Which post-2000 cars are easy to work on?

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As a shade tree mechanic, the ability to fix your car is critical... Which "new" or "newer" cars are relatively easy to self-service... that is, well designed engine bay with lots of room.
 

Bill in Utah

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2003 - 2008 Toyota Corolla. PLENTY of room on all sides, simple engine with oil filter that is EASY to get to. Well designed car. The drain plugs, filters, PCV, spark plugs, are simple. Intake is in front and exhaust in rear so no burns. Take care, Bill
 
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how much "service" do you want? plugs, filters, and fluids? Timing belt or chain? shocks/struts? Intake and exhaust replacement? Clutch R&R? Engine R&R? Transmission R&R? My 2002 2.0l Mazda Protege5 is pretty easy to work on for usual tune-up and wear items. I can change plus in 5 minutes including gathering tools, literally. My 2004 F-150 is not as easy to work on but has more room under the hood. More room can also equate to "can't reach it" because it far away from a reasonable working position.
 
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Yes, fully agreed with Bill's comments. In addition to that, Camry 2002~present 2.4L (mine 2AZFE) has lots of rooms to work on too, good, sensible designs and I luv servicing them.
 
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I will jump on the Corolla bandwagon. We have a 2006 LE. Lots of room as mentioned. Some nice touches include a drain plug and dipstick for the automatic transmission making ATF drain and fills not much harder than an oil change and nice, built in, jack points in the front and back that make it easy to get both front or back wheels off the ground at once For a frightening engine compartment, find a picture of that on a 2009 VW TDI. It looks somewhat akin to an open sardine tin.
 
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There is no car that's universally "easy" to work. For each car there will be some things that are really easy to do but some things equally difficult. For instance, on Honda 4 cylinder engines it's really easy to change the plugs. However, either the alternator or a/c compressor will be relatively difficult to get at. You'll also have poor access to the oil filter. This compares to a GM V6 I had where the alternator and serpentine were really easy to replace but the plugs were difficult and the battery took 15 min to get to. So pick your poison. Then there are mid-engine cars which are plain nasty
 
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Ford Focus...very easy to work on. There isn't much I can't do on my 2003 2.3L; not to mention parts are cheap. The only real PTA about this car is the PCV valve....changing that requires removing the intake manifold. Not terrible, as the manifold is just plastic with no coolant running through it, but still...PTA for a part that does need to be changed on occasion.
 
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 Originally Posted By: pzev
Ford Focus...very easy to work on. There isn't much I can't do on my 2003 2.3L; not to mention parts are cheap. The only real PTA about this car is the PCV valve....changing that requires removing the intake manifold. Not terrible, as the manifold is just plastic with no coolant running through it, but still...PTA for a part that does need to be changed on occasion.
The PCV valve is the easiest part to replace on my 99 Saturn SL2. Other nice features: Drain plug and spin on filter on Auto Transmission. Parts are cheap and there is a ton of DYI info at SaturnFans Forums and YouTube. The Corolla sounds like my next vehicle....
 
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In general, many 4 cylinders are spacious under the hood and easy to work on. and if you find a 4 cyl RWD it may be even easier! (mini or mid pickups)
 
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00-02 Saturn S-series.. It doesn't get much simpler than that. I love working on my 96. Parts are all cheap except for the odd thing, and all easy to change, except for the odd thing :P As stated before, there is no car that is going to be easy to do every last thing.
 
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Subaru. Everything is on top and up front...A/C compressor, Alternator, power steering pump, belts face you and are right there, even the starter is on the top of the engine and reachable without removing much or anything (non-turbo). You don't even need to raise the car to do oil changes on most models, just reach under (filter is in the front), and the drain plug hole is 20mm so changes are done QUICK.
 

PT1

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Second generation Honda CRV for sure. An infant could change the engine, trans and rear diff oils. No jacks needed and all the driveline plugs use a 3/8 ratchet head to remove them. Just dump and pump.Tune up is simple air filter even easier. Tools needed to do all above mentioned work: Flat blade screwdriver 3/8 ratchet 3/8 8" drive extension spark plug socket 3/8 14mm socket 3/8 oil filter cap wrench
 
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I found the 2nd Gen Neon's easy to maintain ..even repair/replace stuff. While the compartment was cramped, the dismantling of the jig-saw puzzle was simple enough. My son's appears to be totally intuitive in the hoop jumping required to do anything. All localized obstacles. The later evolutions don't appear too much different (post 2000). Those challenges aren't challenges. The installations that take some acquired skill to "get it" are the worst encounters. My 2002 Wrangler is easy enough. They couldn't make it all easy. The front plug is crowded by the AC compressor. Just 1/2" more outboard and it would be a straight deal. It requires a flex plug socket ..which works just fine for taking it out ..the re-installation is flopping around a bit. ..but that's about the worst of it.
 
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I can't say. The brakes and struts on my 02 Cavalier were no worse than anything else. In fact, I think the shoe hold clips in the back were easier than the regular springs and nails. Other than that, I haven't much in 150K.
 
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 Originally Posted By: addyguy
NOT NOT NOT Chevrolet Cavaliers or Pontiac Sunfires!!! STAY AWAY if you want easy DIY stuff!!!
Just what is difficult on these? I had one and thought it was very simple to work on - except the oil filter was in a terrible location.
 
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