Mitsubishi Mirage This sport compact offers economy without compromising comfort.

99 Mirage Newbie in Dire need of Maintenance

Old 01-24-2013, 07:00 PM
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Join Date: Jan 2013
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Exclamation 99 Mirage Newbie in Dire need of Maintenance

Friend just gave me a 1999 Mitsubishi Mirage. I am 25 years old and due to disability, this is the first car I have actually owned and had to worry about maintaining. I have been to AutoZone, and asked friends, etc. but I just can not find someone knowledgeable enough to really get me on the right track.

First off - The car sat for around 8 months without being cranked. I replaced the battery and it fired right up and I have been driving it for about 5 days (yes I know this is a terrible idea but my situation is dire. going to lose my place if I can't drive around to find full time work)

If someone could please help me by simply heading me in the right direction. I need a short list of the most CRITICAL things that should be done to prevent doing damage to the car over the next maybe FOUR MONTHS. Luxuries or paranoid precautions can be taken care of later. I can tell it is not running great. I need to tend straight to the most critical of maintenance procedures and I am dealing with pennies for a budget so anything unnecessary must wait.

I am also new to driving stick, with 24 hours of experience under my belt and so far having no problem getting the hang of it. But I need to know if there's anything I should be aware of because I already found out the hard way that there is a mechanism that prevents the car from being dropped down into 1st gear until the vehicle is at a complete stop. I was trying to force it every time until I figured this out. Things like that - would be good to know ahead of time before I cause damage. Or coasting to a stoplight while holding the clutch down instead of just throwing it into neutral. I was informed "riding the clutch" was very damaging.

I know zilch about the way a car works, yet I am a quick learner so from what I have gathered since yesterday, a few things that might need to be done are as follows below. These are all simply ideas given to me by others to show where I am at with my current level of understanding which is extremely low. If you would be so kind as to correct me, and categorize any response into a list of CRITICAL and non-critical. As far as the procedures themselves, I mainly plan on watching youtube videos to determine if it's something I can do on my own or something I will need to have a professional look at. I am not clumsy, just inexperienced yet very cautious. I am capable of doing anything as long as I understand how it works and I can find the right tools. I had to google where to pour the oil... That should give you a small idea of how much I know about the car... Like I said, never even been under the hood of a car.

- Drain and replace old gas with a half tank of premium, change fuel filter?

- Fluids changed? This is all speculation. Change the *oil, *power steering fluid, *coolant, *break fluid, are there more fluids?

*Oil - I put 5w-30, just a small bottle for starters because I didn't want to load it up only to have it drained when it is changed. It looked almost empty. The dipstick only had the very tip submerged. I was told manual transmission required thicker oil such as 5w-30? I need to have the oil changed either way.

*Power steering fluid - does it need changed? Or simply added upon? Power steering is not working. Can that cause damage? This could be due to the missing belt, but perhaps it also needs fluid once the belt is replaced I will figure that out. How do I drain this? I will look for a youtube video.
I have the owner's manual I downloaded, this might help too.

*Coolant - Need draining? Or simply filled. How do I know which type of coolant to use? Is draining and replacing it easy? How long should the car sit and cool off (40-60 F temp weather in day time)? I was told not to mix coolant so I assume I will need to drain it first? I don't even see any in the "reservoir" which could be pretty dangerous if it wasn't 30-50 Fahrenheit outside.

*Break fluid - ?? Need attention? Complicated or expensive?

- AC is broken, as long as that won't cause damage I will neglect that for later.

- The throttle position sensor needs replacing according to the diagnostic performed by AutoZone. He asked a few questions and confirmed a few symptoms such as having trouble getting into first gear and occasional stalling. This appears to be one of those super-basic jobs. The cost of the part (about $80-110) is too much for me at the moment (I'm dealing with pennies as a budget at the moment). Can neglecting this for a few months cause serious damage?

- Filters? Which ones are critical to replace, and how might I find the proper filter? Are the air filter and fuel filter the only filters in the vehicle? The air filter is right on top, seems easy. I am told the fuel filter is more complicated. Especially for a guy with a near empty apartment and no tools.

- Where can I get cheap parts and fluids from?

The power steering and AC are negligible as long as it's not something that can put the car out of commission imminently. Please, any tips on how I can make sure this car stays running without being damaged are GREATLY appreciated. I am also new to forums so please inform me if I end up breaking a rule, posting wrong area or having improper manners. I simply wish to figure out how I can keep this car running so that it doesn't give out on me. Only the critical elements first. Then as I earn more money, I will get it cleaned up and running stronger, with more pleasantries such as power steering and AC.

I absolutely would really appreciate any suggestions or similar experience, even if you aren't willing to write a novel detailed with instructions or references... Just tell me if I am on the right track. I just don't know anything about this =\

Thanks so much for reading... Sorry for writing a novel on a car forum!
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