Thursday, June 20, 2013

Never Thought I Would Say That

I want my old van back!

I like my new van, I really do. There is just one problem: I don't have time to go to the dealership every few months.

My old van -  never gave me a problem. Sure it wasn't pretty, and was small, and old. But it didn't give me any of the problems that this one has.

Shortly after bringing it home I scratched up the wheels pretty good while getting used to how BIG it was compared to my old van. I don't think there is a curb in the neighborhood that escaped my bumping and jumping.

And then it needed a trip to the body shop because during a crazy wind storm our friends basketball hoop blew over on it and put a big dent in it. The kind of dent that you could have lived with, and had it not been so new I might have. But did I really want to look at that dent for the next several years? No.

Next was the Tire Pressure Sensors. When the temperature would drop the change in air pressure would cause the warning light to come on. The tires are inflated with a heavy concentration of nitrogen. Can't get nitrogen at the gas station. I ignored it for a while, and eventually just put normal air in it. Problem solved.

But then it happened again. Only this time it was legitimate. My big fat van ran over something else. My neighbor put a bunch of stuff out on the curb, including part of a wooden palette. I think I ran over a nail. There was a slow leak. It was enough to trigger the warning system again and wouldn't hold air when I attempted to inflate the tires fully.

Did I mention that the dealership isn't even close?

So I took the van to Discount Tire, we have always loved them and they were close, and they fixed the hole for free. Only the beeping of the warning system wouldn't shut off. The leak was fixed, but now I had an obnoxious beeping sound. They said that they reset it and that after driving around for a while it should turn off. Well I drove around for an hour waiting for it to turn off. It didn't. We took the car to the dealership, with tires that were perfect, to get the warning system reset only to find out that when they put the tire pressure sensor on the wheel they installed it backwards causing a misread of the monitoring system.

But here is the problem. In order to fix it they had to take the tire off the rim, and doing so with the monitor on backwards snapped the monitor and it had to be replaced. So a free tire repair at Discount turned into a $250 bill at the dealership. The bills are adding up!

And then this week I spent another hour at the dealership starting at 7:30 am with all 4 of my kids because the automatic opening/closing door wasn't closing automatically. The previous day we had gone to a museum and noticed that the door opened after I closed it. Good thing I turned around to look otherwise we would have left our car with the door wide open. I was finally able to get it to close by "helping it" at just the right moment. These smart vans, are not very smart. There is no way to disable the automatic opening and revert to a manual setting.

Upon arrival at the dealership I was told that it would be at least two hours, and then if they were able to fix it that day it would be another two hours. Four hours. Four hours with me and my kids at a dealership unable to leave. No loaner car available. Nothing to do. Nowhere to go. That could have been fun.

Luckily they were able to ascertain within an hour that the sensor had gone bad. How does that happen in 9 months? But, the part would take a week to get. So next week, right before we move, I get to spend who knows how long at the dealership again fixing something that shouldn't need fixing.

My old van needed oil changes. In the five years we had it not a single trip was ever made to the repair shop for any reason. We did change the brakes one time when my father in law was in town, and right before we moved last year and drove it 1,000 miles, we had it tuned up. But it never let us down.

I hope my van is cured of whatever is ailing it and that it lives up to the reputation I thought it had. I made the assumption that newer would be better, and that newer would mean less maintenance. Those two things aren't always so.



  1. Sorry - appears to be the problem with newer cars. I will be returning home to my trusty Toyota Tundra truck that is a stick shift (they don't make them anymore) and from 2001. I do not look forward to the day I have to get a new one. GOOD LUCK!!!!
    Chey xo

  2. You just made me feel real good about my 2003 camry. was car shopping for the MB GL suv. looks sweet and fancy BUT it best not give me those problems with it's price tag. I will make sure to have nothing "fancy" about my doors and stuff. I'm good with opening and closing myself. keep us posted. that would drive me insane!

  3. I will be in the market for a new car next year and I hope the new car gives me about same problems my 2000 Xterra gave me, which was none. You didn't have to pay for it, I hope because it should have been covered.


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