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.