... or maybe so ...

it appears that bankruptcy is imminent for at least one of the major car manufacturers, and there's no question that chrysler will end up pulling the trigger in that game of russian roulette. the obvious question is what happens to the continual car service contract? because if there's no contract, the continual car isn't a forever living vampire, sucking down the world's resources; it's nothing more than a zombie waiting to get shot in the head -- just like the car you drive.

i don't need that.

it's so easy to get wound up in speculation about "oh, what if this happens?" and "oh, what if that happens?" that it becomes easy to ignore the obvious, which is why don't you just ask the people directly involved. from an information point of view, by far the biggest weakness of the internet is hearsay, false rumor, and the absolute worst -- idle speculation. i'm not going to fall into that trap so i call daimlerchrysler service contracts, the people i have a legal agreement with for the continual car.

i dive deep into a voice recognition phone tree for my service contract number, ultimately not being able to tell what choice i'm supposed to make so i just say "operator." a short pause brings me to a real live person that batters me with questions. what's my name? what's the last 8 digits of my VIN? what's my address and phone number? who was president after millard fillmore?

i know all that stuff and at four minutes past my dialling the telephone we're through all the nonsense. which means we're to the good part.

me: "as i'm sure you're all too aware, chrysler is in big time financial trouble. they might go bankrupt. if they do, what happens to this service contract?"

service operator guy: "sir, we have no information regarding the financial situation of chrysler. as soon as we do, we'll inform you. but if something like that did happen, your service contract still applies. it's a confidential {i'm pretty sure that's the word he used, it stuck to me because i'd never heard it in that context} legally binding contract."

me: "i just want to be absolutely clear here ... unless something totally insane happens, like chrysler declaring chapter seven {that's the form of bankruptcy where a company just vanishes}, i am covered. if chrysler were to declare bankruptcy, like a chapter 11, i'd still be able to get my car fixed under this service contract."

service: "that's correct. is there anything else i can do for you?"

me: "no, that's quite enough. thank you."

... or maybe not ...



making it last forever

good article here on long term cars, with a focus on a guy that has driven his new '66 volvo p1800 *2.6M* miles.


it's interesting that the 2M guy changes antifreeze only every 100k miles (not to mention that his car isn't even garaged!). his car has the original body, engine block, transmission and differential; with an engine re-build @ 680k miles. front seats replaced 2x due to sun damage -- the rest is original.

salient continual car points below, on the chance the article gets struck in the future. {my comments in braces.}

Top tips from folks who keep their cars over long distances:

1. Regular oil changes are just a start. Check the owner's manual for when to replace coolant, transmission and differential lubricants, brake and steering fluids, air and fuel filters, belts and hoses.
{this one seems like a gimme -- i'm surprised it's on the list.}

2. Fix it as soon as it breaks. A worn ball joint or shock absorber may seem like no big deal at first, but keeping it on the car long-term stresses other components. Minor dings or scratches can become big rust holes. Deferred maintenance turns a survivor into a beater.
{love that last sentence.}

3. Drive gently. Frequent drag-racing starts and F1-style braking maneuvers do not enhance your car's long-term durability.

4. Budget for it. When you're done with car payments, save at least some of that cash for upkeep.
{... or maybe pay a little more up-front with a chrysler lifetime warranty and pray the fates somehow keep you in the game.}

5. Choose quality parts. You're keeping the car, so why cheap out?

6. Find a mechanic you can trust. A wrench who knows your machine inside and out is a valuable ally in keeping it going.

7. Keep records. If you wish to sell or need to make an insurance claim, records make all the difference in proving your car's true value.
{sell a long term vehicle? please.}

8. Enjoy driving! The point of all of this is that you like driving the car. If you come to regard it as and old heap you resent rather than a traveling companion on the journey, it's time to make a trade.
{there's another point here, but if you're in for the Long Term Game, you already know what it is. and if you're not, you wouldn't understand it anyway ...}

obama, fan of the continual car

this (c) reuters

"To reassure consumers wary of purchasing a vehicle from a financially distressed company, Obama said the government would underwrite warranties beginning on Monday. 'Let me say it as plainly as I can, if you buy a car from Chrysler or General Motors, you will be able to get your car serviced and repaired, just like always. Your warranty will be safe,' Obama said."


26,540 mile service

chrysler sent me an oil change coupon in the mail that was being honored by boardwalk, so i went back there. although the car was due at 27k miles, i wanted to take it in before i did another vegas drive -- it just made things easier.

i was able to make an appointment, take my car in, wait, get the change and leave all in less than an hour. good deal.