Archives for category: cars

Antilock_Braking_System.svg_

St. Patrick’s Day 2017.

It was a cold, clear morning, and I left for work early so I could stop at the Dollar Tree to pick up some Luck o’ the Irish beads and accessories. We were having a party at work that afternoon (yes, my office is super fun), and I wanted to look festive.

My community is gated, and the gate I leave from everyday is on a hill. It’s not super-steep, but if the weather is dicey they will leave those gates open so drivers don’t have to wait for the gate to rise and possibly lose traction.

So, on this cold, crisp morning, I drove through the gate and hit my brakes as I descended down the little hill, because there was a car stopped at the intersection waiting to turn right. No extraordinary circumstances…just another morning leaving Lake Monticello.

As I pushed down on the brake pedal, the car wasn’t coming to a complete stop, and then I felt them give a little, so I pushed down even harder on the brake and then there was a whirring sound, and the car just kept rolling. I tried and tried to steer clear of the car in front of me, but there just wasn’t enough room, and I smashed into his rear bumper.

Fuck.

We pulled over, and I apologized over and over, not sure why my brakes decided not to work. It took him a good 5 minutes of digging through a pile of papers in his glove box to find his insurance info, and amidst a flurry of apologies, we exchanged info and parted ways.

The damage to both cars were mainly cosmetic, but it sucked none the less. I cautiously made my way into town and made an appointment to have my brakes checked, pronto.

20170317_074853

And my Kia dealership? They found NOTHING wrong with them. I asked how this could be…they had failed to work causing me to have this accident. Then they walked me through the workings of the ABS braking system.

They assumed that the ground where I attempted to apply my brakes must have been slick somehow…even though is was cold and dry that morning. When I described the accident to them, the whirring sound I heard was the ABS kicking in, causing my brakes to switch from the kind of braking that results in my car to STOPPING to the kind of braking that keeps my car from skidding.

I don’t like this system. I don’t like it because it has proven to me that when I go to STOP, my brakes might have another, brighter idea. An idea that causes me to crash into the car in front of me. An idea that causes $1500 worth of damage to my car.

ABS? I call BS.

Advertisements

13006746_10153733230139332_7488678448063395136_n.jpg

This past Saturday, I said goodbye to a dear, old friend…the Slovie mobile. I had captained this boat for 13 years, and while she had her problems every now and then, she never left me stranded.

After 255,000 miles, it was time for her to rest. She’d carted our family to and from Martha’s Vineyard, Florida, and New York. She transported every Christmas tree since 2002, she moved a treadmill, a couch and several gas grills. Hell, she moved my first born to college.

She’s the only car my kids have ever known. She was big & comfy, with a fold down seat in the back that faces the rear, and an engine that could blow anyone off the line. But she also had her faults.

Her antenna broke a few years back…I’ve had a wire coat hanger there ever since. She only had a radio…no CD player or Sirius, and a cassette tape deck that no longer worked. Only one speaker still functioned, and in the cold, the driver’s side window was very slow to go up or down. And she was very noisy…you could hear wind, and rattles while you drove…sort of like old bones creaking.

A few weeks ago I noticed a new wrinkle. If I turned on the AC, her engine would get very sluggish…and there’d be smell. Like burning wire. With summer around the corner, it was fix her or see if we could get something newer. But I have to admit, I was tired of putting $500 – $600 of work into her every 8 months or so, because even though she was fixed, I was still driving a very old, noisy car with only a radio and an oil leak.

So we went shopping, which was a nightmare. Let me say this here and now. Car salesmen suck. They are vultures. Our first time out I left the dealership in tears because a loud, fast-talking asshole of a sales manger was trying to push me into a deal I was not comfortable with – a deal that we had to take TODAY or it was off the table.

I tried to explain to him that while this was just a rainy Thursday for him, he was forcing me to make a quick decision on something that would seriously affect me for the next 5 years. But all I got out was a blubbering sob, at which point I ran from the dealership.

So we started again. And we found a great car with a dealership (Price Kia) that treated us like human beings, not as a walking car loan. And you know what? We got a much better deal on a much better car, and I was so glad we hadn’t settled.

13010606_10153734828959332_3602701442736319889_n.jpg

So here is my very orange, very modern Kia Soul, loaded with a CD player, Sirius, a sunroof, and bluetooth so I can answer my phone hands free. While she doesn’t pack the power or have the room that the former Slovie mobile had, she is reliable, and fun and catapulted me into this century – it was my first time buying a car with a “20” in the date as opposed to a “19”. While I detest that black racing stripe, beggars can’t be choosers – everything else was perfect.

Just so you know, as we were signing the papers and I saw them driving my old Slovie mobile away, I broke down. I had to leave the room, find a tissue and collect myself. She served me well – I just hope Slovie II lives up to her memory.