My 6-year-old Granddaughter refuses to ride in my old van anymore. She says her teacher says it burns too much fuel and the exhaust pollution will block out the good stuff from the sun, causing the earth to get too cold or too warm.
My 1999 GMC Safari van now has 149,000 miles on it, roughly 8 months, and 8,000 miles since the last major repairs performed early in October of 2007. I’m getting close to getting my money’s worth from those repairs. Using Shell brand gasoline has made the old GMC run so well that I now dare to have optimism about racking up a few thousand more miles on it. I mentioned in an earlier blog entry that the GMC had developed symptoms of a transmission problem. It turns out the glitch in the automatic transmission is typical for that vehicle make, model, and year, and is a defect that General Motors should have fixed via a factory recall, but did not. In any case, the occasion slam-shift from first to second gear is not a sign impending doom; it is merely an irritation. Many people had their transmissions rebuilt trying to get rid of the glitch, only to find it was still there after they spent their hard-earned money. A valve body needs replacing along with a couple of extra modifications in order to eliminate the defect. Real experts concur (not the national transmission repair franchise sales geeks) that I can continue to drive it as it is without fear of damaging the transmission. I will not be wasting any money trying to fix the glitch.
My wish is to drive the GMC for another 10,000 – 15,000 miles with no major repairs. After it chugs through the winter of 2008 – 2009, it will be time to declare the old Safari as finished. The tires will be due for replacement by then and the vehicle will have over 160,000 miles on it. The plan is to have a new vehicle, or nearly new vehicle, sometime between May and October of 2009.
Gasoline prices will have some bearing on what I purchase. The all wheel drive GMC Safari gets 16 MPG city and 22 MPG highway during summer months, substantially less during winter. In spite of my Granddaughter’s environmental concerns, I can live with that mileage in a new vehicle. My Chevy Cobalt gets 27 MPG city and 33 MPG highway so it can serve as the main grocery getter.
The Buick Enclave with the AWD option meets the mileage of the Safari and is a drop-dead gorgeous luxury ride capable of some moderate utility hauling. The GMC Acadia is less luxurious, costs a bit less, and gets the same gasoline mileage as the Enclave. I could live with either provided the major-purchase category of my budget can survive the hit.
For less money, I can get more of a utility vehicle by going with arguably the best all around vehicle in America, the Chevrolet Silverado 1500. I’m not sure that I want to go back to a pickup truck; there are advantages and disadvantages. With luck, I’ll have over a year to decide. Call me forever a fool, but I have my heart again set on buying American.
James A. Zachary Jr.
Photo above is my Great Great Grandfather, Civil War Veteran, Company C, First Kentucky Cavalry, U.S.
Mom and Dad had antecedents on both sides of that bloody conflict. Counties were split, towns were split, and families were split. It was never as simple as being the north versus the south.
The Preacherman says, "My advice to you is to get yourself a gun and learn how to shoot." The Gunman says, "My advice to you is to get yourself a Bible and learn how to pray."
TRIGGER WARNING: Guns have triggers.
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