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But it’s cheap to repair: is it worth buying Lada Kalina for 300 thousand rubles

Already at the moment of reading the title, the opinions of readers are probably divided into at least three streams. A third already instinctively replies “it’s not worth it, this is a VAZ”, another third exclaims “for three hundred ?!”, and the rest thoughtfully props their heads with their hands and thinks: “for three hundred – alive, yes with a gun, yes with air conditioning, why not?” . As a matter of fact, we do not set ourselves the goal of convincing the first or convincing the second – unless to help the third. After all, our colleagues from Avito Auto suggest that among the conditional second generation cars that appeared in 2013, there really are options with a real automatic transmission, and if you do not concentrate on it, then the breadth of choice promises the right opportunity to find a living car for 300 thousand. to be prepared, what you need to pay attention to, and what can you just close your eyes to?
Strictly speaking, even with 300 thousand rubles in your pocket, you can not limit yourself to the second generation of Kalina and consider earlier cars that went into production in 2004. True, this approach is more likely to apply to those who love the “time capsule” and are not averse to finding an early car with extremely low mileage. Otherwise, it’s more logical to look at cars no earlier than 2013: in the second generation, the choice of gearboxes is much wider, and the average condition is better simply because of age. And age is a question, albeit not critical, but of great importance, like mileage. The fact that in the first generation Kalina were not only hatchbacks and station wagons, but also sedans, is offset by the appearance of a sister Grant, which can conditionally be considered an equivalent alternative, and even with the option to choose a liftback with a really large trunk. But since Grant was nevertheless positioned as a cheaper option, and Kalina claimed for a design and slightly better equipment, today we look only at her.

The condition of the body is something that can scare off a potential buyer already at the first stage of choosing a car. Those who believe that on a five-year-old car there can be no spots of rust creeping out from under the paint are likely to be disappointed: despite the fact that about half of the body parts are galvanized, the chances of encountering corrosion are quite high, and the signs of dealing with it are guaranteed. Almost all the typical problems encountered in used cars are relevant here. Point chipping does not always turn out to be unpleasant: it happens that the trace of a stone hitting a threshold does not rust for several months, and sometimes a tiny dot on a door or hood almost immediately attracts attention.

Sometimes external damage is not necessary for the appearance of bubbles: there are cars in which corrosion appears from under the windshield seal, swelling paint. The entire area around the windshield is in any case a problem place: with addiction it is necessary to examine the front edge of the roof, where the water under the seals is multiplied by chips, and the front pillars, and the space under the glass. The repainted hood is not a reason to be upset or refuse to buy: it is easier to repaint the whole after 5 years than to deal with chips. The same applies to bumpers: the paint is thin and reluctant to hold onto the plastic, and after repainting – even worse, so you can either close your eyes for cosmetic defects or bargain for a small discount.

Inspection from below can reveal not only a rusty exhaust system and subframe mounts, but also difficulties with thresholds: in addition to damage to paint and rust, seams corrode here due to “sandblasting” – but this is usually typical for cars older than 5-7 years. The same can be said about the rusting junction of the threshold and the front wing, where a lack of attention quickly brings the surface to a loose state. But in the arches, everything can flow much faster, so when inspecting the car, you should definitely look behind the lockers. Dirt and moisture accumulate behind them, and everything is aggravated by a porous soundproofing material, which is often removed because of this. In the ideal case, there should be additional processing with mastic or anticorrosive, in the acceptable case – simply the absence of deep rust. An additional anticorrosive, by the way, is a vital issue: those who have forgotten the word “Movil” will have to remember it and pay attention to which cars “promoted” immediately after purchase, how well they did it and how much it helped.

The consequences of accidents exacerbate body problems: often corrosion in “unexpected” places speaks precisely about the consequences of poor-quality repairs. Against this background, checking the history of the car is not only vital, but very logical: if the twisted mileage is pretty easy to recognize by the shabby steering wheel in the case, the worn pedals and the seats are sitting down, then the results of artisanal repairs can manifest themselves in two to three months after purchase, which is insulting. In general, affordable free databases and low-cost paid services, such as Autotech, can save not from ruin, but from frustration.

The undercarriage is not able to bring surprises – this is the usual MacPherson strut in front and a beam at the rear. But such simplicity often does not play into the hands of the car: it is multiplied by the budget model and leads to the fact that many owners ignore the service, starting immediately with repair, and forced. Even despite the fact that the “original” ball bearings, for example, cost 400 rubles, the stabilizer bars are the same, the shock absorbers are 3-4 thousand and so on, and the prices of non-original substitutes are even lower (although this is also rather a minus all to the same terrible savings). In any case, it is almost impossible to find a reason to refuse to buy – you just need to examine everything with addiction, pull the levers, assess the condition of the bearings and brake discs, check the condition of the tires for correct alignment and, depending on this, decide on the extent of the bargaining. Memories of problems with the electric power steering can be left in the past: over the years, Kalina stopped moving to trees and other elements of the landscape, so the steering rack is also quite diagnosed. However, even the new EUR is not prohibitively expensive – less than 20 thousand rubles.

As we already know, with the change of generations, Kalina has the opportunity to choose a gearbox: in addition to five-speed mechanics, her robotic version appeared, as well as a four-stage hydromechanical Jatco JF414E. Manual transmission from the point of view of living together continues one of the key words of the purchase of Kalina in general: “but it’s cheap to repair.” Yes, the box howls and vibrates, bearings sometimes “come” to one hundred thousand, sometimes together with synchronizers. But at the disassembly, the same can be found for 5-7 thousand, sorted out for 10-15, and in extreme cases, spit, go to the store and buy a new one for 25-40 thousand rubles. And if the latter option is not very popular, the first two have long become commonplace for “long-term” owners.

The AMT variant – a robotic version of the same VAZ box – did not win serious reciprocity among the owners, because especially in the early versions it was more disappointing than pleased. Inability to move forward uphill without pressing the gas, slow switching, inconsistency in decision-making, poor clutch and control resources – all or almost all of this was gradually eliminated only now, for the next update of the Grant, which consumed Kalina. Buying a used Kalina with AMT can only be aimed at installing mechanics – you are unlikely to be able to get along with a robot.

With this in mind, the only “working” version of Kalina with two pedals is the version with a Jatco machine. Initially, few wanted to pay for it, so in the secondary market the choice is also not as great as we would like: for example, Avito cars with automatic transmission only about 10% of the total. Nevertheless, the chances of finding a successful option are quite there: in itself, this machine is not the most modern and fast, but rather reliable. If you change the oil in it at least once every 60-70 thousand kilometers and do not try to overtake everyone at the traffic lights, then before the first repair it can live 200-250 thousand kilometers, and when installing an external filter and a good ratio – more than 300. Setting the torque converter lock here, gentle and in the absence of constant kickdowns, it does not pollute the oil too actively. The problem is that there are only four gears, and the motor is not the most powerful, so those runs that can be achieved in words are far from always realized in practice. However, if you do not spare money on diagnostics before buying and proactively change the oil immediately after it, then there is every chance of getting a cheap car with a reliable automatic transmission – and many expect this from Kalina.

Kalina had many options for the motor. In the second generation, it is the 87-horsepower eight-valve 11186 and the sixteen-valve 21922 and 21927 for 98 and 106 hp. respectively. If we leave aside the not the most optimal 1.4-liter 11194, which was installed on the first generation and turned out to be rather weak even for a light car, especially with an air conditioner, then the rest can be chosen according to the principle of the desired power. The dynamics still turn out to be far from ideal – even in 10 seconds Kalina doesn’t leave anyway, but those who have hopes for an active ride should still look towards 16-valve engines. And those who want a car with a gun, do not have to choose at all: only a 98-horsepower engine is combined with it.

All units here have a timing belt drive, and there are no “non-plug” ones among them – that is, when the belt breaks, the valves meet the pistons (they again returned to correcting this issue in 2018, with grants restyled). Accordingly, to believe in the timing resource at the level of 100-120 thousand is only in words, but in reality not to save 7-10 thousand and maintain the mechanism every 60 thousand, at the same time changing the pump (also preventively). In any case, the declared resource of engines is 180-200 thousand, and taking into account cheap oil and bad service, the real one usually coincides with it. And here we come back to the thesis … yes, yes, about cheap repairs: any VAZ engine will be sorted out anywhere and for almost any budget – from 20 to 50 thousand rubles. Well, when buying, diagnostics come to the fore again: remember about compression, oil consumption and everything else.

Well, now, having imagined the difficulties of both choice and future content, we can proceed to the search for a specific option. Given a budget of 300 thousand and a decent reputation for an automatic transmission, it’s quite possible to aim for such a purchase. At the same time, this will save us from the need to choose a complete set: for Kalin with the automatic gearbox, she, in fact, was one, pretopic – that is, without separate “excesses”, but rich. Thus, you will have to choose a car with low mileage, a transparent service history and no accident past – something like this. And if the run of 53 thousand turns out to be real, and the body is intact, it remains only to correct minor defects in a timely manner, to eliminate the emerging corrosion in time and not spare money for routine maintenance – in this case, you can drive a relatively happy 5 years even on Kalina.

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