Thursday, July 22, 2010

My research tip of the week

July 22, 2010

I suppose most of my readers have figured out by now that I’m a bit of an American Muscle Car devotee. Nothing turns my head faster than the purr of a well-tuned V-8 except the sound of another well-tuned V-8. My first car was a 1969 Camaro, and let me go on record as saying it took Chevrolet another forty years to produce a new generation worthy of the Camaro nameplate.

Time and responsibilities have kept me from driving the muscle car of my choice, but the longing for one doesn’t dim. There is no practical sedan in my future, for my future retirement. No, my retirement gift to myself will be something hot and fast – but only if he has a muscle car. (Note to spouse – just kidding, dear.)

Bits and pieces of my life sneak into my writing. How can they not? My own experiences are the basis of what I know. So I’d like to impart a bit of car wisdom to you, to help you avoid one of the pitfalls that my character Noel Springs encounters in the upcoming book, Open Roads. (UPDATE - Open Roads is available at Amazon.)

My editor, and rightfully so, questioned me on the facts about anti-freeze. She didn’t know you shouldn’t mix the two types, which most people don’t if they haven’t had any problems with their automotive coolant. So in the interest of spreading the word, and hopefully saving you from a nasty surprise, here’s my story.

Listen well, grasshopper, and protect your wallet, and your ride.

Late in 2008, I took my vehicle in to one of those places that change the oil for about twenty bucks. They usually do a good enough job, and my spouse was laid-up with an injury, so I stopped on the way home from work one day. Everything was fine – until cold weather hit. I couldn’t get the heater to work. I stopped at the radiator shop, and the proprietor took a look. Then he gave me the bad news. Someone had mixed the pink organic anti-freeze in with the older style green I use. The result – gunk. Lots and lots of gunk. (Believe me when I say I instruct those places very carefully now.)

The whole cooling system was then flushed and refilled. A new heater core was installed. The mechanic told me he’d never been able to salvage one because the resulting goo was impossible to remove. What’s a girl to do? I wrote the check- $184.00.

A few months ago, the spousal unit noted the anti-freeze was a very peculiar color, and not green, probably due to residual corrosion. I took my vehicle back for another flush and fill, and wrote the check for $80.00.

The east coast is in the middle of an historic heat wave. It’s not surprising cars are overheating along the road. Last week, I got a whiff of anti-freeze when I parked my ride. I checked, and sure enough, there was a small spot growing on the pavement. Not good. So now I have a new radiator – to the tune of $285.34 - as a direct result of having the two types of anti-freeze mixed and the chemical reaction and corrosion it caused. At least I was able to keep driving it for a few days, and didn’t end up walking.

So that’s my $548.34 story on the research for in Open Roads, and my tip of week. Know what's in your radiator, and be sure to tell anyone who might top off the coolant reservoir what to use - and what NOT to use.

Do you think I can deduct that as a research expense on my taxes? No, I don’t think so, either.


Open Roads is available at AmazoniTunesBarnes & NobleKobo and other online book sellers.


Unknown said...

Yes, that 2010 Camaro is a hottie. I have cargasms whenever I see American muscle riding down the street. Dodge makes 2 of my all time faves, the '73 Charger and the '70 Challenger. I'm also big on the '67 Chevy Impala.

Thank you, thank you for this tip!

KC Kendricks said...

The Impala is all my father drove from 1959 to 1979. My parents had 6 of them in those twenty years. The '68 is what I learned to drive in.

The new Challenger does it for me, too. It's not quite as fast as the 2010 Camaro at zero to sixty in 4.9seconds compared to 4.6 seconds, but oh, yeeaaaaaah. And the Charger? I'd take a Gibbs-mobile any day of the week.

Thanks for stopping by, Melissa!