New to cars

May 28, 2018
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Hello, so I just bought my first car and I’m very excited about it. It is a 2007 Scion tC automatic. I was wondering if anyone has owned one or owns one currently that could just give me your opinion on the car? I have noticed that the brakes have to be pushed down a bit more than other cars I’ve driven, and it feels like it’s faster than it actually is, could it be that it’s a smaller car in general? I’m 6’1” so don’t have a ton of headroom. If anyone has any opinions on the car or tips for driving it and enjoying it please let me know. As I said I’m completely new to owning a car. Thanks.
 
Absolute most important thing is make sure the motor oil and filter is changed at recommended intervals, and with the correct weight oil. This, more than anything, will ensure the engine lasts forever.

If the check engine light ever comes on, auto parts stores such as AutoZone, etc., will scan the codes for free.

The brake pedal COULD suggest brake pads that are a bit low/worn, or it could just be the nature of the brakes on that car in general. It also couldn't hurt to take a look at the brake fluid level. It could be a little low (which could also suggest that the pads are worn to near the end of their life).

I had one car where it seemed the brakes would catch much earlier than I'd expected along the brake-pedal travel.

What you might do, if you just want to learn more about general maintenance or how to take care of it is to get a repair manual on it. It'll seem intimidating at first, but, even if you don't do more than just look at/inspect things, and never actually repair them, knowing what you're seeing and being able to identify both components, and issues, is satisfying.

As to it feeling fast - some cars feel like they're going faster than they are, some slower. A buddy of mine had a 1978 Lincoln Town Car. A land yacht. He was driving it one night, and I was lying down in the back seat, and asked him why he was only going 25-30 MPH. Turns out he was doing 60, but the car just completely insulated you from it all.

Sportier cars, such as the tC, might feel faster. Smaller, lightweight cars often feel fast because it doesn't take a whole lot of power to make them really move - so the power feels amplified.

I'm given to understand that the tC is a pretty good car overall, though I've never owned one. Scion is a Toyota brand, and Toyotas have a stellar reputation for reliability, although with older cars, it often boils down to how well the previous owner maintained it.


Quick bit of info on the car - yours is a 1st generation:
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Scion_tC
 
May 28, 2018
85
11
35
0
Absolute most important thing is make sure the motor oil and filter is changed at recommended intervals, and with the correct weight oil. This, more than anything, will ensure the engine lasts forever.

If the check engine light ever comes on, auto parts stores such as AutoZone, etc., will scan the codes for free.

The brake pedal COULD suggest brake pads that are a bit low/worn, or it could just be the nature of the brakes on that car in general. It also couldn't hurt to take a look at the brake fluid level. It could be a little low (which could also suggest that the pads are worn to near the end of their life).

I had one car where it seemed the brakes would catch much earlier than I'd expected along the brake-pedal travel.

What you might do, if you just want to learn more about general maintenance or how to take care of it is to get a repair manual on it. It'll seem intimidating at first, but, even if you don't do more than just look at/inspect things, and never actually repair them, knowing what you're seeing and being able to identify both components, and issues, is satisfying.

As to it feeling fast - some cars feel like they're going faster than they are, some slower. A buddy of mine had a 1978 Lincoln Town Car. A land yacht. He was driving it one night, and I was lying down in the back seat, and asked him why he was only going 25-30 MPH. Turns out he was doing 60, but the car just completely insulated you from it all.

Sportier cars, such as the tC, might feel faster. Smaller, lightweight cars often feel fast because it doesn't take a whole lot of power to make them really move - so the power feels amplified.

I'm given to understand that the tC is a pretty good car overall, though I've never owned one. Scion is a Toyota brand, and Toyotas have a stellar reputation for reliability, although with older cars, it often boils down to how well the previous owner maintained it.


Quick bit of info on the car - yours is a 1st generation:
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Scion_tC
Thank you so much for getting back to me. I plan on taking automotive classes next school year to learn more about the car. When we bought the car the dealership said the brakes were about 60 percent. Their was a small bit of rust on the disks but that’s mostly come off. How would I check brake fluid to see if it’s low? I plan on doing regular maintence on it also, oil filter and oil changes. As for speed I can kinda see because the thing is under 3k pounds. It has like 170 foot pounds of Tork to the wheels so it has some pick up and go. My main concern is the brakes and having the pedal almost to the floor.
 
Almost to the floor is concerning, maybe. Surface rust will form on the discs pretty easy from sitting for a while, especially if you're in a non-dry climate (I live in NJ, so, yeah, it'd probably happen from sitting for a week)

There should be a master-cylinder, with a plastic container and brake fluid, with a designation for MIN and MAX on it... however the brief searching I did to get photos of what the car is like underhood shows things are packed in there pretty tightly.

The cap to which you can add the fluid to the reservoir should indicate that it is for brake fluid, and should specify which type. Typically DOT3 or DOT4, though if it says DOT 3 you can also use DOT 4, but not the other way around.

DOT 5 is a completely different animal (silicone, if I'm not mistaken) that is absolutely NOT compatible with DOT 3 or 4.

I'd say when you have time, just look around at the various things under the hood, most particularly familiarize yourself with anything that you can add fluid to (typically white-ish plastic containers) and make sure you know what kind of fluid goes where. You NEVER want to add the wrong fluid to the wrong place.


Ah, the power-to-weight reminds me of my old 1991 Buick Century. 160 horsepower, 185 ft-lbs, car weighed 2900 pounds, but had very soft, mushy handling (it was really more for the senior-citizens market), but man, that thing moved pretty impressively for a car that looked like it needed a bumper sticker that read "I brake for bingo" lol
 
May 28, 2018
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Almost to the floor is concerning, maybe. Surface rust will form on the discs pretty easy from sitting for a while, especially if you're in a non-dry climate (I live in NJ, so, yeah, it'd probably happen from sitting for a week)

There should be a master-cylinder, with a plastic container and brake fluid, with a designation for MIN and MAX on it... however the brief searching I did to get photos of what the car is like underhood shows things are packed in there pretty tightly.

The cap to which you can add the fluid to the reservoir should indicate that it is for brake fluid, and should specify which type. Typically DOT3 or DOT4, though if it says DOT 3 you can also use DOT 4, but not the other way around.

DOT 5 is a completely different animal (silicone, if I'm not mistaken) that is absolutely NOT compatible with DOT 3 or 4.

I'd say when you have time, just look around at the various things under the hood, most particularly familiarize yourself with anything that you can add fluid to (typically white-ish plastic containers) and make sure you know what kind of fluid goes where. You NEVER want to add the wrong fluid to the wrong place.


Ah, the power-to-weight reminds me of my old 1991 Buick Century. 160 horsepower, 185 ft-lbs, car weighed 2900 pounds, but had very soft, mushy handling (it was really more for the senior-citizens market), but man, that thing moved pretty impressively for a car that looked like it needed a bumper sticker that read "I brake for bingo" lol
Thanks for the differences on fluid, I had no clue which was which. I’ll poke around tonight and see if the container is low. I don’t think it’s leaking but it could. It could just be the car too. Lol that sounds a lot like this one except it turns pretty sharp. I’m from northern Wisconsin so rust is most likely gonna happen. Maybe I’ll take it down a back road get it up to speed and break hard just to see if anything acts up.
 
I wouldn't suggest hard braking or anything. Just drive the car as you normally would (though with sporty cars, uh, I tend to drive a little more aggressively . . and blame the car for being a bad influence lol) as you want to see how things feel normally.

Still, checking the brake fluid level is a good start.
 
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I wouldn't suggest hard braking or anything. Just drive the car as you normally would (though with sporty cars, uh, I tend to drive a little more aggressively . . and blame the car for being a bad influence lol) as you want to see how things feel normally.

Still, checking the brake fluid level is a good start.
well i dont mean to destroy the brakes or get the car to skid, but to get up to a reasonable speed then slow it down somewhat quickly. And ill take your advice about the car being the influence lol. Thank you so much for your help, i wasnt sure if this section of the forms was still alive or not. I really didnt have anywhere else to go but here because all the other forms ive tried are usually dead.
 
Reactions: King_V
U bought this from a third party u ought to have it check it out with a mechanic. If u bought this from a name brand dealer (not a used car lot) then probability is, don't have to do anything major in the near future. If used car lot, ouch! don't get killed :(
 

npt2404

Prominent
Jul 31, 2017
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Congrats on the purchase! As I'm sure you know, Scion was Toyota's brand. If it's anything like Toyota Corolla cars, you have a very reliable vehicle.

Just a few web resources and additional thoughts:
To learn anything and everything (and more than needed for average car owner) about motor oil, transmission fluid and other related automotive topics:
https://www.bobistheoilguy.com/forums

To learn more about Scion cars check out these forums and when you find one that you like the most register and contribute (there are likely other forums - Google/Yahoo/Bing/etc search is your friend):
https://www.scionlife.com/forums
https://clubsciontc.com/forums

Assuming you don't know anything about vehicle's repair and maintenance history, I suggest you take it to an independent mechanic and then start the process of having him/her (or yourself) replacing all or most fluids and worn parts. May not have funds for everything at once but I'd start the sooner the better as who knows how well the car's been taken care of. Here are some examples:
  • motor oil and filter (suggest Toyota-branded oil/filter or high quality equivalent per owner's manual)
  • automatic transmission fluid and, if accessible, filter (see owners manual, likely best to use Toyota-branded fluid but high-quality aftermarket should be ok)
  • brake fluid
  • coolant/antifreeze
  • brake pads and discs if worn (ask mechanic you trust)
  • struts/shock absorbers if leaking, car too bouncy, etc
At 12+ years on the road, the vehicle has plenty of components that are nearing end of life. But that's normal, not something to be worried about. Start putting money away for both routine maintenance like fluids and broken parts (suspension, brakes, electronics).

Enjoy!
 

Math Geek

Glorious
Herald
i also tend to replace spark plugs and wires or coils depending on which it has. these are often neglected and can make a big difference is mpg as well as how well the engine runs.

but the rest of the list above is good to look into. especially transmission filter and fluid. i've had cars brought to me with 100k+ miles that still has factory fluid in it!! well worth replacing to keep trans working well.

shocks and struts can also make a big difference in how it drives. most cars have OEM supplied quick struts which are VERY easy to replace and require little knowledge of what's going on there. they are worth the price but don't get the cheap no name ones, spring for the factory spec ones and you'll be happy.
 
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May 28, 2018
85
11
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i also tend to replace spark plugs and wires or coils depending on which it has. these are often neglected and can make a big difference is mpg as well as how well the engine runs.

but the rest of the list above is good to look into. especially transmission filter and fluid. i've had cars brought to me with 100k+ miles that still has factory fluid in it!! well worth replacing to keep trans working well.

shocks and struts can also make a big difference in how it drives. most cars have OEM supplied quick struts which are VERY easy to replace and require little knowledge of what's going on there. they are worth the price but don't get the cheap no name ones, spring for the factory spec ones and you'll be happy.
How would i know if it would need changing? I cant exactly just drain the whole car and fill it back up, dont have the money for fluids atm. I plan on setting money aside for basic maintenance like oil change or adding coolant if needed.
 
May 28, 2018
85
11
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Congrats on the purchase! As I'm sure you know, Scion was Toyota's brand. If it's anything like Toyota Corolla cars, you have a very reliable vehicle.

Just a few web resources and additional thoughts:
To learn anything and everything (and more than needed for average car owner) about motor oil, transmission fluid and other related automotive topics:
https://www.bobistheoilguy.com/forums

To learn more about Scion cars check out these forums and when you find one that you like the most register and contribute (there are likely other forums - Google/Yahoo/Bing/etc search is your friend):
https://www.scionlife.com/forums
https://clubsciontc.com/forums

Assuming you don't know anything about vehicle's repair and maintenance history, I suggest you take it to an independent mechanic and then start the process of having him/her (or yourself) replacing all or most fluids and worn parts. May not have funds for everything at once but I'd start the sooner the better as who knows how well the car's been taken care of. Here are some examples:
  • motor oil and filter (suggest Toyota-branded oil/filter or high quality equivalent per owner's manual)
  • automatic transmission fluid and, if accessible, filter (see owners manual, likely best to use Toyota-branded fluid but high-quality aftermarket should be ok)
  • brake fluid
  • coolant/antifreeze
  • brake pads and discs if worn (ask mechanic you trust)
  • struts/shock absorbers if leaking, car too bouncy, etc
At 12+ years on the road, the vehicle has plenty of components that are nearing end of life. But that's normal, not something to be worried about. Start putting money away for both routine maintenance like fluids and broken parts (suspension, brakes, electronics).

Enjoy!

Thanks for the links, they are very helpful. I can say your right when it comes to not knowing anything about maintenance. I plan on taking some courses soon to teach me about basic automotive maintenance. I plan on setting aside money to do basic maintenance myself. Saving money in the long haul. I dont know however about replacing everything on the car. So far its run pretty nice, only issue is brake pedal feels soft. May have to blead the lines. Im hoping not. Thanks once again for the help. :)
 

Math Geek

Glorious
Herald
after the next time you drive it, leave it running and pop the hood. there will be a dipstick somewhere above the transmission to check the trans fluid. take this out, wipe it off and then insert it again. this time when you take it out, the level should be inside the min/max lines. if it's low, then you need to add some by pouring it right down that same tube.

look at the fluid. it should be a nice pinkish color and look "fresh" if it is black and has flakes of stuff in it, then it needs to be changed out. the smell is also a good way to tell. if it smells burnt or metallic, then it should also be replaced.

what you need to do is find that friend in your neighborhood that already works on cars. that guy will be happy to show you the basics. my dad taught me when i was a kid well before i had my first car. i could strip a car to the block by the time i was 10. but find that guy who can do that and ask him to help teach you the stuff. i'm sure a few bucks would not hurt to help motivate him. i fixed all my friends cars in high school and picked up a lot of extra cash and i'm sure others would be happy to do the same and help you learn at the same time :)
 
May 28, 2018
85
11
35
0
after the next time you drive it, leave it running and pop the hood. there will be a dipstick somewhere above the transmission to check the trans fluid. take this out, wipe it off and then insert it again. this time when you take it out, the level should be inside the min/max lines. if it's low, then you need to add some by pouring it right down that same tube.

look at the fluid. it should be a nice pinkish color and look "fresh" if it is black and has flakes of stuff in it, then it needs to be changed out. the smell is also a good way to tell. if it smells burnt or metallic, then it should also be replaced.

what you need to do is find that friend in your neighborhood that already works on cars. that guy will be happy to show you the basics. my dad taught me when i was a kid well before i had my first car. i could strip a car to the block by the time i was 10. but find that guy who can do that and ask him to help teach you the stuff. i'm sure a few bucks would not hurt to help motivate him. i fixed all my friends cars in high school and picked up a lot of extra cash and i'm sure others would be happy to do the same and help you learn at the same time :)
Oh ok, im not sure about leaving it running but maybe right after i shut it off ill pull the dip stick. As for a neighbor i just happen to live right next to a person who works on cars. He is gonna help me look at the brakes to see if their bad or not. He probably could show me basic stuff.
 

Math Geek

Glorious
Herald
leaving it running is fine so long as you don't try to grab anything spinning :D

the dipstick should be right on top and easy to get to. but if you do it right after turning it off, then it would probably not mess up the reading any. i'm glad your neighbor is willing to help some. offer to help him work on his car as well. may not be a problem you have now, but might be one in the future.

as i mentioned, if you can do basic stuff like change brakes, fluids and spark plugs, you can make some easy cash working on friends cars. everyone's first car is used and probably high mileage. they will all need some work here and there. and being able to do it, is a nice thing to know. i used to do brake jobs in the school parking lot after school while folks were doing whatever activities they did. just kept my tool box in the trunk and would run to local parts store when i needed to. never needed a job as i made plenty this way.
 

Math Geek

Glorious
Herald
other thing to note is that diagnosing problems is the hard part. once you know what has to be replaced, that's the easy part. it's simply a matter of taking off stuff until you get to the broken piece. then reversing the order to put it back together. some of the major jobs are harder of course but things like brakes are very easy to complete.

youtube is great for videos on how to do stuff. i wish i had that 30 years ago when i was learning. we only had books and cranky old people to help out :kikou:
 
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