Letter Re: Automotive Preparedness

Tuesday, Dec 18, 2012

The author has laid out many very important ideas regarding keeping one's vehicle(s) in working order and having the tools and know how to do repairs "on the fly".
I'd like to add one very important consideration - the MANUFACTURER and vintage of your vehicle. It hit me like "a ton of bricks" when the author mentioned his vehicle was a 1995 Chevy 1500.   I had one!  Without a doubt it was the worst vehicle I've ever owned. Brakes were worthless off of the showroom floor. By the 62,000 mi mark when I finally traded it the metallic blue paint had peeled off of cab, hood and fenders, five speed manual tranny was bad, exhaust system was rusted through, alternator had seized , caught fire and melted down (good I had a fire extinguisher / not good, I was over 50 miles from the nearest town) and it had gone through at least ten serpentine belts.  My daughter called me last week mentioning that they'd gotten a "new" used pickup and coming home the alternator caught on fire and melted. I jokingly asked of it was a Chevy half ton -- and she said: "Why, yes!"

I traded this vehicle for a  1996 Toyota Tacoma with 82.000 miles logged, back in 2000. I have a heavy camper on the bed and mileage is now over 160,000. To date I've had to replace a clutch, slave cylinder, starter, and a muffler. I also replaced the timing belt at 107,000 mi as routine maintenance.

Some vehicles are simply better made than others and can be expected to last longer and require far less emergency maintenance. - Rob in Colorado

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