Monday, August 28, 2006

Another Unexpected Repair.

I was hoping to finish up a couple of posts this weekend, but unfortunately all of my time since Friday was spent looking for another vehicle to replace our Ford Windstar mini-van. If you recall in my post before I left for vacation, I got hit with several expensive repairs. Well we got hit with another VERY expensive repair estimate this last Thursday. My wife called me at work and reported that the van suddenly started misfiring and the check engine light came on while she was driving down the freeway with the kids. The engine actually cut out and lost power for a moment making steering very difficult. The engine kicked in again and she managed to keep the vehicle running long enough to get the vehicle off the freeway at the next exit, which conveniently led right to the road where the Lincoln-Mercury dealer was located. They were able to get the vehicle in the shop right away to diagnose the issue. We thought that it was likely another fuel injector, but unfortunately the engine lost all compression in one cylinder. Estimate to replace the engine was approximately $5,000! We had already spent nearly $1600 on repairs before vacation. Given the recent barrage of repairs and the Windstar’s less than stellar reputation for mechanical reliability, we were not too keen on putting any more money into the vehicle. In all likelihood, the next major repair would be the transmission which has been known to be a major issue on the Windstar. In my mind, it was more a matter of when, rather than if. That would likely be another $2,000. Since the cost of the repairs would exceed the market value of the vehicle (Windstars do not hold their value very well), we decided that we should just cut our losses and acquire another vehicle. So the venture for another vehicle began. I really hate shopping for a car, especially when you need to find another one as soon as possible and have a limited budget. We had hoped to put off purchasing another vehicle for another year. What is really irritating is that I take great effort to maintain my vehicles (regular oil changes, etc.).

After much research into the reliability ratings of other mini-vans, I came to the conclusion that I really did not want to take a chance on another American made mini-van. We finally found a good used Honda Odyssey a few years old within our budget. Even with a few miles on it, this vehicle runs smoother, rides better and has more comfortable seats than our Windstar did when it was only a couple of years old.

I don’t know why American manufacturers can’t build decent cars that can hold together. They seem to be able to build solid trucks, especially Ford. I have an older Ford F-150 with over 145,000 miles on it that I drive to work. It has proven itself extremely dependable and the reliability ratings are stellar. Unfortunately, I cannot say the same for the Ford cars. And they wonder why they are in trouble and the imports are pulling ahead.

Maybe it is just a sign that postmodernism has infiltrated the field of automotive engineering. You know, the text in those physics and science books really does not have any inherent meaning and must be deconstructed within a postmodern context :)

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