Which brands are the best for those owners who wish to do their own Maint. & Repairs?

Hello CTC members. Can you offer your opinions on which brands are the easiest for DIY repairs and maintenance? Let’s assume this applies to a person shopping for a new car or relatively newish used car. Let’s leave classics and hot rod-type cars out of this for now. Feel free to offer as much info as you wish. What makes some brands easier to work on? For example, Subaru puts the oil filter right on top of the engine where one can simply twist it off. Any examples like that would be much appreciated. Thanks

This is from the last time a question was asked like this… lol

Are you mainly looking for oil changes, or getting into changing your own timing chain/belt yourself?? how deep are you willing to go with DIY repairs??

I always look to see how hard it would be to pull the engine/transmission, and if a strut with single lower control arm vs a multi link front suspension, that goes for the rear end also, how complicated it is?.. Look for the starter/alt etc locations…

Personally I go with Toyota 4 cylinders… not against V engines… would love a V6 Tacoma…

While driving around for a while, look at newer vehicles on the side of the road and on the back of tow trucks…

Look around on this forum, what is the least vehicle or brand you see needing help, newer vehicles in your range of buying only… check car complaints to see what it shows…

EDIT: spark plugs etc…

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This same type of question was asked 15 days ago and never reached a real answer .

I doubt if there are 1 out 50 vehicle shoppers that even think about this .


Agreed. But that leaves 320,000 possible shoppers per year. And those are our people. :slightly_smiling_face:


Nothing in the last 20 yrs. or so with a transverse V6 is easy. Transverse 4’s aren’t too bad. I’m tempted to say longitudinally mounted even the V8’s are OK, but then you run into things like this. You cant even see where the spark plugs are.
650 engine bay

The answer for anyone who has to ask is: None.


The manufacturer’s change their vehicle’s configuration year to year. So I wouldn’t necessarily make the buy or not buy decision based only on brand. The features I would look for are mostly the ease of access to

  • spark plugs
  • oil filter
  • pcv valve
  • the various fluid fill ports, engine oil, transmission fluid, power steering fluid, coolant

I’d also look at the repair time spec for commonly expected repairs

  • starter motor R & R
  • water pump R & R
  • coolant thermostat
  • Wheel bearings
  • CV joints and boots
  • brake pads & rotors (shoes/drums)

I would tend avoid a car with these features

  • V-shaped engine w/ transverse orientation
  • Very tightly packed engine compartment
  • Turbo
  • Unnecessary electronic gadgets and gizmos
  • Automatic transmissions and A/C, but would expect to probably have to live with these,. otherwise I’d have to eliminate nearly all modern cars,

Sometimes a V6 engine is needed in a front wheel drive vehicle
All engine compartments are crowded
Turbo’s are here to stay are are much better than years ago
Some of those electronic features make driving more enjoyable and safer and the fail rate is low
Automatic transmissions and Air Condition ( just stop George because that is wanted by most people)

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I have been in the automotive world for over 35 years and have meet thousands up on thousands of people, and I HAVE NEVER met someone WITH working AC that said I wish my car didn’t have AC, but I have met hundreds if not thousands of people that wished they had working AC… Street/strip and any kind of track/race cars aside…

I can all but promise you that you get in your car in my area of the world in the summertime and it is 130-140 degrees in your vehicle and the outside temp is in the 90’s plus, and the heat index is 105 plus and the humidity is very high to the point, you can shower and put on clean cloths and walk outside and the sweat immediately starts pouring off you, that you WILL want AC in your vehicle…

Remember that not everyone lives in the same climate that you do, so telling people to not get a vehicle with AC and even a lot of/most people automatics (when you have one) is just plain being irrational…


Just posting a requested opinion. Folks are free to agree or disagree, that’s how an internet forum works. I see opinions here every day I don’t concur with, but feel no need to call them irrational.

Telling people to avoid very sought after item’s such as AC when the majority of people want it and since a lot of people can’t even drive a manual trans much less don’t want one in todays world is almost as bad as telling someone to buy a vehicle without seatbelts, windshield wipers and only buy hand crank to start vehicles, well that is irrational thinking…

A lot of your advice for the OP is pretty good, but telling someone NO AC in a hot & humid climate is irrational, besides AC will help to clear your windshield from fogging over and defrosting your windshield, so it can be a safety issue for those of us in not so perfect climates …

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I live in Albuquerque. The AC of my pickup doesn’t work. I haven’t been motivated to fix it.


If i may quote the great Vinny Barbarino “This is my place, and these are my people!”.

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And you drive less than a 100 miles a year according to your post, and your vehicle is a 1987 Toyota pickup with a carb on it according to your post, so I don’t think that you are in the market for a new(er) vehicle anyway…
There is nothing wrong with you not wanting working AC, nor driving an older vehicle, but come on really?, I think your comment about not been motivated to fix it (AC) is a little bit irrelevant to this discussion since you drive less than 100 miles a year…

Funny thing is I have worked with mechanics that moved here from Arizona and said that our very humid heat 90+ degrees summers are much worse then their dry 105 degrees… The old saying goes, it ain’t the heat, it is the humidity that makes it so hot, if you have never felt it, you can not understand it…

And again, nothing wrong with driving old(er) vehicles, to each their own…

There are always exceptions to every rule…

AC did not become ewsential in Western NY until the manufactures eliminated outside cowl or kick panel air vents and vent windows. The more upright windows and outside sun visors of earlier cars helped also. I had an 81 H9r8zon with an outside air vent and it was quite comfortable, The 87 Reliant had no outside vent and was a hotbox.

I believe the real reason the took wing windows off cars was not security as claimed, but to sell more A/C.


@oldtimer-11 - I think the real reason wing windows disappeared was noise, cost, weight, and fuel efficiency. And as a person who is always hot, I much prefer the stable temperature, dry air, and quiet of an air conditioned car.


Yes! Along with AC, I like being able to start my car from my phone. Yesterday, temperature was around 93 degrees, dog had a doctor’s appointment, did not want her subjected to 140 degree interior. Started the car while in the house, interior was cooled when we went out.

My dad did not like accessories on cars, just something else to go wrong. First car I looked at to buy was a ‘59 Ford. It had power steering, my dad pointed that out as a downside, salesman pointed out the belt to the PS pump, you don’t want power steering? Just take a knife to that belt.

+1. Low noise is my main motivation.

My phone is my key. As long as the app is open I don’t need to place my keycard on the center console.

Also, being able to remotely lock your car (if you find-out from your phone that it isn’t locked) is a nice advantage. My car’s phone app even tells me if any of the windows were left open, but–so far–it doesn’t have the ability to close them via the app.

When did I tell anyone to not buy AC?

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