Five O'Clock Somewhere

Welcome to Five O'Clock Somewhere, where it doesn't matter what time zone you're in; it's five o'clock somewhere. We'll look at rural life, especially as it happens in Rio Arriba County, New Mexico, cats, sailing (particularly Etchells racing yachts), and bits of grammar and Victorian poetry.

Thursday, July 12, 2007

Auto woes continue

It never rains but it pours …

So the insurance company figured out how much El Caballero was worth (not much – it was an 11-year-old economy car well into its second 100,000 miles) before it got totaled, subtracted the deductible, and will be sending us a check for far less than will buy a replacement used car. We’ll have to wait until I’m bringing in paychecks in the fall (unless I find a summer job) to get another vehicle.

Meanwhile, hot weather is hard on cars. We had an appointment for the Babe at the Ford dealer Monday, but it was so busy that it was Tuesday before the mechanics could even get it plugged into the diagnostic computer, which indicated a vacuum leak somewhere in the fuel system. But a full diagnosis won’t be made until the drivetrain mechanic has a chance to look at it, which won’t be until Friday. We have no idea how long it will be before the actual repairs can be made.

In addition, the Miata is still waiting for new tires to come in at the tire shop, and now its “Service Engine” warning light has come on. Since the same dealership handles both Ford and Mazda, our original thought was that we could save hassle: When the Babe got fixed, we could drop off the Miata at the Mazda end of the lot and walk over to the Ford end to pick up the Babe. However, the Mazda shop is even more swamped than the Ford shop, so the soonest we could get an appointment for the Miata was in nearly two weeks. It will probably get the new tires before it gets the service. At least the service advisor at the Mazda shop said it is probably OK to drive the Miata in light-duty service so long as the light remains steadily on – if it starts blinking, we should park the car until our appointment.

So it looks like we’ll be renting a car again for this weekend. (The rental car agency with the best prices is not at the Ford dealership, but at the Chevy dealership a few blocks up the street.) We don’t have racing scheduled, but Heron Lake State Park is having its annual Osprey Fest, and the sailing club will have a booth there. We’ll be handing out brochures about the club’s activities, and since the area we’ve been assigned for our booth is next to a courtesy dock, we can have a couple of boats on display – maybe even let people have fun on a couple of the Sunfish.

Dulce, however, will not have the privilege of riding in the land yacht this weekend. We’ll be picking up Tadpole from Scout camp, which entails having dinner and attending the closing campfire, and it wouldn’t be practical to leave her in the car for several hours. She’ll just have to be home alone.

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Blogger Carol Anne said...

Update: After I wrote this post, Pat found what looked like a better deal at another car rental agency. We ended up with a Ford Taurus -- still officially classified as a full-sized car.

Dulce would not have liked this one. Compared to the Buick we had last weekend, the Taurus is unrefined. The ride is much rougher, and because the seats aren't as cushy, the jolts are transmitted to the car occupants' backsides more solidly. There is far less sound insulation, and therefore far more tire noise, engine noise, road noise, wind noise, and outside noise interferes with car occupants' ability to hold a conversation. Even the climate control was less refined -- we could get it to make the air too cold, or let the air get too warm, but we couldn't fine-tune it to make the temperature just right.

The car also handles poorly. On unpaved roads, such as to the Boy Scout camp and to Five O'Clock Somewhere, it would unexpectedly start to wag its tail. It didn't seem to have any sort of traction control or stability control at all. The super-cheap ancient compact El Caballero did better.

We're still NOT planning to replace El Caballero, when we have the financial wherewithal, with a full-size sedan, even if Dulce favors that option. However, if we were to buy a full-size sedan, we'd definitely favor the Buick LaCrosse over the Ford Taurus.

Of course, if our other vehicles continue to have mechanical problems, we may have the opportunity to rent even more cars to test them.

Sat Jul 14, 01:41:00 AM MDT  
Blogger Lydia Manx said...

Okay, I drive a Buick...boat but gets somewhat ok mileage.

As for check engine light...did you make sure gas cap is tight? Seriously that is what triggers the Buick La Sabre.

I am hoping work doesn't tank next month (words on that later in my blog) cause I want to buy a Jeep Rubicon.

Hope you car troubles work out.

Mon Jul 16, 09:56:00 PM MDT  
Blogger Pat said...

Expedition repaired, Miata now has new tires, have borrowed CA's folks' Cherokee. Much better mobility ... but also much more poverty. Oh well.

Tue Jul 17, 08:27:00 PM MDT  

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