

a $6-7k BMW will cost quite a bit in maintenance and repair costs over the next 3 years

CarDoc :

I own and run a European auto repair shop and have had more than my share of conversations with customers, related to repair costs on their 10+ year old European cars

CarDoc :

And they ask my advice as to how to eliminate that

CarDoc :

And my answer is almost invariably "buy an Accord/Civic/Camry/Corolla"

Customer:

Ok, that's what I thought! Been looking at edmunds website - are they a reliable site? they seem to be and seem to "tell it like it is" no matter which car it is...

CarDoc :

Edmunds is a pretty good research site, yes

Customer:

the things that are most important to me - besides a good price! - are the usual "standards" - automatic/air/cruise/LOW road noise and comfortable seats...

CarDoc :

And for $7k, I'm sure you'll find exactly what you're looking for in an 8-10 year old vehicle that I describes previously

Customer:

and, of course, top MPG - My current little '92 subaru avgd 15 -16 intown and sometimes 26-7 on the hgwy - will these others do better?

CarDoc :

The accords, depending on which level you choose, should get close to 30 combined

Customer:

and, fyi, I have always had a 4 cylinder and they have NEVER gotten the mpg they were supposed to! gak!

CarDoc :

same with the others. The civic and corolla a bit better

Customer:

which has lowest road noise?

CarDoc :

On an 8-10 year old car, this will be dependent on a LOT of things.

Customer:

??

CarDoc :

Tires, recent suspension repairs, etc

CarDoc :

you can have two identical cars, each shod with different tires, and road noise can be appreciably different, up to 8-10 db difference

Customer:

huh! Didn't know suspension had to do w/road noise!

Customer:

wow

CarDoc :

that makes the most impact, other than glass sealing problems

Customer:

I do understand about the tires - any brand better for an accord than others?

CarDoc :

Stick with good name brands. Michelin, Bridgestone, Toyo, Yokohama, Continental, and you'll be fine

CarDoc :

no off-brand, no walmart/sears specials

CarDoc :

No matter what the salesman says "these are made by Michelin, but a private label"

CarDoc :

still with me?

Customer: replied 4 years ago.

ok - thanks! One more question - when my little Subie's headgasket started leaking - my mechanic added a heavy duty sealant that was supposed to seal the gasket - I didn't put much stock in it, and had to leave town the day after it was done - [mother ill] - I was gone for 7 wks - when I returned I fully expected the radiator and the overflow tank to be empty - they were not! I also drove it for about 3 miles and it did not over heat! Could it possibly be that the "fix" worked? and if so, how long can it be expected to last???? :-)

Unfortunately, while I'm qualified to be very specific about the BMW part of this question, and give you information related to reliability of the Asian makes and models, the Subaru-specific stuff is beyond my scope.

However, I will leave you with this. My folks have a 99 Forester, that had the same symptoms. They used the Subaru-specific sealer, from the dealer, and oddly, it's worked like a charm. And this is coming from somebody who doesn't ever believe there's a "mechanic in a can".
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