quote of the moment

"[FIAT] are, by far, the leader in use of substandard materials and underdesign..they are to cars what Shasta is to soda...Diet Shasta."
-- b1-67er


in just one week, chrysler has responded to my request for a 100,000 mile club license plate bracket.

with $6 worth of postage, there are three items in the envelope:

the bracket

a letter

Dear b1,

We are delighted to learn of your satisfaction* with your 2008 PT Cruiser!  Thank you for sharing your experience.

It's quite a milestone to watch your odometer roll over to 102,000 miles and to share our appreciation we have enclosed a 100,000 mile license plate bracket for your vehicle.  Chrysler Group LLC want to honor you and your vehicle for this achievement and wish you many more safe and pleasurable driving miles.



Senior Staff

*(i actually didn't mention anything about my satisfaction in my request for the bracket, but this isn't the first time someone associated with chrysler has put words in my mouth, nor the second.)

and a propaganda sheet from the manufacturer of the bracket
"olde country reproductions."  their leaflet includes a description of their nearly unbelievable non-toxic alloy, "pewtarex."  i'm sure you are both as relieved and amazed as i am that to know that pewtarex can be used not only for purely decorative purposes (ala, say, a license plate bracket?), but also is "perfectly safe, durable, and attractive for food and drink service."

just how will my brother -- with his 300,000 mile (and commemorative bracket-less) ford -- feel when i serve him nachos and wine on my club bracket when we celebrate this remarkable achievement?

safe.  that's how.

seriously, though, thank you for the gift, chrysler.


trailer overview

i want to create a page just to keep track of my trailer basics.  not part of the continual car, per se, but easier to keep track of here.

harbor freight item #42708
tire inflation pressure is 60 psi
rotate tires every 5000 miles
recommended max. speed according to the manual 45 mph
repack bearings every 2500 miles (or get bearing buddies)
trailer load limit is 870 lb
the tire is a 62M (weight rated at 580lbs! - speed rated at 81mph)

back-dating this entry to sit next to the first trailer entry

102,284 mile service

because it involves a timing belt, from a dollar point-of-view, this is the big one.

i called prestige last month, hoping to get a free rental on my belt change before i hit 100K miles, but ran out of time ... the price they quoted then was $1350 for the timing belt alone ... but it was clear in the conversation that the price had some flexibility to it ...

so before i went in, i negotiated ... according to the manual, i was supposed to change plugs back in august, but hadn't gotten around to it yet ... my brother and i did these at 60K miles and he was appalled by how hard the job was ... so maybe i can get that thrown in as well.

for $1400 they did my timing belt, replaced the spark plugs, did a radiator flush (first one! -- only needs it every 100K miles) and did an oil change.  it's not cheap (especially considering that all my dealer services to this point have been $1750), but i feel good about the discount, remembering that i want to keep this work at a chrysler dealer and considering the alternatives.

i'm also completely caught up with my car now (and it'll be another five years before i have to hit this hard again).

my service advisor asked about the engine mounts ... when i told him they'd never been replaced, he was surprised, so he had the crew look them over as well (he wrote "CUST STATES THERE IS A VIBRATION WHEN IDLING," which i definitely did not, but they have to write something in order to look it over).  yet, when they inspected it, it was fine.

"someone must have changed 'em sometime."

maybe.  but i drive a car pretty soft.  i don't excessively speed.  i don't jackrabbit start.  i don't corner hard anyway, but especially not in a cruiser (which has way more understeer than i'm comfortable with).  i'm infamous for coasting to a stop ... so maybe it's just the way i drive.


this is by far the biggest charge i've ever had against this car ... it'd be nice to not beat that record.

(i asked for my used spark plugs back to examine the ignition characteristics on them.  the replacement boxes they were in were Champion with a two year warranty -- regardless of mileage ... i'm using this as a green light to back off changing if i get more than 30K miles in the next two years.)