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Shop Talk -Maintenance, The Dirty Truth

February 2014

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I had an epiphany the other day, and I'm not sure whether to be proud or embarrassed about it. Lately, my truck has had a time-out and I've been driving my other daily driver: I'll just say it's a two door coupe with a V-8. It's not new by any means, being a 1999; however, it's always been garaged and well cared for. By "well cared for," I mean I've just kept it clean with a bucket of soap and water. Drive time has been minimal, but with the cost of gas over the years, I've found myself behind the wheel of it quite a bit more often.

For days—well, more like for years—I've known that I should probably give it a tune-up. With 121,000 miles on the clock, I've done nothing but give it fuel, an oil change, swapped out the brake pads, and replaced the rack-and-pinion when it decided to go south on me.

It wasn't until I decided to go on a road trip that I faced the fact that the ride deserved a bit more attention. After all, this is what gets me to work and back, so I should keep it in tip-top shape, right?

I guess the problem for me is that it's modern in the sense that it has the ABS system, four-wheel disc brakes, EFI, power windows, and factory air that keeps me chilly during the summer valley months. It's always run well, never had a stumble, and, well, it never seemed to cry for any attention.

With the car generally running well, it hasn't been too much of a strain on the wallet. Still, when the day came, I had a hard time letting go of the green on this sprucing up, which included the fuel and air filter, plugs, a serpentine belt, and a fresh set of tires. Not a whole lot of beans in the grand scheme of things, but it was still hard to part with.

What's ridiculous to me is that I hardly flinch when it comes to my personal race car. We're talking quite a bit more of a cash outlay, yet I've always come to terms with it and just made it happen. And yes, there have been many a nights of living off less than stellar food choices; you know, a few grilled cheese and pasta-heavy weeks are worth it.

I'll blame it on the modern machinery that adjusts well to a variety of conditions. I tend to forget that most modern-day cars are fairly resilient, but after the current tune-up, I will no longer be taking that for granted. Since the upgrade, my mileage has jumped from 18 to 20.7 mpg, and given the number of miles I drive, that's money I'm putting back into the bank. On another note, it sure idles a lot nicer, and the freeway drive is that much smoother –imagine that.

I can't be the only one guilty of this, so email me at the address listed above and share your tune-up results.

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