Yeah! I bought a car! A new car! First one since 1986. Summer is here and as luck would have it Canada Day weekend was going to be my first significant drive. I was excited. The important word in that statement is “was”.
Why a new car? I am a mechanic. Why would I suck up all that first few years’ depreciation to own a brand new car when I can do my own repairs and maintenance at a deep discount. Well, lets see if I can rationalize this one.
It would be best to own something that has the latest in technology that way I will learn about all the new systems and be better prepared to service and repair them.
My new car has direct fuel injection, turbocharging, variable valve timing, a dual clutch gearbox, and a Haldex all wheel drive system.
All of these technologies are becoming quite common in the automotive industry and there are more and more of them on our Kootenay roads. It was time I learned to live with them, study their idiosyncrasies, learn their maintenance requirements (remember what I have said before; “the guy who wrote the book never saw the car”).
Yeah, I know all these technologies have been around for years. I could have bought into all these same technologies in a vehicle at least five years old.
Well the truth has to come out. I like to maintain cars and ideally I don’t want to own somebody else’s lack of maintenance. It is sometimes very hard to find a really well maintained vehicle.
It is next to impossible to actually tell that some maintenance was done and that it was done properly. Just because a vehicle was serviced at the dealership it was bought from does not mean it was well maintained.
Poor maintenance in the first 100,000 kilometres may not rear its ugly head until 150,000 kilometres and above. Good maintenance is not just doing what the book says but it is a good start. Did you just buy a fairly low mileage vehicle and only several thousand kilometres down the road figure out that it is using a fair bit of oil?
Once new technology gets some miles on it is when the faults start to show up.
Gasoline direct injected vehicles have carboning up problems. How does one prevent that? Variable valve timing is very sensitive to having clean oil with very stringent physical properties. Dual clutch gearboxes need fairly frequent oil changes with the proper lubricants.
Haldex units also require fluid changes on a regular basis. Long interval oil changes are sometimes too long when the proper fluids and filters are not used or the driving conditions are too severe. Kootenay Pass on a 30 degree day sound familiar?
Back to my first long drive in my new car. Two weeks before my trip I get a speeding ticket. Made a mistake leaving Waneta on my way to KC Recycling. The batteries I dropped off did not pay for my ticket.
Friday before the long weekend I decide to leave after dinner for Vernon. Traffic is light and I am enjoying the handling of my new car. Remember I am usually at the helm of a minivan or an SUV pulling a boat.
Four speed traps within 10 kilometres either side of Rock Creek. I figured three would be the limit. Highway 33 is a 90 kmh speed limit not 100. I thanked the officer for only giving me the minimum fine. Time to check out how my new car’s cruise control works.
Trail’s Ron Nutini is a licensed automotive technician and graduate of mechanical engineering from UBC. E-mail: email@example.com