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Wednesday, August 16, 2017

I’ll be damned


I’ve never treated my cars lightly, except the Nissan my husband left me, with no further instruction. I drove it, until it quit. My brothers took pity, rebuilt the engine and instructed me firmly in car maintenance. Every since I’ve told every vehicle, “I’ll take care of you and you take care of me.” And so we’ve gone on together, very well, for forty five years.

Last weekend I drove my  Dodge Caliber out to the farm, on my sort of road. Here are Deb’s instructions: take 303 west out of the Village and through Richfield. You’ll go up a big hill and down a couple of camel back hills. My kinda road. I’ve driven it a few times, and, in fact, it’s the road where Jan and I nearly cashed out.

The tree crews were out, decimating trees that might drop a limb and black out the east coast again. The “big hill” was one lane, and we were flagged to a stop at the bottom. The uphill lane was closed by those monster chipper machines. When the lane of traffic cleared downhill, the flagger at the top turned his flag to “stop” for his traffic, and our guy at the bottom signaled “slow.”

I was half way up the “down” lane when a panel truck came out of the lane stopped at the top, swerved around the flagger and started down the hill, hell bent for extinction. I considered my options, decided I could just fit my extended van between two parking pads of the next chipper, and swung in, to the rush of wind from the out of control truck. Our mirrors cleared by inches. When I could, I pulled out and finished going up the hill. I do not know what happened behind me. I only worried my sister would be half way through a classic panic attack.

To my surprise, she was simply unfazed. “I knew you’d save us,” and on we went, to a farm in Medina to buy fleece. She had the panic attack the next day, with covers over her head all day. That van, Sarah, saved me in many ways. All her break downs were convenient, and saving our lives was above and beyond.

Going up that big hill to Deb’s last Sunday, of course my foot was on the accelerator. Cresting that kind of hill at a fair amount of speed is certainly worth the gas. But, my transmission was talking back. It gave a couple of starts when shifting. “Oh Dear,” said the driver, and eased up a tad. The same behavior on the saddleback hills, then I was at the farm and forgot, until I came home to the same reactions from my car.

Today was my first opportunity to get to the garage. Randy, the guy at the desk said, “Hmm. It’s a CVT you know, but we’ll take a look.” I came straight home and looked up “CVT.” One auto magazine summarized my vehicle well:

“In summary, there are a few advantages to getting a vehicle with a CVT: It’s good on gas, gives a relatively smooth ride, and is versatile enough for daily driving. It also has a few drawbacks. It’s nowhere near as fun or engaging as a dual clutch automatic or manual transmission. It can also make quite a racket when accelerating hard. Keep these points in mind when looking at your next car.”

Now I know not to worry. Continuous vehicle transmission. A continuous chain that runs on a whole lot of gears. I asked them to change the oil, and brought it home.

School starts tomorrow. 


28 comments:

  1. For many of us, if there is noise coming from the car, we turn the radio up. That seems to fix it for awhile.

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  2. I'm just catching up on all my blogs. Everyone seems to have written something this week. That was a scary road moment. I think some people would have closed their eyes! Not helpful, I know.

    I love how your granddaughter rearranged the potatoes in your other blog post. She has a very organised mind.

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  3. Well at least you know now the noise is normal for your car. I find it odd that school starts on a Thursday, why not wait until the Monday for a last "free" weekend? I suppose the date is set in stone?

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    1. Freshmen and new students started today. It's all strange.

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  4. Another good one, with so many layers.

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  5. Hari OM
    Schools here started today; the Heavens left the tap open for the poor little b******. I was holding my breath for your trip up that road. And am reminded Li'l Ren is due her service... YAM xx

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  6. That's a new one on me. Sounds like you've got it under control.

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  7. the car is the husband's chore though I do know enough to not get stranded. sort of. the year we finally parked our 24 yr old Volvo sedan for the last time it stranded me 3 times in 6 months. figured that was enough.

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    1. I drove the last extended show van 300,000 miles. That was Sarah, who went up the hill and dodged the truck. My friend drove it another 150,000 miles, and her body had rusted away. Someone bought her to put her beautiful engine in his van.

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  8. Lord, Joanne. Too close but glad you had the presence of mind to take the only shelter in time.

    School already? We don't start here until after Labour Day, which falls on the first Monday of September. To start now seems very early.

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  9. Joanne, you've had many close calls. You are a survivor, for sure.

    Hope your granddaughter has a great year!

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  10. A reliable car and a steady hand got you this far, well done.

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  11. Oh my that accident that almost happened would have had me peeing my pants. Glad it was okay. Hope the car is fixed. And good luck to Laura with her first day of school!

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    Replies
    1. It happened like in a dream or in the movies. I saw what to do and did it.

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  12. I have such a terrible time with any machinery. I have been known to start looking for problems when the car behind me at a stop light makes a funny noise. Glad all you needed was an oil change.

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  13. O.K., husband is not a mechanic, but is definitely a car guy. I read him the CVT stuff you wrote. He said CTVs are delicate. They are only used in low power vehicles (e.g. you wouldn't have one in a sports car or work truck for example). He said, yes, good for getting the oil changed. He also said transmissions have filters and maybe you could get that changed too. If the transmission pan is made of metal, when they replace the filter, have some high powered small magnets put into the inside of the pan (at the bottom, close to where they drain it) and that will trap any little pieces of metal which will help with the longevity of the transmission. So there you go - free advice for what it's worth. (Don't tow anything, either).
    On a different note - that brain of yours acted quickly enough to assess a dangerous situation and do the right thing! You never cease to impress me!! -Jenn

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    1. Well, I have 75,000 miles on her. I've never named her, though, and wondered if she was chattering about that.

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  14. You did have good reflexes!! Thankfully so too to avoid what could be a potential disaster! Hubby takes care of the vehicles here; clueless on them (basic knowledge at best). I figure if he passes before me, I'll just lease a new vehicle every few years so if it needs repairs, etc., it will be under warranty. I never drive these days so I can't imagine going over the mileage the lease gives one.

    Wishing Laura a successful school year ahead!

    betty

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  15. I am so glad that your reflexes were good - and that the current car issues are minor.

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  16. I wish Laura a very good year at school. Ours schools start at 1 september, 2 weeks more of grandchilgren around.

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  17. Good it was just a CVF or whatever. And for Laura - all that and she does laundry too. Wow.

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  18. Glad it wasn't a serious (aka costly) problem rearing its head! I always hold my breath when my car goes for the annual MOT in case that 'funny noise' that occasionally presents itself actually turns out to be significant! :-o

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  19. I am ashamed to say that what goes on under the bonnet of the car is a complete mystery to me.

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    1. As it should be. I always said to my cars, "I'll take care of you and you take care of me."

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  20. Dear Joanne, when I bought my first car at age 36 my dad advised me to do regular tune-ups and oil changes and to take care of the car. I did that for the first--Elaine--and drove her 14 years and then for the second car --Cora--and drove her for 11 years and then drove my last car--Hannah--for 19 1/2 years. She was still befriending me when I had to give her up because the doctor had told me "no more driving." All three cars became real dependable friends to me. Peace.

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  21. I knew you would save us--I like that response, though I understand the panic the next day. Even if my son changes careers at some point, I'm grateful that he can always be my mechanic.

    Love,
    Janie

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