quote of the moment


-- banner in the service bay of prestige chrysler; las vegas, NV

62,566 service

wanted to get an oil change before sending my car back to CA.  i'm on every mailing list of every dealer i've ever gotten an oil changes with -- so i snapped up the $9.95 coupon that prestige offered me.

minor strangeness in calling "who is this?  what do you want?  oh, um, you can just bring it in."  and then showing up, "what do you want?  who's your service manager?  what?  the oil service guy is on break?  oh, um, just sit in the waiting room."

but 40 minutes later, i'm set to go.

just like last time, reality is different from what's on paper.  even though my receipt says $30, i'm charged $11.

no up-sells.  no "recommendations."  i'm happy.


updated chrysler website

like the rest of the fricken company, the chrysler website has undergone a major overhaul.  like any 10 passenger panel van, the front page is cumbersome and overly full of flair and flash that you'd never use.

BUT, the underlying web pages, and especially the "my chrysler" page, is shockingly good.  after i input my VIN, i'm able to get a list of recalls (there are none yet), a (soft or hard) owner's manual and a copy of my warranty.

and, very most important of all, a complete listing of my service history.  which means i can check the official records and be certain they're tracking the same work i am.

and the record they show is spotless, clean and perfect.

at first i thought they'd done away with the "3 great services, 1 low price" coupon page -since i couldn't hit it from the old "for owners" spot- but all they really did was move it.

which means i'm good to go (and it also means the new chrysler has its act together better than the old chrysler).

{as an aside, my poking and prodding was brought on by a prestige chrysler coupon that i got early this morning for a $10 oil change.  a great deal, to be sure, but i needed to be certain i have back-up for the future.

i might drive back to CO in my car over xmas (i can't put chains on it, so it's not a certainty) -- but even if i don't, i'll definitely use that coupon before its expiration at the end of the month.}


observation of the moment

the kid in the current chrysler town and country ad on TV looks like the
vampyre in nosferatu.


60,283 mile service

a few days ago my car battery died.  i was waiting in a v-e-r-y long line inside binion's garage ... i'd left my lights on with my engine off and managed to drain the sucker ... i was lucky enough to be near a pull-over, so i did and waited about an hour for the traffic to clear.

once it did, i went to a nearby firestone -- they checked my battery and said it held a charge just fine ... but when i went into prestige chrysler, they said that, in fact, the battery was dead.

so ...

new battery at the dealer (not the place i'd necessarily want to buy one) and an oil change (with coupon, from the chrysler site, finally) for a total of $200.

and honestly, i have no idea how they came up with this number.

the coupon for a change was $20.  they list the battery with labor as $177.  they show the oil change as being $83 (pre-coupon).  i have a $100 deductible on my service contract, but that shouldn't apply here.

the total they show on the invoice is $284.26.

so ... who knows?

i'll poke into this a bit in the future, but for now, i'll mark it as $200.

state of the moment

i'm getting my car serviced at prestige chrysler in las vegas, NV. my
"service writer" looked up my VIN and said, "whoa. you've got the
'awesome warranty.'"

damn right.


trivium of the moment

americans buy 2.6 times as many used cars than they do new.

-- automotive news


true end of an era

after several threats in the past from chrysler, the *true* last of the
PT cruisers rolled off the line in mexico today.


new spark plugs, wires and air filters

done at 59,000 miles.  saves over $300 in shop costs.


new PCV valve

$3.  putting that in along with the plugs, wires and air filters for my 60k service.  here just as a record

{dealerships charge $25 for this service ... you pull a little plastic tube out of the line, you put another one back in ... it's literally as hard as swapping a lego brick out of a stack.}

protection scammers

got a couple of envelopes at my NV address that are sent bulk mail with no return address ... the inside letter shows a business return address of:

program headquarters
300 north tucker
st. louis, MO  63101

what they are oh so generously offering me is extending the coverage on the continual car.  very very nice considering:

1. the car comes with lifetime powertrain warranty by default.


2. i have the lifetime service contract.

but i call them anyway because i feel like fighting with someone today.

the conversation starts off well enough until we get to the mileage part.

"how many miles does your car have on it?"


"60,000!  oh my god!  are you sure?  did you buy the car new?"

the last question is perplexing because i'm not sure what she's expecting for an answer there.

we talk for a bit.  mostly she's doing that sales thing of feigning as though she gives a damn about my life (which, just for the record, i strongly suspect she does not).  and we get to the meat of the deal ...

"well, our blah blah blah plan doesn't make sense because blah blah blah on and on so i recommend our premium platinum your penis will be bigger plan."

"you know this car comes with a lifetime powertrain warranty."

"we cover more than that.  like the turbo {covered}, the transfer case {covered} and the axles {also covered, beeotch}."

"and how much is that?"

"blah blah blah.  very complicated.  blah blah blah.  you know how it is.  blah blah blah.  $2800.  blah blah blah.  and would be good for 60,000 miles from now."

or, $1300 more than my bumper-to-bumper coverage.  or $800 more than if i bought the warranty wrap today (only possible if my car had < 48k miles).

i have no idea who these people are, nor how they got my address associated with my car in NV -probably some house buying thing- but they are chock-full of scam.  buy your protection from anyone but these guys.  that includes the crack dealer on the corner -- at least you know what that guy looks like.


spark plugs and ignition cables

mopar by my brother's recommendation.  $74.  these'll go for my 60k tune-up ... entry here just for record keeping.


quote of the moment

"in traffic cases where you are not represented by an attorney, things
like discovery, the law, your right and presumption of innocence are
mere annoyances."

-- "EWYLTJ" on expertlaw.com


quote of the moment

"Think of it from a cop's perspective: you spend the day trying to stay alive, work at a thankless job where almost everyone hates you or wants to hurt you....you get this stupid thing in your box...what would you do?"

-- "sexcopper," on NASIOC.com, describing the possible cop-mindset on responding to trials by written declaration


quote of the moment

"if you learn nothing else from this book, learn that a police officer
with a ticket book in his hand is not your friend."

-- "fight your ticket & win in CA"

quote of the moment

"the best way, of course, to minimize your chances of receiving a ticket
is not to drive."

-- david brown


how likely is a car to fail?

this straight from the world's best mechanical engineer:

R=(1/6,000,000)(M^1.5)+(.5(Y^1.4)) where M is miles and Y is time in
years. This would give you about 3.5 failures in the first three years,
which is about the average (I saw the numbers on this once and was
surprised the average car gets so much warranty work done).


57,065 service & first service contract work

went back to michael stead chrysler for this service ... they have a coupon right now that honors any other local dealer's coupon, so i clipped a $20 oil change at antioch and took it to michael stead instead -- saving me $20 and another 20 miles of driving.

the change went fine, with no inspection problems found again ... but what's more interesting is my first "true" service contract claim.  the air conditioning had stopped working and up until this point everything i'd had done on the continual car was bumper-to-bumper warranty work ... my air conditioning complaint would be the first time i was asking to have something done that hit purely against the service contract.

my service advisor (who i would best describe as having a "brusque" demeanor) told me that it would be $165 merely to inspect and diagnose the AC problem; the fix could mean added additional charges.  he noted, "if it's covered by your service contract, you'll just pay the $100 deductible, we'll bill chrysler for the rest."  the implication, of course, being that if it wasn't covered i'd be on the hook for that ... and maybe a whole lot more.

"okay," i said, "i read through the service contract and i don't see anything about the AC that would not be covered.  would there be anything that wasn't covered?"

he shrugged in that just-sign-this-damn-thing manner and said, "i don't know, sign here."

doesn't exactly leave you with a happy feeling in your stomach.

and yet, when i woke up this morning, i had a phone call that my car was finished.  the freon level was low so they did a pressure check -- found no leaks -- and re-filled the system with freon and dye.  when i called back to ask if the repair was going to be covered by the service contract, my advisor's response was "yes" in an of-course-why-haven't-you-already-hung-up kind-of-voice.

so even if my blood pressure may have been artificially elevated for 16 hours, i did get what i wanted -- no questions or hassles over the work that was done.  no matter what my paranoia says, i can't honestly ask for more than that.  for the record here i probed a bit on how much the repair would have been had i not had a max care wrap and it looks to be the $165 plus "20 to 30 dollars for the dye."  i'll just call that a bill that would have been $200 -- and knowing this is a dealer, it wouldn't have surprised me if it somehow would have become more than that.

oddly, i wasn't charged tax on either service.  that might be a mistake, but the $0.00 tax is clear as day on the invoice.

for the records here i'm going to keep separate accounting on the service contract work from the normal work.  i will be using the deductible dollars spent in my TVC, but will not be counting it against "standard service" -- that will give me a better feel for what the normal dealer service price is.

for the record, the AC works now, but everyone everywhere is suspicious -- it could well go again at any time.

$20 standard service
$100 service contract deductible


windshield chip fixed

$0 to me because the insurance waives the deductible.
now, whether or not this raises my premium - since i've only had that
policy for a matter of days before i made my first claim - is another


Ways to Hedge Your Lifetime Service Contract Bet

If you've read what I've said about buying a lifetime service contract and think you might want one, but aren't sure, there is a way to hedge your bet ...

If your car is new to you, it's covered by a 3 month/36,000 mile warranty and a wrap at this point in your car's lifetime is really just superfluous.  By waiting, if you get rid of your car (i.e. sell or crash it), you haven't lost any extra money on the wrap if your car were to suddenly "go away."  Waiting also gives you a chance to see if you're going to modify your ride (which, depending on what you do, can also nullify the contract).

It also gives you three years to decide if you want to keep your car a long time.  Do note, however, that you must buy your lifetime service contract before four years/48,000 miles -- after that, the option isn't available to you as a buyer.

From a game theory point of view, waiting has three possible snags:

Chrysler drops your ability to purchase a lifetime wrap
I thought this was possible and is why I bought one almost immediately after they were offered.  To be honest with you, I'm surprised they're still offering them.  But at the point in time of this re-write (March 2013), they've been offering them for five years and for sure the possibility of buying a contract would be gone if it was a corporate money loser.  The opportunity to buy them well stick around indefinitely.

You pay more money
If I had waited, I would have paid $366 more than at the point where I bought it; which is to say it would have been 21% more than the original price.  Yes, it's true I lost the use of that money -- including possibly investing it -- but let's be honest, I wasn't going to do that and neither are you.

You forget to buy one
You have to purchase a contract in the first four years/48,000 miles.  If you miss those magic numbers, you can't buy a service contract.  (Pushing up against this deadline also gives you less of a chance to find the lowest price.)

Buying a service contract immediately gives you a couple small advantages:

Free rental car when you take your car in for service
Dealerships will try to keep you from doing this so they don't have to fork over the money/do the paperwork.  That's the bad news.  The up-side is you'll probably get your oil changed first of all the people in the waiting room.

Roadside assistance
Think: something that is AAA-like.  This is only good for the first seven years/100,000 miles.  Unless you perpetually run out of gas, get flats you don't feel like changing or continually lock yourself out of your cars, this isn't a big deal.

Concierge service
You talk on the phone with people who can't use Google as well as you can.  I list it only for completeness -- not to suggest it's actually worth a damn.

If you do buy a lifetime service contract, I strongly recommend that you buy a one with a $100 deductible (the highest amount possible).  By doing this you're paying the lowest possible premium for your contract.  Eventually you will get rid of the car (or you'll die and the car gets rid of you); the instant that happens, you didn't need the extra coverage in the contract anyway.  Thanks to inflation, $100 will seem to be less-and-less (relatively speaking) in the future anyway, so even the deductible hit to your pocketbook won't be that strong.

Let's look at a real-life example: mine.  At $0 deductible my contract was $1270 more than what I paid.  In the service sense of the word, I would have to make 13 trips to the dealer before it would be "cheaper" for me to have bought a $0 deductible (and in this case, yes, I have invested that money to cover the difference).  Right now the continual car is at 57,000 miles and I've made no service contract trips to the dealer yet (although my air conditioning has failed and as of this second I do need one).

So let's be overly pessimistic and say I'll need a service every 50k miles.  In order to make 13 trips, my car would have to go 600,000 miles.  Assuming I continue to drive 20,000 miles a year, that would be 30 years from now -- and I'd be at a questionable driving age.

Remember, that's making a lot of abusive assumptions.  If you assume I'll need less service, or I start driving less, those numbers become much smaller.

To keep a stupid story short, my advice is if you decide to buy a lifetime service contract on a Chrysler, Jeep or Dodge, you should get the $100 deductible.  If you aren't likely to modify, crash or sell your ride, you should buy the contract immediately.  If you think any of those three things are likely to happen, you should wait until right before you cross out of the 3 year/36,000 bumper-to-bumper that comes with a new vehicle.

(And don't be afraid to buy one online instead of from a dealer.  It's the exact same policy and it's good at all Chrysler, Jeep, Dodge dealers.  Look at chrysler.com if you have any doubt as to whether or not a dealer is "real.")

Should I Buy a Lifetime Service Contract on My Chrysler/Jeep/Dodge?

(for search engine hits, this could be thought of as Should I buy an extended warranty on my car? even though, in a technical and legal sense of the word, a service contract isn't a warranty.  Another spin on this would be Should I buy a Maximum Care Service Contract?)

I get the occasional email/comment here from people asking about lifetime service contracts (aka "lifetime warranty," "unlimited warranty wrap") and feel compelled to write an over-riding article on the concept ...

(Although I'll be making reference to Chryslers here, the exact same ideas apply to all Chrysler Group LLC vehicles, namely Dodges and Jeeps.  In fact, their service contract prices and terms are identical to all Chryslers.)

Should you buy a lifetime service contract on your car?

Really, there's no cut-and-dried answer to this.  Only you can make the "right" choice, but I can give you enough questions, comments and ideas to lead you to a decision that'll make the most sense in your case ...

Before you ask yourself anything, be prepared to be ready to be brutally frank in with yourself in your answers.  In my wanderings through the world I've been struck, time and time again, by how few people are able to either be honest with themselves, or even focus on "larger truth."*

In the purist's sense of the word, by buying a lifetime service contract, you're making a bet against yourself ... You're saying you believe the car you're buying will suffer more repair problems over the period of time you own it than you'll pay up-front with a service contract.

Never forget the prime rule of service contracts: All companies make money on these contracts or they wouldn't offer them.  

My guess is the way they make the most is simply by pandering to the new American trend of fear.  In our collective lifetimes, Americans have become afraid of everything: terrorists, swine flu, illegal immigrants -- you name it.  In keeping with this, people fear their cars will break down and will buy a service contract.

Chrysler knows, full-well, that the average American owns a car for 5.1 years, but will own a Chrysler for 4.9 years.  If you fall into that category (and odds are good that you do), and you buy a lifetime service contract, Chrysler makes more money by default -- you could have bought a shorter (five, six or seven years; with 60,000 to 100,000 miles).

Looking at it this from any offering company's point of view, they make money on you buying a service contract if one of three broad things are true:
  • You never have a problem
  • You have a problem, but never make a claim
  • You make a claim, but they are able to deny it
Of these three things, the second only happens if you just start neglecting the vehicle all together ...

The last is the one that is under contention and the one that you can work to influence.  Although I don't have any solid evidence from Chrysler, it's probably safe to assume that they'll do all they can to back out of paying out against a service contract.**  That means for you to get paid you'll have to follow everything in the contract to the letter.  (That also means you'll have to read and think ... God forbid.)

If you're dealing with a Jeep, Chrysler or Dodge, have a look-see at the hi-lighted version of the maximum care wrap service contract.  Speed read it and just look at the hi-lighting if you want -- those are the things that I think are of particular interest, sort of freakishly strange or flat-out gotchas.

(If you're thinking about some other vehicle, or contract you should read that first ... I'll wait for everyone right here until you come back.)

Howdy.  Now that you're more aware, you need to ask yourself seriously how long you plan on holding onto your car.  Be honest.  Here are some less-obvious things that could affect the term of your ownership:
  • Your likelihood of a bad accident or hardcore vandalism (neither of which are covered)
  • Gas being $7-$10/gallon (I'd say this is likely within a decade)
  • Your life expectancy
  • How easily you are "bored" by the car you drive
{Regardless of what spudnuts say on Internet fora, you can easily ignore how healthy Chrysler is as a company.  I believe a failing Chrysler is no reason to avoid a service contract ... As long as they don't declare Chapter 13 bankruptcy, whoever takes over their assets also has to take over their financial obligations.  This has already happened once -- it can always happen again.}

You should NOT buy a lifetime service contract if ANY of the following are true:
  • You believe your car will experience fewer mechanical problems (in dollar amounts) than the price of your service contract
  • You plan on modifying your vehicle (that can invalidate the contract)
  • You won't religiously service your car in accordance with your owner's manual
  • You live in an area that is several hundred miles removed from a reputable dealer
  • You plan on holding onto your car less than seven years or 100,000 miles -- including passing the car along to relatives (other service contracts make more sense if these things are true)
  • You have reason to believe you will live fewer than seven years
  • You plan on moving your car outside the US
  • You tend to get in a fair number of accidents (or a serious accident is likely)
  • You believe that the vast majority of the problems in your car will come from the powertrain (this is already covered in your powertrain warranty if you're the first owner for 2007 - 2009.  you can get a powertrain only contract if this doesn't apply to you)
  • You have a manual transmission and are most worried about clutch problems (clutches aren't covered)
  • You're paranoid by nature and automatically assume Chrysler will renege on the contract
  • You do your own car maintenance and can't keep track of receipts or records of your work
  • You believe your car is at high risk for theft
  • You have any off-road use that could be classified as "severe"
  • Your car is likely to be caught in a flood

A lifetime service contract may make sense if you don't fit in any of the categories above and, especially, if one or more of the follow true:
  • You put an excessive number of miles on your car
  • You often drive in unusually hostile road environments (extremes in temperature, weather, extremely rough roads [but not off-road -- this is specifically excluded])
  • You'd rather not worry about fixing your car
  • You don't know where you'd get money for a major car repair
  • You insist on having all your car maintenance done by a dealership
  • You have reason to believe your car may be prone to failure
  • Your over-arching plan is to never buy another internal combustion car
  • Your car is fully loaded and/or has a top-of-the-line factory stereo
  • Your car is a convertible -- especially if it's a hardtop convertible (the convertible motor is covered by the warranty, but a cloth top is not)
  • Your car was manufactured in the US (I rented a Dodge Calibre that was US built and it was of a considerably worse construction than my Mexican-built Cruiser)
With a little bit of thought and your best guesses about your personal situation, you should have a pretty good idea if a service contract is for you or not.  Good luck with your decision ... I hope your car breaks if you buy a service contract -- I hope it doesn't if you don't.

If you've read all the way through here, you might also be interested in my advice on ways to hedge your service contract buy ... could give you a chance to not shell out the money yet as you try to decide as a lifetime service contract makes sense.

*{An example that comes to mind immediately: I was working at Danger on the hiptop (ultimately known as the T-Mobile SideKick) and a tradeshow customer -- probably a high tech analyst -- asked what the durability of our device would be.  I hate people who give canned answers to questions so rather than be the typical corporate stooge and say that that had not yet been determined (the easy, safe and completely non-informing answer), I explained that although we hadn't gone beyond prototypes, I would expect publicly released final units to last a couple of years.

"A couple of years?  As in two?"

"We're not final yet, but that's what I'd expect."

"And you think that's acceptable?"

I un-corked on him.  "Yes, I think that's acceptable!  How long have you ever used a cell phone?"  He hemmed and hawed, acting like the poser that he was.  That only boiled me faster.  I pressed and pressed and pressed until he admitted he'd never used a cell phone for longer than four months.

In other words, any piece of crap would work for him and two years didn't actually make any difference ... So when I say honesty toward yourself, I mean don't be like that guy.}

**{note that as of March, 2013, I've had five service contract repairs (paying $500 out of my pocket for roughly $2400 worth of work.  To this point in time, Chrylser has never even acted as thought they wouldn't pay or honor a claim ... So this original comment may be over-paranoid.}


Warming up a car engine

this passed along to me by my pal, cap'n happy -- i don't know his
my rule of thumb on the continual car is idle until the engine RPM
naturally kicks back (it's about 10 seconds).
i also let it idle at all stop lights and intersections, but shut it
down (continually) in things like drive-thrus.

{4/28 -- this came from fortune magazine}


"In the past, when cars had carburetors, engines used thick oil that
required warming up," says Mike Harrison, Ford's V-8 engine programs
manager. Today's thinner oils allow engines to be driven away sooner,
idling unnecessary.
His rule: If you're operating your car above 0° F, you can drive away
10 seconds (he advises 30 seconds for temperatures below zero).
Experts also say you'll save gas by turning off your engine if you're
to idle for more than 30 seconds -- some studies suggest even less
According to an EDF report published last year, unnecessary idling will
waste between $44 and $392 on fuel annually (range depends on fuel
idling habits, and vehicle type).
But won't shutting the car on and off wear down the starter and battery?
extra restarts each day will average about $10 a year in repairs. "If
engine is operating fewer hours, there's less wear on the most
parts," says Jeff Bartlett, an auto editor with Consumer Reports

now things heat up

the air conditioning on the continual car has stopped working. this
will be the first *true* test of the lifetime service contract because
air conditioning is fully covered (assuming i'm reading the entirety of
the contract right) and i'm well-beyond the 3/36 original
bumper-to-bumper of the car.


what are the odds?

driving 65mph down US 95 in NV, *with no traffic to be seen anywhere*, i
got a stone chip in the windshield. i assume it was a meteorite.
note for god: use a bigger rock.
55,285 miles


54957 mile service

chrysler still has not fixed their 3-for-1 coupon, so i head up to stoneride chrysler jeep of dublin who were running a coupon on their website.

in, out, (no inspection problems, again).  $31.

the only hitch?  i get a speeding ticket for the first time in my life on the way home.  so much for saving money.


new tires, goddammit

at 52,264 miles i'm pulling into a gas station to top off the car for a run to las vegas.  just as i do, the tire light flickers comes on.

in most ways the timing couldn't be better, so i pull on in and as i'm filling, check the tires.  on first inspection, they seem fine.  the passenger rear is two pounds low, but that's not enough to raise an alarm -- or at least it shouldn't be.  i've had a false tire alarm on this car before, but still, something seems not quite right.  and the fact that that one tire is noticeably lower is interesting ...

i mull it over as i wash my windows and check my oil then go back and look more closely at the tire ... and right there, i see it ... there's a pin nail in the outside tread.

goddammit.  tire people will do damn near anything to sell you a tire, including things like tell you that sidewalls can't be repaired and "anything on the outside of the outer or inner third of the tread is a sidewall."

as i'm heading to pick up an accomplice, i get a TXT of a good tire store that i'm just passing.  i pull in and after 15 minutes or so, they call me into the service bay.

"well, it turns out the best tire you had is the one with the nail in it."

they've circled all the problems on the various tires with yellow wax pencil and you don't have to be the world's best mechanical engineer to figure out there's problems here.  the belt is clearly pulling from the sidewall on one tire, there's burbles on the other two.

i was planning on heading to vegas 30 minutes ago, but now i'm looking at a new set of tires.  i'm in no rush -- i try to live my life such a way that i rarely am -- but it's still not the kind of thing that will push your mood up.

fortunately i'd read several reviews of the place on yelp as i was waiting (i'd link to it here, but i can't pull that website up right now for some reason), and it was clear to me that this isn't a clip joint.

i tell the manager he should go ahead and put tires on ... i tell him the car has two unusual traits: one, it has extreme curb weight for a vehicle of this size, so i need something with minimal rolling resistance; and two, it often does desert runs, so i need something with a high temperature rating.

he thumbs through his tire selection and comes up with a set that he's clearly happy with.  he'd had an idea for me originally, but his tires were more expensive and not as well temperature rated, as the tires my needs pointed him toward.

an hour later i have a road worthy car for $458, less a $40 rebate (that i have to mail in).

it occurs to me later that 52k probably means i could probably get some kind of a rebate on the original dying tires, had i been a little more aware.  with some additional legwork i could still probably get a few bucks back, but i probably won't pursue it ... my life's madness right now.



51,858 mile service

chrysler's website is broken and you can't see the coupons they advertise (you can click here and then click on the "3 great services for 1 low price" ad to see what i mean).  i hit the 51k mark in las vegas, but figured i'd come back and try to cobble together an oil change in the bay area.

fortunately, michael stead chrysler in walnut creek had an ad on their website for a $30 oil change, so i drove the hour up there to get things done.

the staff was courteous but pushy in that weird service way.  "this is a turbo, sir, you should get your oil changed every 3,000 miles and it's been 4,000 since you had the last one done."

well, actually there are two service conditions for the turbo engine in a cruiser -- 5,000 and 3,000 -- and i could have it changed at 5,000.  in fact, i volunteer to get it done at 3,000 so i won't have chowder heads like you telling me what is in-and-out of warranty.  i don't tell him that, of course.

"that's why i'm here."

he suggests my tires are wearing thin, asks if i want a quote ("sure") and sends me to the waiting room to wait for hertz to get me a rental car.

i can see him working on his computer as i talk to an older fellow in the waiting room about the merchant marines ... it looks to me that he's reading something about me on his screen ... it's a body language thing ... and yeah, you could say i'm just making stuff up, but remember, i've written poker books and made a lot of money on the tables ... i'm not completely unfounded, and he sees something ... i can tell.

he comes back to the waiting room.  "i was looking at your account and see you live in santa clara.  that's a haul from here ... if you'd like, i'll put you next in line -- i have another technician getting done in about 15 minutes -- and we can wait here and then go."

"sure, that'd be great."

okay.  so he already knew i was in santa clara.  i told him that when i handed him the car and they made the work order.  so, unless it just took awhile for that to sink in, that's probably not the real reason.  if i had to guess, and this is a guess that could only be categorized as "wild-ass," i'm guessing there's either a mention of my letter to sergio marchionne in my official record, or he was somehow directed to this 'blog and was reading it.

in any event, the tire quote got lost in the shuffle (which is fine).  out in an hour, no problems found anywhere on the car again.



new wipers on

i was given an extra pair of wipers (as a coupon spiff) several oil changes ago and i put them on the continual car today.  noting it only for future reference.


47,958 mile service

using a coupon off the chrysler website i went to stevens creek chrysler and had an oil change and tire rotation.

nothing to report, aside from the fact that their inspection showed, once again, nothing wrong with my car.



... and now it's for reals

crossed over an important, but otherwise unnoticed milestone today.  driving back late down 101 i crossed 48,000 miles on the continual car.  this is the point where i would no longer have been able to buy a lifetime warranty wrap ... if i had waited until yesterday to buy it, i would have paid $336 more and would not have been given $376 worth of rental cars while the cruiser was in the shop.

i'm still happy with my purchase of the maximum care wrap and am glad that the car made it this far for the warranty to come into play ... if it'd be totaled by now, i'd simply be out the $1542 i'd paid for the policy, with essentially nothing to show for it.

now one of two things has to happen for me to be happy.  either:

* i never have a problem with the car (in which case both chrysler and i are joyous)

= or =

* when i do have a claim, it actually gets paid off by chrysler

time will tell.  oh yes.


quote of the moment

"the most common turbocharger failure is bearing failure related to
repeated hot shutdowns with in adequate 'cool down' periods. a sudden
engine shut down after prolonged operation will result in the transfer
of heat from the turbine section of the turbocharger to the bearing
housing. this causes the oil to overheat and break down, which causes
bearing and shaft damage the next time the vehicle is started."

-- 2008 PT cruiser service manual, volume 3, page 11-23

quote of the moment

"increasing the turbocharger boost WILL NOT increase engine power."

-- 2008 PT cruiser service manual, volume 3, page 11-22