Huaxia Xia's infodesk :: Car

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Try to get driving license first:

Search for a used car:

  1. What kind of car should you buy?
    Free decision guide by AutoTrader, and Overstock.
    How to Choose a "Right" Car? from Samarins.
    Reliability ratings from JD Power consumer center
  2. Free pricing by Kelly Blue Book and Edmunds.
  3. Classified ads by
  4. Check the vehicle history from Carfax or Autocheck. Autocheck is becoming more popular and has better price.
  5. Make a call: it is good to make a call before go to test drive.  You should make it clear after the call:
        year &  model
        options (power window, power mirror, power seats, CD, etc.)
        Vin number
        clean title or not
        ever in accident
        How is the body ( if you care )?
        How it runs?
        Anything needs repair?
        Do you have all the service records?
        Has the timing belt been changed?
        Are you the first owner?
        Are you a dealer or private seller?
        Do you have the smog check of the car?
        and the always asked question: Why do you want to sell it? (but don't believe everything.)
        Finally, you should ask for the address if you want to take a look:-)

On buying a used car:  Test drive and buy...

  1. You'd better read the information on registration & title from DMV before buying a car.
  2. If you want to buy it, you'd better make a mechanical check first.   The price for a basic check is about $30, and for a complete check is about $60.
  3. Does the owner has service records?   Owner's manual?   Smog check?   (According to the website of DMV, it's the seller's obligation to provide the purchaser with evidence of a valid smog certification)   Have you checked the vehicle history from Carfax or Autocheck?
  4. Ask for the endorsed title. This is the certificate that proves your ownership on the car.

After buying the car:

1. Buy insurance.
    The insurance I am using is Farmers insurance group, agency: Jao. H. Kim, located in 7750 Dagget St., Suite 206, tel:858-278-7727 or 619-203-7717(page).   It?s near Convoy & Balboe. You can take bus 41, transfer to 27 at Balboe and get off at Convoy& Balboe.
    Some people use "California Brokerage", (619) 283-9999, 2848 El Cajon Blvd, San Diego, CA 92104.  But it's far if you take bus :-)  Seems it's a good choice if you have only learner's permit.
    There're also many people who use AllState Insurance.   The two agents are: Zeng Jing, 858-268-7010, her office is at 7323 Convoy Ct # B111, just in front of the 99 supermarket; Patrick Wang, 858-623-3344, 8650 Genesee Ave # 108.
    AAA club also provides auto insurance.
    You can find many other insurance companies in the Yellowbook.

2. Go to DMV to transfer the ownership in 10 days.
3. Join the AAA Club.   They provide free maps and emergency assistant.  It seems USECU has $10 off coupon for the first year membership.
4. Make maintenance regularly according to the previous service records. Generally, oil change is necessary every 3000 miles and complete service is needed every 30,000 miles. More advice about car maintenance can be found at your car manual and CarTalk:Advice at

Other things

1. How does the car work?   Look into the engine, transmission, brake, ACCU Interactive Car: have a very cool interactive car demo!

2.Don't you want yourself to become a car expert?   Read the "how to" from: Tech Center: Tells a lot of tips about how to keep your car going and going and going.
NAPA Online: provides many tips on repair and service and also problem diagnosis.  
Kids and Cars: Informational website completely centered around car safety for kids and young adults.

3.Where to buy auto parts?
AutoZone:, 6085 Balboa Ave. San Diego, CA 92111.  Mon-Sat:8:00 AM - 10:00 PM Sun:9:00 AM - 9:00 PM.   (858) 279-8771
NAPA:, 7440 Convoy St, San Diego CA, 92111. (619)696-6272.
Auto Work: besides Hometown Buffet
Al & Ed's Autosound: 5789 Miramar Rd, very kind & honest guy.   For car audio.

4. What to know the brands, logos, and prices?
Car companies, countries and brands
Car logos
Car Safety: A fun interactive resource aimed to help educate families on cars and driving safety

5.How to drive like a Moron?  Read the tutorial at carefully.  What's a "Moron"? (You can look the dictionary of

Car Repair Shops:

The following is a brief statistic from the maillist about the garage shops. I just count the number of people who said whether a shop is good or bad. (date: 20020302 - 20020521)
Mira Mesa Auto Techs(9560 Black mountain Rd Suite A, 92126, Tele number:(858)693-6209 Mr Chen)
G. Win Auto (8448 Miracrest Pl # A, 92121, Tele: (858) 457-2008)
Pacific Auto Service()
TAB's Toyota
TAP Auto Care(convey)
Japanese Auto Tech (6696 Miramar Rd # N, 92121, (858)546-8363)
Star Auto (Dowdy) (9220 Dowdy Dr # F-G, 92126, (858)578-6315)
The Brake Shop (5750 Miramar Rd)
??? (8873 Balboa Ave, #ABC, San Diego, CA 92123)
On Time (6670 Miramar Rd # C, 92121, (858) 452-9999)
Body shop:
United Auto Body (Miramar Rd)
Kearny Mesa Auto Body (half a block from the intersection of Convoy and Engineering Rd, behind Pacific Honda)
Smog Check: (many shops can do smog check, like "Star Auto". But sometimes, you may be asked to do smog check at a "smog check only" shop, here're those I know:)
South Cal Smog 4645 Ruffner St. Ste. E, San Diego, 92111, (858)576-0375 (Smog Check Only)

Misc Links: a detailed car care guide and a great car repair instructions.
Car Buying Tips: some useful tips for buying new/used cars.  Also a good article for jump start.
Car and Drive
Alternator Starter Express: to purchase alternator & starter.
Car won't start, symptoms, diagnosis, and possible cure

  Goto top click here.
 If you have any suggestions, please email me.