first birthday

my car's one year old today so i did something i haven't done in well
over 30 years ... i just went for a drive to celebrate ... up 280 past
the SETI radio telescope ... across 92 to half moon bay ... and down 1
to santa cruz and marianne's ice cream.
really nice drive.


on tuesday the engine warning light went off so i cancelled my appointment. don't ask me, man, i just drive the damn thing.


shine on at 18,700 miles

got the engine light again this morning -- same as 11,851 miles. i've got an appointment on wednesday to get it looked at -- i'm driving it considerable distance this weekend, need to get it ironed out ahead of time.


18,050 mile service

chrysler isn't currently posting coupons on their web page so i had to sniff around on the dealer site and pick up a change and rotation for $30 (instead of the $20 i've been getting). kicks my average up a couple bucks, but still in the "good deal" zone considering that i'm using a dealer.

the big question in my mind, though, is are they not offering coupons because it's just the month switch over, or is it because of the presentation that's being worked on in DC?


we all need love and affection

i was re-reading my warranty over the weekend and realized a there was a tiny hole.

under the parts that are covered in the "expanded electrical" section it says that the electronic fuel injection system is covered excluding clogged injectors. (this is the only place in the entire contract where it uses the word "excluding.")


i've driven a fuel injected car 200k miles with no problems -- never even thought about the injectors. BUT if this is a potential weak link, i need to get on top of it.

a quick call to my brother was funnier than most (and none of them are ever bad). "you'd be surprised, but most stuff you can get in a bottle that actually claims to do stuff, does. reduce oil leaks. reduce transmission leaks. up your octane. whatever. so injector cleaner probably works."

it's right about here he starts laughing uncontrollably. "but my knowledge of cars stops right about at carburetion."

which is funny if you're a car guy. and a geek. and my brother.

which i'm not.

so i hung up the phone.

but i did go out and get a bottle of fuel injector cleaner and summarily threw it in my tank. i might have made a difference, but i don't care. i'm workin' it the only way i know how, and usually, that's good enough.


now how much would you pay?

{note: this event actually happened in 11/08 and just took awhile for meme to make its way to me -- i posted it on 2/27/09, but moved it back to a better chronological place}

this was sent to me by my brother and isn't mine ... it probably holds a
© for someone like US news and world report ... provided here for
entertainment value only.


We've been waiting for this. The crash of the automotive market has led to some aggressive incentives, but we hadn't yet seen the madness in the U.S. that led British dealers to offer buy-one-get-one-free deals on Dodge Avengers.

But a dealer in Oak Lawn, Ill. has brought the crazy here at last.

Chicago Breaking News reports, "An Oak Lawn car dealership has started a new and unusual promotion: Buy one 2008 Chrysler Pacifica and get a second car, a 2008 PT Cruiser, for $1." The deal only applies to the five Pacificas currently sitting on the lot at Mancari's Chrysler Jeep of Oak Lawn. Once those five are gone, the deal is gone. The Pacificas in stock are "priced at $37,000 to $40,000," but buyers willing to pay those prices can also claim a slightly-used PT Cruiser demo car for $1.

Kicking Tires explains, "The PT Cruisers are former rental vehicles with about 10,000 miles on them. They normally retail for $12,000 to $13,000."

Autoblog, however, comments, "We bet more than one person will walk in and tell the dealer he can keep his PT Cruiser, they'll take the Pacifica with a $15,000 discount instead."

But why would a dealer offer something like this?

Because it costs him money not to sell the cars, and the Pacificas simply aren't going to leave the lot without a major incentive. Car dealers don't pay cash to buy cars from manufacturers - instead, they take out what is known as a "floorplan loan" on each new car they order from the automaker. They pay off that loan with whatever you pay them for the car, then pocket the difference.

But CNN Money explains, "Floorplan loans become burdensome the longer cars go unsold. For the first three months a car is in inventory, interest on the floorplan loan is usually reimbursed by the manufacturer. Later, if a vehicle is still there after about six months, finance companies can start demanding payment on the principal on the loan. As credit markets have tightened," the banks that provide floorplan loans "have raised interest rates and what are called 'curtailment' costs, the cost of having vehicles in inventory for a long time."

Pacifica sales were down more than 90% in October compared to October of last year, and the average Pacifica is now sitting on a dealer's lot for more than 250 days before it sells. The cars are costing Chrysler dealers more than they're worth just to keep on the lot. It's possible that, as auto sales continue to slide and bankruptcy threatens major automakers, more crazy deals will appear. We'll keep you posted.

In the meantime, research the best car deals for November with U.S. News' car rankings and reviews.


predictive cost to own

ran across this on y! autos.

in case the link someday goes dead, it predicts that in 5 years the total cost of owning the continual car will be $46,215, assuming 15k miles/year with this breakdown:

depreciation: $12,602
fuel cost: $13,395
financing: $3,162
insurance: $6,922
maintenance: $2,613
fees, taxes: $2,000
repairs: $1,038
opportunity cost: $4,483

all of these things will be pretty easy to check in the future with the possible exception of the "opportunity cost," which i'd have to dig on a bit to figure out. they give the cost/mile as being $0.62 (dividing the $46k figure by 75k miles). there's also no mention of car payments here (maybe that's offset in the opportunity cost -- i'm a little tired right now to think this through fully).

five years from now i may have to pull one of my accountant pals aside to make sure i'm doing an apples-to-apples comparison.


early hallowe'en

got another flicker of the airbag light while driving tonight. just noting it for posterity.


you destroy what you touch?

another missive from b1-67er.


The Automotive Fascist's dad, who was also a big car freak, once told me he believed that skin oil (and other things on the hands) was the biggest destroyer of dashes and upholstery on cars (aside from the sun).

The attached picture is of a hole in the top of the passenger seat on the Galaxie -- where my hand rests when I drive one handed.

[note: this car has since undergone extensive restoration ... can't wait to see it ... it's the chromatic inverse of the continual car: white body, blue roof.]


lifetime powertrain warranty return (LPWR)

LPWR is my term for money that i have saved by buying a car with a lifetime powertrain warranty.  this wasn't a concept i had originally considered when i wrote this blog, but i recently had the turbo and the transmission replaced and didn't want the dollars saved by having this warranty get crossed up with my SCR.

although i've created this new definition in 4/14, i've back dated it to here to keep it more in line with my other definitions.

service contract return (SCR)

SCR is my term for money that i'm getting back because i have the bumper-to-bumper lifetime wrap on my car. although the primary reason i keep track of this figure is for the actual mechanical work on the car, it can also include things like roadside service (good for the first 7 years/100k miles) and free rentals during service (ditto). this figure is a little scammy because i wouldn't be doing things like renting a car while i have my car serviced if i had to pay for it -- but it's a perk of the program and i see actual dollar figures pass back-and-forth between the chrysler and the rental agencies, so i'm counting it. who knows what the real dollar figure for things like this is? one thing's for sure -- i get a rental car when i get my car serviced and i'm not paying for it. and that's a pretty damn good deal (even if i am essentially paying for it).

also, this number includes any warranty service that is done after the standard 3 year/36,000 mile service less the $100 deductible -- the whole reason i have the warranty in the first place.  (4/26/14 addendum: i'm not aware what these actual numbers are, but i've been asking my dealers what the costs would be as i get work done ... SCR isn't IRS accounting accurate, but rather a good ballpark figure).

i paid $1542 for the bumper-to-bumper wrap so once my SCR gets above this figure i've "made money" by buying the wrap.

(the $0 deductible was $1270 more -- once i've made more than 12 warranty trips to the dealer, after 36,000 miles, i would have been better off to buy that policy instead.)

note: the rental car fee for my first service was $35, but was moved down to $28 on subsequent services. i don't know why.

losing chrysler's blessing

"losing chrysler's blessing" is a phrase i just made up to describe "official chrysler dealerships" that have either gone completely out of business (e.g. united chrysler in las vegas) or have had their dealership credentials revoked (e.g. boardwalk chrysler in redwood city).

i'm driving enough and getting service at enough different places that i thought this would be an interesting figure to keep track of over time.  i'm not religiously checking to see if past dealers have no longer made the grade, but if i find 'em, i'll post 'em here.

(this written 12/10/09, but pre-dated to go with other definitions.)

current TVC

if i was a little more ambitious i'd take the time to figure out how to add a spreadsheet that would be constantly updated here, but i'm not.

this is my first attempt at TVC for the continual car and i wanted to line-item the stuff here to make sure it was right "enough." in the future i'll just be putting figures directly into the header/sidebar/whatever i decide, but for the first snapshot i wanted to list it all out.

car cost out-the-door: US$23,091 (a good deal -- MSRP is $23,325)
gasoline: $2916*
bumper-to-bumper warranty wrap: $1542
insurance: $776
car cover and cleaning supplies: $281
DMV fees: $189 (might be catching some of this twice from the OTD price above)
standard automotive service: $125
parking and tolls: $75
vacuum: $66

total: $29,061

current cost/mile: $1.77

*this is [(16,400 miles/20.4mpg @ $4/gallon) - (4 tanks that have been bought for me)]. the number is definitely within 10% and probably within 5% of the "true" number. obviously, this figure becomes more accurate over time from here.)

total vehicle cost (TVC)

the TVC i'm posting in the margin is an attempt to get all costs associated with the continual car, including but not limited to:

* purchase price of the continual car
* cost of the maximum care service contract (aka: "warranty wrap")
* gas
* service costs
* insurance
* license plates
* taxes
* parking fees (including tickets)
* tolls
* service manuals
* maintenance supplies
* the continualcar.com domain name

it does not include:

* music i buy to play in the car
* price of gas for my rentals when the continual car is in service
* food eaten in the car
* my time
* items lost from getting blown out or stolen while the top is down

conversation with the automotive fascist

this was a conversation i had with my brother's friend, the automotive fascist, once he found out i was serious about a car-for-life. the opening sentence has to do with him predicting, 15 years ago, that my del sol would go 100k miles, then fall apart.

his email first, my ***embedded response*** below.


I'm quite certain that we define a bucket of bolts quite differently. However, I have sold Honda short over the years.
You've left out the possibility that Chrysler doesn't make it as long as you do. I could see you driving that turd-burglar for three decades. Call it "30 years of humiliation, b1-66er's test of human and mechanical endurance". Chrysler has little chance of making it that far.
I also bought a Chrysler product, a truck with a Cummins diesel. I also got a service manual (a free pdf I got off of a diesel freak blog). I bought it to use it hard and then have it recycled into whatever.
I do see a culture shift away from pure internal combustion but I see it driven by Europe's CO2 standards more than our government but things change. We may one day wake up.


I'm quite certain that we define a bucket of bolts quite differently.

i'm quite certain that you're an automotive fascist.

However, I have sold Honda short over the years.


You've left out the possibility that Chrysler doesn't make it as long as you do.


i fully expect there will not be a chrysler in the future. in fact i'd say it's 50-50 that there'll be no chrysler by the end of the year and 95% that there won't be a chrysler by the end of 2009.

i'm *almost* as confident that there will be a contractual/financial obligation that GM and/or nissan/renault (it'll be 1 of those 2 that end up with it) will have to fulfill.

i expect the bumper-to-bumper wrap (and possibly the lifetime powertrain) to be offered for only the briefest glimpse of time. that's why i jumped on it as quickly as i did.

poke around on the internet ... there's a nearly infinite number of people who have a nearly infinite number of reasons that you shouldn't do what i've done here ... nearly all of them are either under-informed or just pessimistic at heart.

i've *never* had warranty work on *anything* questioned. and i, definitely, am johnny warranty.

i've got a really good chrysler shop right now. they fixed a rattle in the convertible mechanism -- something damn near every shop would ignore or not be able to fix. if those guys stay in some form of business in whatever the new world is, i should be okay-ish.

the car as a whole is remarkably solid and tight. extremely well put together. b1-67er and i rented a dodge calibre on our annual WY trip and that thing was a piece of crap (think electrical tape holding engine pieces flush). i don't know if it's the mexico vs. US build or what.

I could see you driving that turd-burglar for three decades.

i shouldn't be laughing at this.

Call it "30 years of humiliation, b1-66er's test of human and mechanical endurance". Chrysler has little chance of making it that far.

as a corporation, when you pick up chrysler, you pick up their financial obligations. the logo and company go away, the intellectual property (IP) doesn't. whoever owns the IP has to fulfill the contract, i'm nearly certain. (i'm positive that's true if it's insurance -- that's part of what insurance commissioners do -- i just don't know about warranty. whatever happens, it will have HEAVY government supervision.

I also bought a Chrysler product, a truck with a Cummins diesel. I also got a service manual (a free pdf I got off of a diesel freak blog). I bought it to use it hard and then have it recycled into whatever.

I do see a culture shift away from pure internal combustion but I see it driven by Europe's CO2 standards more than our government but things change. We may one day wake up.

nuke cars. that's what i'm waiting for.

rhymes with "duck"

this from my brother, the world's best mechanical engineer, when i asked him about possibly buying a reusable air filter (with a 1M mile guarantee) and then continually cleaning it every oil change for the life of the car.


re: Reusable air filters SUCK

Reusable air filters fall under the broad umbrella of aftermarket automotive equipment that is almost unequivocally bad. My wife bought one of these for her Yaris without my knowledge. Her gas mileage dropped a couple MPG.

Air intakes are extensively engineered by car companies to optimize air flow and minimize noise in the engine compartment. They might have a few thousand hours of engineering in this system. The aftermarket guys think they're working hard if they throw 200 hours at a problem. K&N makes this reusable filter material then repackages it for 200 different cars. I'm sure they don't even check if it affects HP, noise, or mpg. They just check if it fits. You'll have people tell you that they are great. Ask them how they know that.

I believe my wife's car suffered because it was highly engineered for gas mileage and the K&N filter caused more resistance to incoming air flow (and possibly different flow such as turbulence).

Some of the aftermarket car parts guys make aftermarket motorcycle parts. EVERY aftermarket part used on the Indian Motorcycle had issues. And there were a lot of them. Fuel petcocks, fuel caps, coils, brakes etc, etc. Aftermarket automotive parts are underengineered.


caught up

for the first time in almost a year, i'm caught up.

there's some stuff i want to add here -- specifically total vehicle costs as well as a link to another continual car guy.

but for right here, right now, i'm even. and that's great.


hot air

the airbag light flickered just a bit during normal driving today. i have no idea what's up with that, but i'll betcha it's just an anomaly. i'll mention it when i go for my next oil change, but that won't be for awhile.


14,906 mile service

back to boardwalk for a coupon oil change (with windshield wipers this time) and a complaint on the trim coming off my sport bar (again).

i get a different service rep this time. he's a something like a german immigrant - super busy, heavily accented. i'm trying to get the point through that this trim work has been done before but it's not sticking.

"it has to stick." i'm not sticking. "i don't care what you do. you can wrap duct tape around the damn thing. i don't care. it just HAS to be a chrysler repair. i'm driving this car for life. right? see? FOR LIFE. you have to make a fix that you will approve of in the future. oh and those wipers? don't put 'em on the car, just put 'em in the backseat -- they don't need to be changed yet."

he nods, mumbles something in quasi-english. who the hell knows what's going to happen. i've done what i can. as the muslims say, "inshallah."

i get the car back. the wipers are in the back seat, still boxed. the trim is affixed to the sport bar and doesn't seem like it will come off.

i love you boardwalk chrysler. i really do.



14,080 warranty service

i get a call from boardwalk and my trim has come in. great.

i take the car up and when i drop it off, i also drop the bigger bomb and explain the rattle. my service manager tells me it'll be two days -- he's certain they can get the trim done in a day but the rattle sounds tougher.

that's fine. i have a rental for up to five days, thanks for my bumper-to-bumper wrap so i drop it off.

the next day i get a call and the car's fixed. i get to boardwalk late enough that my service guy is gone (their service has pick-up until 19:00, which is really nice), so all i get to read is what's on the form they hand me when i get my keys.

the following is absolutely verbatim (and sic):


a couple of good things here. a TSB is car-speak for a technical service bulletin. it's the thing dealerships pass out to all dealers if there's a problem that continually crops up. so this means that: one, they actually looked at the TSBs and two, it's not an endemic problem (which sort of surprises me).

better though is their technique. THEY WERE ABLE TO REPRODUCE THE PROBLEM. this is a big deal. this is a classic kind of thing that dealers will claim they can't do and i thought i was going to have to put a tech in the car at gun point to make it happen. not here.

then they took it partially apart and re-tested to make sure it was still off. then they made what they thought was a fix. then road tested it to make sure they were right. then they put the car back together and they tested it again to make sure it was still gone.

right. right right right right right.

THIS IS THE WAY YOU FIX A PROBLEM. i don't care how illiterate or mangey their description on the page seems. hell, i'll take the description in chicken entrails and smoke signals if they can FIX THE FRICKEN PROBLEM.

i drive the car two blocks, hitting every bump and pothole i can find.

and they've done it. they've bloody well done it. they've fixed the problem.

this is a big deal. it's a tricky, hard problem that wasn't strictly by the book. PT cruiser convertibles are rare. i'll bet they only service a dozen of 'em on a regular basis, so they have to just make things up as they go. and this approach, NOT TO MENTION THE RESULT, is right-on.

full marks. way to go broadway.

i look at the trim replacement and it's obvious to me it'll come loose again. i don't care. i'll just take it back in when it does. it's one thing to have a piece of extended trim where i can't see it. my car sounding like a dishwasher that's loading every 200' is something else.

all other things being equal, and especially assuming i can get coupons and remain in northern CA, boardwalk has customer for life.

{for the future, a list of error codes can be found here:


12,039 mile service

time for another oil change. i'm going to try a different dealer -- from a service perspective it'd take a lot to be worse than stevens creek.

i have a coupon for boardwalk chrysler and even though they're 20 miles from my house and they aren't one of the legendary 5-star dealers (i have no idea what this means -- some goofy chrysler rating), they've gotta be worth a try.

i go up there and immediately the difference is painfully obvious. they feel fast and well-rehearsed. they're expecting me and pretty quickly take me in an talk to me.

i give them the coupon and show them the trim problem i have. even though i've talked to stevens creek about it twice now (and they've ordered the part for me, or at least claim they have), they've done nothing. this will be a good litmus test for boardwalk.

i get the car back in a day (and a call beforehand, something that stevens creek was missing) and i'm told that the trim part is on order. they'll call me when it's in.

i've heard this story before, but i won't persecute a company for another branch's crime.

$24.90 with, that's right, another air filter. and they even threw in a free tire rotation. so nice.


buy your next chrysler from autowest

when i bought my PT cruiser convertible, i was very disappointed in what should have been a turn-key sale from antioch chrysler.

instead i would recommend using the fleet manager of autowest dodge chrysler jeep, roger thurman. he was very quick to respond to me and always exceedingly reasonable in all transactions. but for an odd twist of fate i would have bought a car from him and now i wish i would have.

if you use him, you won't regret it.

don't buy a car from antioch chrysler

i bought my car through a third party using antioch chrysler. on every turn they tried to charge me more than even a reasonable market average for:

* extra components for the car
* a service agreement for the car
* a warranty extension on the car

they failed to remove an sheet below my back seats during prepping that said something akin to, "to be removed by the dealer only before delivery to the buyer."

they even went so far as to be "worried" whether or not i was going to complete my car deal when i had written them a $1000 deposit check WITH NO PROOF FROM THEM THAT I HAD WRITTEN IT. seems like *i* should have been the one who was worried.

if you're going to buy a chrysler, dodge or jeep, i recommend talking to the fleet manager, roger thurman, at autowest dodge chrysler jeep. of the dealers i spoke to (and i talked to nearly 20), he was easily the most reasonable, efficient and level-headed.

use boardwalk chrysler (redwood city, CA) for your service issues -- they're great

i've been using boardwalk chevrolet volkswagen jeep chrysler plymouth lotus nissan on 1 bair island road in redwood city for service on my PT cruiser convertible and they have been spectacular. they treat me like a real human being, everything is super-efficient and the work has always been spot-on.

they even have great people working the enterprise counter if you need a rental car. highly recommended.

don't use stevens creek chrysler jeep dodge service

this is just for the google search engines of the world (hence the title that ups the ranking).

stevens creek chrysler jeep dodge has provided me with nothing but weak service. read through this 'blog to this point and see that they've been slow/slack with warranty work and bad at treating me like a customer.

if you're in the san francisco bay area, use boardwalk chevrolet volkswagen jeep chrysler plymouth lotus nissan on 1 bair island road in redwood city for your service instead. they've been great for me, including fixing a remarkably difficult problem.

11,851 don't show me the light

last night the yellow engine light came on when i was driving. i look through the owner's manual and it's almost impossible to tell what the hell is wrong. the only thing i can make out is loose gas cap -- so i take it off and tighten it all the way back until it's all clicky. nothing changes, i'm still in amberland.


although i plan on changing dealers, i drive it to stevens creek chrysler, since they're the closest and i don't mind dropping a flaming problem on their laps without notice.

i give 'em the car, get my rental, and mention, once again that both the sport bar and the metal rattle in the back need fixing.

a day passes, again i don't hear anything from the dealer, so i drive over before a full 24 hours has passed.

they hand me the vehicle with this explanation on my paperwork:


nice sleuthing sherlock. it can't be the gas cap, i already tightened it (even though it was already tight).

they've done nothing with the sport bar or the rattle. in fact, they didn't even record it.

what's interesting is they claim my oil is dirty and needs immediate attention. strange since the the change was 1700 miles ago -- only about half of how far i need to drive it before it's changed (and with a new air filter). i can look at the oil and see it's just a tad brownish.

nevertheless, stevens creek chrysler, your service department is (weak)^(weak) [read: weak to the weak power].

{future note: if the engine light comes on and solid, it's not necessary to take the car in immediately -- it can be checked at an oil change. since i have free rentals for the first 7 years, 100,000 miles, i'll probably take it in immediately. if it comes on and flashes, the car really does need service immediately.}


10,165 service

my 9k miles hit while i'm in vegas but the vegas dealer doesn't have any coupons so i set a path through LA with a stop at la brea chrysler.

i have to get up bloody early to make their 10:00 appointment and when i get there they have no record of me. no problem, though, i'm taken right in and since they don't have a rental car site there they suggest that as a time saver (but almost certainly as a partial money saver) that i just wait for the change.

fine with me. i sleep in the lobby, occasionally awakened by some kid that is being allowed to run wild.

$26.30, including a new air filter (should be more like $63 without the coupon). the service and attention here is better than stevens creek.

the cruiser is averaging just a touch over 20mpg -- probably a combination of a 0.4 coefficient of drag and that amazing curb weight of the vehicle. it rides me some -- there's no question that's the gift that'll keep on giving.

to off-set it, i grab a rider from craigslist and haul him back to the bay area for half the price of my gas. which for me is like 40mpg -- or 7mpg more than my del sol would have done (not to mention considerably more comfortable at that distance).



6107 mile service

definitely putting miles on the car. back to stevens creek chrysler for the second oil change. i mention the sport bar still needs fixing (they'd called me a couple weeks ago to say the part was in). i also tell them i've got a rattle back in the covertible mechanism that's starting to drive me nuts -- it sounds almost exactly like 2 plates banging together in a dishwasher, but has to be something like metal arm components.

a day passes and i don't hear anything from the dealer. i show up the next day because i'm headed to vegas and need my vehicle. the cruiser is just getting ready without the fix to the sport bar or any diagnosis of the rattle which isofficially marked on the form as "unable to verify at this time." what it should say is, "we're too lazy and disorganized to do it."

at $20.49 you can't beat the price. but i've gotta find another dealer -- the bogosity factor here is too high.


3068 mile service

took the car in for the first oil change at stevens creek chrysler.

after having to wait on the drive for over 20 minutes (with an appointment), i got served by an overly-gruff service manager. he was effecient, though. got me in and out of their quickly. the change is cheap too, using an online coupon for $20.

[getting it is a little complicated. you:

1. go to chrysler.com.
2. click on "for owners."
3. enter the last eight digits of your VIN. this gives a recall look-up.
4. click on the ad on the page that's brought up "3 great services, 1 great price."
5. enter a zip code.
6. pick a dealer.
7. get a coupon and print it out.

am i willing to do this for a $20 dealership oil change? hell ya. i've got a lifetime riding on it.]

i also have a small piece of trim on the sport bar that is coming loose. i point it out and it's included in the service order.

i got passed on to a hertz rental car representative, carlos. like all rental guys he pushes hard for upgrades and insurances -- acting like i've, oh, NEVER RENTED A CAR BEFORE. (why do they always do this?) i hand him a vouchure that says the rental is $35.

i don't know how much money is changing hands, or from whom, but that car thing is weird -- especially considering that, on paper at least, it's more expensive than the change itself.

when i get the car back i'm told that the piece for the sport bar has been ordered. nothing else has been reported to me, which i assume means the car is fine.

which is great.

i suspect the 'blog gets kinda boring from here. not that i think it's a thrill-a-minute to begin with.



yes shirt, yes shoes, no service

now here's a weird thing. you can also buy service contracts ... this is a package deal you can do with chrysler that will give you all the service you need during the life of your car for a flat rate.

you might think this is something dealers would be very eager to sell you, but you'd be wrong. i beg, scream and holler for prices from dealers and places like chryslerwarrantys.com and all i get back is a bunch of confusion and non-answers. i think what the deal is is that people are so reticent to buy it that the dealerships aren't that interested in supporting it.

i call my pal at chryslerwarrantys.com to ask her why people are so slow to offer this.

"well, it's a couple of things. one, dealerships don't always honor the service coupons if they're written by another dealership. they're supposed to, but they don't always. that's why we don't offer them.

"second, they're expensive. not a lot of people want to fork over another two thousand dollars after signing a contract on a car."

"okay, thanks. do you think it would be cheaper for me to just use online and mailing coupons and do it onesy twosy?"


can't really ask any more than that. anytime a dealer says "don't pay me money," that just has to be right.


chrysler lifetime maximum care service contract (aka warranty wrap)

{note: i added this posting on 12/18/09, but pre-dated it to fall in with the purchase of the service contract.  bolding and CAPITALIZATON of the document is per daimlerchrysler's spec ... i have highlighted things i think are interesting, odd or important.

4/16/14 addendum: this is easily the most read page on this 'blog, so it's worth making an additional note here ... in your mind -especially if you're a brand zealot- you may think of chrysler, dodge, ram and jeep as being different vehicles, but from a corporate perspective, they are not.  as of 2008, the contracts for dodge, ram, chrysler and jeep look identical to this one.  the pricing on any of the vehicles is identical regardless of vehicle cost. my guess is all this would still would be true today.  i looked briefly at buying a FIAT and looked at their version of the service contract ... it was very similar (slightly better in some respects) ... everything here is very very close to applying those vehicles as well.}


CONGRATULATIONS! You are now covered by a genuine DAIMLERCHRYSLER SERVICE CONTRACT. You made a wise choice when you elected to protect your vehicle investment.

The enclosed Plan Provisions are your actual Service Contract. They fully describe the coverage and features of your Plan and identify you and your vehicle as being eligible for Plan service.

The personalized Plan Provisions should always be presented to your servicing dealer when requesting Plan service. We recommend that you keep your Plan Provisions with your vehicle's other important papers in the glove box at all times for prompt service.

If you have any questions regarding the specific service contract you purchased, contact your selling dealer.

Should you have questions about your service contract coverage or benefits that your dealer cannot answer, or need assistance obtaining Plan Service from a DaimlerChrysler Motors LLC dealer, please feel free to call us toll-free, 8:00 A.M. to 5:00 P.M. Monday through Friday.

1-800-521-9922 In USA
1-800-465-2001 In Canada
1-800-457-4330 Hearing Impaired

We sincerely hope you never need a covered component repair-but, if you do you have the security of a DaimlerChrysler Service Contract.

Ann Tomlanovich
Director, DaimlerChrysler Service Contracts

DaimlerChrysler Service Contracts, Inc.
P.O. Box 2700
Troy, Michigan

DEFINITIONS: The following are key words which are included in these Provisionswhich have particular meaning:
*you, your - Means "you" the Plan Purchaser
*Dealer - Means "Authorized DaimlerChrysler Service Contract Dealer"
*DaimlerChrysler Vehicles - Means "Chrysler, Dodge or Jeep brand vehicles only"
*we, us, our - Means DaimlerChrysler Motors LLC
*Plan - Means this "Lifetime Maximum Care Wrap Plan" which is a Service Contract

A SERVICE CONTRACT: This Plan is a service contract between you and us. It protects you against major repair bills should a component covered by the Plan fail in normal use. This Plan is not part of the vehicle's factory warranty. We are solely responsible (liable) for fulfillment of the provisions of the Plan.


The cash value of the vehicle will be determined by the average retail value as listed in the current NADA Used Car Pricing Guide. In situations where the repairs costs exceed the cash value of the vehicle, the remainder of the Plan coverage will be cancelled.

PLAN PROVISIONS: These are your plan provisions. Place them in your glove compartment. You must present these provisions to the servicing dealer when requesting plan service. They will describe the plan you purchased and identify you and your vehicle as being eligible for plan service by a specifically assigned service contract number.

This issuance of Plan Provisions by us shall not be deemed as a waiver of our right, or considered a restriction of our right to refuse to pay for service and/or to cancel the Plan should it subsequently be discovered that the vehicle for which the Plan was purchased was not eligible for Plan coverage.

NOTE: In addition to your service contract, your vehicle may also be covered by your vehicle's Lifetime Powertrain warranty. For warranty coverage details, please refer to your warranty information booklet. THIS PLAN DOES NOT COVER ANY REPAIR WHICH IS COVERED BY THE LIFETIME POWERTRAIN WARRANTY.

OBTAINING PLAN SERVICE: Plan service will be provided or assisted by the Dealer who sold you the Plan, at his place of business, using new or authorized remanufactured parts. In the event you cannot return to the selling Dealer for service, you may request service from any Chrysler, Dodge or Jeep Dealer within the 50 States, the District of Columbia, Canada, Guam, Puerto Rico or Mexico.


ELIGIBLE VEHICLES: Only domestic 2006 to current model year DaimlerChrysler vehicles (excludes Viper, all SRT vehicles, Sprinter, diesel equipped vehicles and all Ram Cab/Chassis vehicles) covered by a minimum of BOTH a 3/36 Basic Warranty AND Lifetime Powertrain Warranty are eligible within 48 months of the in-service date and 48,000 miles.

IMPORTANT! The following vehicles are not eligible for a DaimlerChrysler Service Contract: Vehicles equipped with right hand drive; Motor Homes; Vehicles placed in taxi or limousine service (except vehicles placed in van pool service); vehicle used for emergency service, ambulance, towing or police service; vehicles used for postal, dump truck or severe off-road use; vehicles converted from two to four-wheel drive; vehicles altered or converted from the original manufacturer's specifications; vehicles not used in accordance with manufacturer's specifications for payload and/or towing capacity; vehicles equipped with a diesel engine; vehicles that operate on other than Gasoline Fuel Systems (i.e. diesel, natural gas, electric, hybrid gas/electric vehicles); vehicles with a gross weight (G.V.W.) of over 14,000 pounds; vehicles where the factory warranty has been voided, reduced or restricted by the manufacturer; vehicles that have been declared to be a total loss by any insurance company, is rebuilt after being declared a total loss, or is issued a title indicating that it is designated as 'salvage', 'junk', 'rebuilt' or words of similar impact.

WHEN PLAN COVERAGE STARTS AND ENDS: Trip Interruption starts on the date you purchase the Plan. Car Rental starts on the date you purchase the Plan, and covers those repair instances when a replacement vehicle is not otherwise provided. ROADSIDE ASSISTANCE TOWING AND REPAIR COVERAGE START WHEN THE VEHICLE'S FACTORY WARRANTY EXPIRES.

This plan offers mechanical coverage as specified to the named original purchaser or retail lessee of the vehicle only, for the lifetime of that original purchaser or retail lessee. The plan ends upon the death of that original purchaser or retail lessee or upon the transfer or sale of the vehicle. The plan ends even if the transfer occurs by operation of law, such as to a lienholder, family member through succession, or successor business.


COVERAGE UNDER THE PLAN: WHAT IS COVERED? The plan will pay the total cost (parts and labor) less a deductible per visit, to correct any of the following mechanical failures, caused by a defect in materials or workmanship of a covered component and are not covered by the vehicle's factory warranty. The only exceptions are those listed under "What is not covered by the Plan".
This plan offers comprehensive mechanical coverage for your vehicle. COMPONENTS COVERED BY THE PLAN INCLUDE (BUT ARE NOT LIMITED TO):
 STEERING: Steering Gear Housing and all Internal Parts; Power Steering Gear; Power Steering Pump; Steering Shaft Lower Coupling; Rack and Pinion Assembly; Seals and Gaskets.

AIR CONDITIONING: Factory or Manufacturer-authorized air conditioning installations only. Air Conditioning Compressor, Clutch, Coil, Condenser, Evaporator, Receiver-Drier, Expansion Valve, Hoses and Lines, Low Pressure Cut-Off Switch, High Pressure Cut-off Switch, Clutch Cycling Switch, Instrument Panel Control Assembly, Power Module, Air Conditioning/Heater Blower Motor; Seals and Gaskets.

ENGINE COOLING & FUEL: Cooling Fan, Clutch and Motor; Radiator; Coolant Temperature Switch; Fuel Pump; Water Pump and Housing; Fuel Tank Sending Unit; Fuel Tank and Lines; Serpentine Belt Tensioner; Seals and Gaskets.

FRONT SUSPENSION: Struts; Strut Mounting Plates, Bushings and Bearings; Upper and Lower Control Arms; Control Arm Shafts; Control Arm Bushings; Upper and Lower Ball Joints; Front Wheel Bearings.

REAR SUSPENSION: Rear Leaf Springs; Rear Coil Springs; Auxiliary Springs; Spring Interliner; Spring Bushing; Spring Shackle; U-Bolt Rear Spring; Spring Hanger; Axle Trac Bar; Lateral Link Arm; Shock Mount Plate; Rear Trailing Arm Assembly; Stabilizer/Sway Bar; Stabilizer/Sway Bar Link; Stabilizer/Sway Bar Bushing;

ELECTRICAL: Starter Motor and Solenoid; Generator (Alternator); Engine Control Module- (Single Module Engine Controller) (SMEC); Powertrain Control Module; Distributor; Ignition Coil; Coil Pack Assembly; Voltage Regulator; Horn and Horn Pad; Transmission Control Module.

EXPANDED ELECTRICAL: All Wiring Harnesses; Electronic Fuel Injection System (excluding clogged injectors); Windshield Wiper Motor; Rear Window Wiper Motor; Wiper Control Module; Manually Operated Electrical Switches; Park Neutral Position Switch; Temperature Sending Unit/Switch; Oil Pressure Sending Unit/Switch; Body Computer; Body Control Module. Factory Installed Radio and Speakers (Includes CD and Tape Player).

POWER GROUP: Rear Window Defroster; Power Window Motors; Power Window Flex Track; Power Antenna; Power Seat Motors; Power Door Locks and Linkage.

LUXURY GROUP: Keyless Entry Receiver/Module; Trip Computer; Message Center; Overhead Electronic Vehicle Information Center; Overhead Electronic Compass/Temperature; Power Sunroof Motor; Convertible Top Motor; Electric Mirror Motor and Controls; Cruise Control Servo; Headlight Door Motor; Concealed Headlamp Module.

MOPAR ACCESSORIES: The following Mopar accessories are covered provided they were installed by a DaimlerChrysler authorized facility; Audio Systems (including Compact Disc and Cassette Players); Rear Seat Video System; Air Conditioning Systems; Speed Control; EVS (Security Systems); Clocks; Remote Trunk Release; Power Steering; Remote Control Outside Mirrors; Power Sliding Rear Windows (trucks); Transmission Oil Cooler.

INSTRUMENTATION: Electronic Instrument Cluster; Amp/Voltmeter Gauge; Fuel Gauge; Temperature Gauge; Tachometer; Oil Pressure Gauge; Turbo Gauge; Speedometer.

BRAKES: Master Cylinder; Assist Booster; Wheel Cylinders; Disc Brake Calipers and Pistons; Brake Lines, Hoses, Fittings; Proportioning Valve; Seals and Gaskets.


ANTI-LOCK BRAKES (ABS): Brake System's Hydraulic Assembly; Pump Motor Assembly; Controller; Sensors and Relays; Seals and Gaskets.

$100 DEDUCTIBLE: You are responsible to pay only the first $100 of the total cost of covered component repairs performed during each repair visit. Repairs not covered by the Plan are your responsibility. You maybe required to pay state and local taxes in addition to the deductible.

TRIP INTERRUPTION: The Plan will pay up to $1,000 for lodging, meals, and emergency transportation such as taxi, bus, or airline for you and your family if (1) your vehicle is inoperable due to a failure covered under this Plan or under the factory warranty, and (2) you are more than 100 miles from the address of record. Lodging, meals and car rental receipts must accompany a copy of repair bill and must be mailed to:  DaimlerChrysler Service Contracts, PO Box 2700 Troy, Michigan 48007-2700.

FIRST DAY RENTAL/CAR RENTAL ALLOWANCE: Coverage starts on the date you purchase the Plan and is not subject to a deductible. First Day Rental Allowance provides $35 car rental allowance if the vehicle is to be serviced for any same day mechanical or maintenance service.

Car Rental Allowance will pay up to $35 per day for a rental any time repairs take overnight, and a component covered by the Plan or the manufacturer's Warranty fails.

Total Rental Allowance per occurrence is a maximum of 5 days or $175.

The Plan will not pay for rental charges for a vehicle that is awaiting service or parts unless the vehicle is inoperable due to a mechanical failure of a covered component, or unless continued operation would cause further damage.

The rental car must be obtained from a Dealer. If a Dealer does not have rental cars available, you may obtain one from a licensed rental agency. Rental coverage is subject to state and local laws and policies imposed by the rental agency. Rental charges in excess of the amount allowed by the Plan are your responsibility. The Plan is not responsible for any refusal of a rental agency to rent a vehicle to you.



The plan provides assistance due to a disablement caused by any mechanical failure and in addition, the Plan provides coverage for such items as towing to the nearest Chrysler, Dodge or Jeep Dealer or DaimlerChryster authorized repair facility, flat tire change (with your good spare), battery jump, out of gas delivery (maximum 2 gallons), lockout service i.e. keys locked in car or frozen lock, to a maximum of $100, per occurrence. Any expense beyond $100 is your responsibility at the time and site of service. Towing assistance will be dispatched only for mechanical disablements which renders the vehicle inoperative. (See exclusions under "THE PLAN WILL NOT COVER.") This service is provided to you as part of your service contract to minimize any unforeseen vehicle operation inconvenience and is available 24 hours per day, 365 days per year.

HOW TO USE DAIMLERCHRYSLER ROADSIDE ASSISTANCE*: All required towing, roadside assistance, lockout, and other roadside assistance services described previously MUST BE ARRANGED AT TIME OF OCCURRENCE through DaimlerChrysler Roadside Assistance by calling 1-800-521-2779. You should be prepared to provide the DaimlerChrysler representative with your name, service contract number, vehicle license plate number, and location including the phone number you are calling from and a brief description of the problem. In some cases, DaimlerChrysler Roadside Assistance may authorize you or your Chrysler, Dodge or Jeep Dealer to arrange for local service and will provide an authorization number to do so. Your service contract will in these instances provide reimbursement of up to $100 maximum per Roadside Assistance incident, provided that the claim contains: (A) A valid original receipt of payment from the tow/repair facility for the services rendered (Claims which contain other than original receipts may be denied.); (B) The DaimlerChrysler Roadside Assistance authorization number; and (C) Your valid DaimlerChrysler Service Contract number. All Roadside Assistance claims that meet requirements should be mailed or faxed to:

DaimlerChrysler Roadside Assistance
P.O. Box 9145
Medford, MA 02155
Attn: Claims Department
FAX Number: 1-781-658-2691


*All Roadside Assistance is provided through Cross Country Motor Club, Inc., Medford, MA 02155, except in Alaska, California, Hawaii, Oregon, Wisconsin and Wyoming where services are provided through Gross Country Motor Club of California, Inc., Thousand Oaks, CA 91360. Both collectively sometimes referred to as CCMC. CCMC acts merely as a dispatcher of referral service to persons or entities who provide the actual service. These persons and/or entitles are independent contractors. Accordingly, neither DaimlerChrysler nor CCMC assumes responsibility for the acts, errors, omissions, negligence, misconduct of such persons and/orentities. All persons availing themselves of the benefits of DaimlerChrysler Roadside Assistance are to look solely to such persons and/or entitles for liability arising In connection therewith, and not to DaimlerChrysler or CCMC.


No Dealer, Dealer employee or DaimlerChrysler employee has the authority to modify or change any provision of this Plan.

YOUR RESPONSIBILITY: Your responsibility is to properly operate, care for and maintain the vehicle as prescribed in the owner's manual supplied by the manufacturer. You should retain all maintenance receipts to
avoid any misunderstanding as to whether or not the maintenance services were performed as required.

Depending on circumstances, DaimlerChrysler Service Contracts reserves the right to inspect, investigate, or demand proof of maintenance BEFORE performance of repairs.

DIAGNOSTIC CHARGES: You may be asked to authorize disassembly and/or diagnostics at the time your repair order is written. Your DaimlerChrysler Service Contract covers disassembly and/or diagnostic charges IF the cause of failure is a covered component under the terms of the plan. If the repair is not covered by the Plan, you will be responsible for the disassembly and/or diagnostic charges.

GOVERNING LAW: Except where prohibited by law, this contract will be governed by Michigan law. Note: Wyoming law is applicable to any contract marketed in Wyoming.


► Repairs or replacement of any component covered by the vehicle's factory warranty or recall policies; roadside assistance, loaner vehicles or other services which are eligible to be covered by the vehicle's factory warranty or marketing programs;

► Repairs to any vehicle that has become restricted by the manufacturer after the purchase of the Service Contract;

► Repair or replacement of any covered component when it has been determined that the condition existed prior to purchasing the contract;

► Repairs, Towing, Rental or Roadside Assistance to any vehicle where the odometer (mileage) has been stopped or altered and/or the vehicle's actual mileage cannot be readily determined;

Repairs, Towing, Rental or Roadside Assistance necessary as a result of (a) failure to properly care for or maintain the vehicle;(b) fire, accident, abuse, vandalism, negligence or Act of God including but not limited to any vehicle rendered inoperable due to snow, ice or flood; (c) failure to properly operate the vehicle; (d) vehicles that have been used or are being used for competitive speed events such as races or acceleration trials; (e) pulling a trailer that exceeds the rated capacity of the vehicle or failure to adhere to the requirements for vehicles used to pull a trailer as outlined in the owner manual supplied by the manufacturer; (f) tampering with the emission system or with any parts that could affect that system; (g) use of dirty fluids, or fuels, refrigerants or other fluids which are not recommended by the manufacturer; (h) failure due to fluid contamination or sludge; (i) modifications not approved or recommended by the manufacturer;

► Plan service obtained from other than a Chrysler, Dodge or Jeep Dealer unless authorization is first received from DaimlerChrysler Service Contracts; (Dealers cannot authorize repairs.)

Maintenance services - engine oil, lubricant, coolant, fluids, filters, battery and cables, spark plugs and wires, belts, lights (bulb, sealed beams, lenses), engine tune-up, suspension alignment, wheel balancing, wiper blades, exhaust systems, heat shields and exhaust hangers: throttle body cleaning;

► Brake pads, shoes, rotors and drums; battery are not covered at any time;

► Exterior - tires; body sheet metal; glass; plastic lenses; paint; bright metal; bumpers; side-view mirrors (glass/housing); wheel covers; steel wheels; aluminum wheels; door handles; weather strips; rust; water leaks; wind noises; all outer body panels; spoilers; plastic and fiberglass body parts; vinyl tops; convertible top fabric; repairs or damage caused by environmental factors such as acid rain, tree sap, salt or ocean spray;

► Interior - trim; carpet; upholstery; dash pad; door and window handles; knobs; buttons; moldings; arm rests and head liner: cargo cover;

► Repairs required as a result of use of other than the vehicle manufacturer's parts;

► Repairs to a covered component caused by the failure of a non-covered component and/or an aftermarket installation not performed by an Authorized DaimlerChrysler Dealer, or any outside installation of "salvage or junk" components in conjunction with an insurance or damage claim. All part installations to satisfy such claims must be with new or factory authorized remanufactured components and parts;

► Bodily injury or property damage arising or allegedly arising out of a defect in the design, manufacturer, materials or workmanship of a covered component;

► Any fines, fees or taxes which are associated with impound towing as a result of actual or alleged violation of any laws or regulations;

► Repairs, Towing, Rental or Roadside Assistance to vehicles registered and/or operated outside of the 50 States, the District of Columbia, Canada, Guam, Puerto Rico and Mexico;

► Mechanical - manual clutch assembly; repairs to snow plows, winches and trailer hitches regardless of their installation; damage to flywheel as a result of clutch failure;

► Shop supplies and materials;

► Loss of use of the vehicle, loss of time, inconvenience, commercial loss, or any incidental or consequential damages.

CANCELLATION AND TRANSFER POLICIES: During the term of the service contract, you have the option to:

CANCEL the remaining Plan coverage and receive a full or pro-rata refund.
Note: Refer to the cancellation/transfer policy section below for details.

CANCELLATION POLICY: It you are the original purchaser of the Plan, you may cancel this Plan. To cancel the Plan, you may take your Plan Provisions to any authorized DaimlerChrysler Dealer. The dealership will contact DaimlerChrysler Service Contracts to request termination of your contract.

If your vehicle is repossessed or rendered a total loss and your Plan was financed with your vehicle, the lienholder may request your refund. The lienholder is then responsible for requesting. termination of the contract through the Dealer where the-Plan was purchased. If the Plan was not financed, any refund due will be paid to you by check in your namefrom DaimlerChrysler.

If there is no authorized DaimlerChrysler Dealer in your area, mail your cancellation request along with your Plan Provisions, proof of payoff and current mileage on the vehicle to:
P.O. BOX 2700
TROY, MI 48007-2700

On cancellation requests received* within the first 60 days from the original purchase date of the plan, you will be refunded the full amount you paid for the Plan, provided no claims have been paid against the contract. In the event claims have been paid, or requests received* after 60 days, your refund will be based on the full amount you paid for the Plan less a pro-rata adjustment for time or mileage used, whichever is greater, less a cancellation rate/fee as indicated below. The pro-rata refund calculation will be based on terms of 7 years or 100,000 miles.

After 7 years or 100,000 miles, your refund will be in the amount of $25.

We reserve the right to cancel the Plan after issuance should it be discovered that: (a) the vehicle is ineligible or has been modified/altered to make it ineligible after Plan coverage has been in effect; (b) failure of the customer to maintain the vehicle as prescribed by the manufacturer; (c) the odometer has been tampered with or has not been repaired by the customer, or (d) non-payment of premium. Your refund will be based on the full amount you paid for the Plan, less a pro-rata adjustment as set forth in the paragraph above.

• *Requests Received - The pro-rata refund cancellation will be based on the date DaimlerChrysler Service Contracts receives written notification of the cancellation request.

All refund checks after 7 years or 100,000 miles on the odometer will be $25.

(Applies to the state where the Plan was purchased)

Alabama $25 Administration Fee.
California $25 or 10% of the Contract Cost,whichever is less.
Hawaii $50 Administration Fee.
Illinois $50 or 10% of the Contract Cost, whichever is less.

New Hampshire None.

New York $50 Administration Fee.

North Carolina $50 or 10% of the pro-rata refund amount, whichever is less.

Georgia 90% of the unearned pro-rata premium - no Administration Fee.

Oklahoma 90% of the unearned pro rata premium not to exceed $75. If we cancel, 100% of the unearned pro-rata premium will be refunded.

All others $75 Administration Fee.

Note: Plans sold beyond 12 months or 12,000 miles from the original in-service date and within 48,000 miles have a surcharge applied to the Plan cost. $150 of the applicable surcharge is non-refundable after 60 days from the Plan sale date. This statement does not apply to Florida, New Hampshire, Washington or Arizona.
TRANSFER POLICY: This plan is non-transferable to subsequent owners or lessees, even if they are within the same family or business except in the state of North Carolina.

{note: this clause appears on TJ public's policy, but not mine ... STATE OF NORTH CAROLINA ONLY: The original purchaser may authorize transfer of coverage, provided the Plan has not been canceled. Remaining Plan coverage may be transferred to the first subsequent purchaser of the vehicle AT TIME OF VEHICLE SALE ONLY. Thereafter, the Plan is non-transferable and non-cancelable. To transfer this service contract, complete the transfer form. Be sure to include your signature, This means you are authorizing transfer of Plan coverage to the new owner. Transfer requests will not be processed: (a) without the signature of the owner for whom these Plan Provisions were originally issued; or (b) if received after 60 days from the date of vehicle ownership change. The DaimlerChrysler Service Contract transfer fee is as
(Applies to the state where the Plan was purchased)
North Carolina $50}

If you have any questions or complaints concerning this service contract, they may be addressed to:

Commissioner of Insurance
Iowa Insurance Division
Lucas State Office Building
Des Moines, IA 50319


Write to:
DaimlerChrysier Service Contracts Inc.
P. O. Box 2700
Troy, MI 48007-2700

Note: All requests must contain your Name, Service Contract Number, and Vehicle Identification Number.

Or phone us Toll Free - see hours below:

1-800-521-9922 (in USA)

1-800-465-2001 (in Canada)

1-800-457-4330 (Hearing Impaired)

Toll-Free Telephone Assistance is Available
8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. Monday through Friday

For 24-Hour Roadside Assistance (including Towing)

wrap it up, i'll take it

i've been poking around on various web sites for several days now and have found the best deal on getting a maximum care lifetime wrap on a bumper-to-bumper warranty.

chryslerwarrantys.com has them for US$1709, but i joined a mailing list of theirs quite awhile ago and saw that they were offering discounts. the lowest they've ever gone is $207 off that price so today i bit and bought it. for $1542 i get a lifetime extension of my bumper-to-bumper warranty with a $100 deductible (the $0 deductible was about twice that). the $100 is cheaper in the event that i never actually use it for whatever reason (no problems/car totalled/etc.). i'm going to put the difference in price in some kind of interest bearing account (i don't know what yet) and use that for the deductibles.

an added side-light is i get a free rental car whenever i take mine in for service until the 7-year/100k mile mark -- and i get free road service during that time as well.

people on the 'net have been offered these for as much as $3k. i'm not sure what the bottom price is for them, but i'd guess that this is pretty close -- dealer cost must be something in the neighborhood of $1200.

the bumper-to-bumper lifetime wrap is both new and weird enough that none of the non-chrysler insurance places offer it.

but here's the weirdest thing of all. my car, which is the cheapest convertible you can get in the US, and a chrysler 300 hemi (which is about 50 grand) cost the same amount to wrap a warranty on. really gives you a look at how likely people are to turn-over a car before warranty stuff is done.


light's on, nobody's home

returning from vegas on the first long trip in my car (about 1200 miles roundtrip), the tire pressure light come on. i'm driving, but i'm immediately suspicious. the car runs tires at a fairly high pressure (35psi cold) and when something like that goes wrong, you can feel it almost immediately, and the car feels fine.

we'd driven out of the desert heat and up into the mountains where it'd snowed recently. topping it off was the fact that we were running into a few curves. feels like "false alarm" to me but we pull over and i whip out the tire gauge.

35 all around. odd.


blue body/tan top comparison

there's a blue/tan mazda miata that is owned by one of the property people at my apartment. it was essentially the only clue i had as to what my car would look like once built. i was able to grab a parking space in front of it and snap this hiptop pic for comparative purposes. note how the darker body also has a darker tan roof -- pulling the overall "median color" line darker. i think the miata looks a tad better.


finally, the ugly details

the day i got my car was sunny and crisp. since then it's rained nearly non-stop every day. the thing i hate absolutely the most about new cars is all the treatment that needs to be done -- and this car has had more than any i've ever owned, namely:

* wash and treat the roof with UV and fabric protectant
* treat the seats with UV and leather protectant
* treat the seams of the seats with a different UV protectant
* treat the dash with UV protectant
* scotch guard the rugs
* wash and wax the car
* treat all the rubber trim with rubber protectant

i'm an ignore-the-wheels kind of guy, thank god. so i don't have to worry about that.

professional car guys don't do a level of work that i like (real sloppy on the fine points) and you have to watch 'em like hell or they'll use armorall (which i really really hate).

so finally, with a break in the weather, it's taken me two days and about 12 hours of my labor but i've got it covered.

the car is easy to wash, but a little tough to wax. it stands high on the hoof and reaching the center of the high spots is tricky. also the grille on the front takes a fair amount of fine detail.

everything else is both as tedious and reasonable as you'd guess.

but now i'm set. and now i drive.


the closest of calls

i damn near got hit today. really close. close enough that i thought i might have actually hit the guy, but didn't.

i was driving up lawrence expressway, 55mph, pretty crowded and a guy just cut right into my lane. i had to have been in his blind spot.

something i need to watch in the future. glad i didn't have to deal with it in the present -- with less than 300 miles on the odometer.

break-in weirdness

thanks to the wonders of the internet, i've been able to read the owner's manual even before i got a car.

here're some key things to watch out for:

page 115
"drive moderately during the first 300mi. after the initial 60mi [don't ask me what the hell you were supposed to do for the first 60 -- the manual doesn't say], speeds up to 50 or 55mph are desirable.

"while cruising, brief full-throttle acceleration, within the limits of local traffic laws, contributes to a good break-in. wide open throttle acceleration in low gear can be detrimental and should be avoided."

[my brother, the world's best mechanical engineer, thinks this is just bizarre beyond words.]

page 349
"avoid towing a trailer for the first 500mi of vehicle operation."

[um, i don't see a problem here. i don't see a car and think, "tow."]

and maybe the weirdest thing of all
page 391
"for vehicles with a turbo enginer, a small amount of oil accumulation in the air cleaner box is normal. the amount will depend on driving style. the air cleaner box should be cleaned out and a new make-up-air filter element should be installed during the normal air filter maintenance procedure."

[i asked my brother why this might be true and got an illuminating response {that i can't find in my in-box right now}, this is almost certainly an engineering hack. the turbo is puttking too much pressure on engine internals so it's using the air filter as an over-blow area. i'll add more if/when i find his mail.]


a new car in nazi-land

today i have a new car.

after going through a nearly infinite amount of detail and a lot of back-and-forth with multiple dealers, as well as the cartelligent people, i gotta car.

the dark blue paint is a tad darker than i was expecting. the color contrast is striking. i definitely have never seen a car in this combo (although you and i both know there's probably one sitting on the other side of the bay this second).

the leather seats feel luxurious, although they're still really stiff.

the stereo sounds amazingly good. i mean really good. i mean better than any car stereo i've ever heard -- even in the other convertible cruisers i've rented. but i'm not sure why. yes, i got the stereo upgrade, something which i wasn't expecting much from, and that's definitely part of it. but there's more to it than that. it's probably something like the amount of air space in the car, maybe combined with the roof shape and the fact that the (fabric) top is three layer? the leather seats might help a tad in the way they absorb sound. no reverb. no echo.

the CD mechanism is funny. it's 6 CDs in normal audio or MP3 format, all in-dash. (no MP3 jack -- they didn't make the rev. to the convertibles for end-of-the-line.) you can hear a lot of shuffling when you switch from one disc to the next. i'm glad that thing's warrantied. you can't do that crazy kind of shuffling forever -- especially on a mechanism that is continually shaken throughout its life.

the car feels heavy. has a real okay-here-we-go feeling -- especially when you head into a curve a little hot. and no wonder. with a curb weight of 3400 pounds it's 1000 pounds heavier than my del sol.

it smells like a new car, only more so.

the owner's manual is bound together and shrink wrapped, but weirdly, the cover has a crease in it. it's been wrinkled, un-wrinkled and wrapped. that's just sloppy.

you can tell the car's loaded -- the little switch spot below the heater controls is full to the brim ... every car i've ever driven (including rentals) has had a gap.

and one of the coolest things? the window sticker on the car, at the very top, has printed "this car expressly made for b1-66er."

after i take a short test-drive, and sign a TON of papers.

one of the cartelligent secretaries was getting in her car while we were messing around with mine. she stopped and said, "that car looks really great."

"you work for cartelligent. you're supposed to say that to a customer."

"no! no! i normally hate the cruiser. i think they're butt ugly. but that one's really really nice."

i guess you can't ask for much more than that.

the cartelligent guy recommends taking a scenic drive -- essentially through marin just north of the golden gate bridge before the drive home. the day is crisp and cool but sunny. if i drive kennedy style with the car and seat heaters on, it should be a great ride.

and it is. real curvy, which is not the cruiser hallmark of rides, but spectacular first go.

i save the worst for last here though. and this is bad bad bad. when i'm filling out the zillions of papers i'm told that i have to fill out a loan application, even though i'm paying cash for the car. why? get this: homeland security.

that's right, the federal government wants to know about anyone spending more than US$10,000 cash for ANYTHING as a matter of "national security."

and this is complete and utter, in a phrase that i have never used in print before (only because i haven't had to), bullshit.

this is wrong at a level that's hard to imagine.

james madison said:

"it is a universal truth that the loss of liberty at home is to be charged to the provisions against danger, real or pretended, from abroad."

= and also =

"liberty may be endangered by the abuse of liberty, but also by the abuse of power.”

what have we forgotten in 225 years? freedom of the citizens is not a difficult or hard concept. you let law-abiding citizens do their thing. you don't ask for an ID to buy a pack of bubblegum.

why is this okay and where does it end?

i filled out the forms but refused my social security number (SSN). (there's a CA law that, thank god, says you don't have to provide your SSN for anything that is not tax purposes -- i'd bet a bundle of cash that the federal government couldn't over-shadow that law.) the cartelligent guy flinched, but went ahead and ran the forms. i have no idea if he filled in a fake SSN or what, but i know i got my car.

it sounds both alarmist and extremist, but this type of business is the act of a fascist state. a bad event on an otherwise good day. i should just ignore it, but i won't.

for the first 300 miles of the car break-in period i'm not supposed to drive faster than 55mph. on the way home it's hard not to turn the stereo up full blast, floor it and remember that sweet sweet time when could do this in a galaxie 500 without the government looking over your shoulder on 35 cent a gallon gas.


delivery date

although i don't actually get my hands on my car for another six days, today is technically the day of delivery (because of the dealer/cartelligent lag). this is the official starting of the clock for all-things-warranty, namely the 3 year/36,000 mile bumper-to-bumper warranty, and much more importantly, the 5-year powertrain check (to keep that warranty valid).

1/11 easy to remember.