Friday Fives – travel edition

last time you broke down?

Gosh, I don’t remember.  This sounds pretentious, but I have a Toyota truck, and it rarely fails me.  I am sure I just jinxed myself for the ride home now.  Good thing is, I have AAA – in that I work there.  I’ll tell you a story about this, because it really needs to be a Toyota commercial.  Before this truck (Tundra) I had a couple of Ford F250s.  They both had tons of electrical issues, but otherwise were great trucks.  When I had the Fords, I found myself going to the local auto part store so often, I knew them all by name, and they knew me.  Once I got the Tundra, though, I wasn’t ever there.  When I finally went in get to light bulb and they asked where I had been all these years.  I replied ‘Oh, I got a Toyota’ and they totally understood.

worst time you broke down?

Driving in England in a rental car, we got a flat.  No problem.  I pulled out the spare and swapped the tires.  Everything was fine, except people were AMAZED I was changing a tire.  Multiple people were just stunned I would do such a thing.  Anyhow, we get back to the rental car place and tell them what happened.  Basically, I figured I was a hero.  I fixed the situation myself, and saved them money and trouble.  Plus, we had bought insurance.

Well,they explained that tires were not covered, no matter what tier of insurance I had bought.  It was a $300 charge.  My thought was ‘hey, fuck you.  You gave me a shitty tire and tried to kill me.  Heroically, I fixed the car, and you are welcome.’  Nope.  $300.  Limey bastards.  We disputed it on our credit card, but I don’t remember the outcome.  I know this, though.  If you are driving in England and get a flat, just fix it… and tell NO ONE.  I also explained that to them.

what car was just all trouble?

Both my Ford F250 trucks had constant electrical issues.  The upside is that I learned a ton about fuses and alternators.  I even replaced an alternator myself.  I became the master of fuses, micro and otherwise.  It also forced me to buy a battery box (to keep in the vehicle) and a trickle charger to keep at home.  Both were super good investments.  I also learned not to buy a Ford.

what kind of maintenance can you do, on the fly (like side of the road)?

Well, I haven’t had to do more than change a tire, but I reckon I could replace a Camshaft Position Sensor on a diesel.  Also, I know some tricks with a bad started, that literally involve banging on it with a screwdriver handle.  Still works!  I am pretty good with radiator hoses, too, after blowing up a couple of engines when I was younger and knew no better.

what awesome feature is your car missing right now?

Heated seats.  I must have heated seats, and my truck doesn’t have them.  My next truck will.  For a few years, I had an aftermarket one that was awesome.  It just bunjeed over the seat, and plugged into the cigarette lighter.  It finally died, and I couldn’t replace it… got it from Skymall.  Skymall is no longer, which makes me a sad panda.

Sadly, I know this much; when I replace this truck, it won’t have a charger that stays charging when the vehicle is off.  All cars now have them die as soon as you pull the key, for obvious reasons.  My truck gives me the choice.  I have 4 of those ports, and two of them stay on for 45 minutes after you pull the key.  This is the best for a dying phone if you are running errands, or camping.

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