Redline Doc

Jul 14, 2009 - 2 minute read - I never saw THAT coming

Last you a lifetime!

I found myself unaccountably angry at statements from the auto manufacturers the other day. The mouth of Sauron from Chrysler tells us that to save money and jobs (and get a handout from Uncle Sam), that they’re dropping several lines, among them the PT Cruiser. Not much new. One of the reasons they’re dropping the cruiser is that they put a bad engine in the thing; but it sold. So what!?

So what? So I’m one of the poor schleps that bought a PT Cruiser but had some misgivings about the power train. I put a lot of miles on a car, somewhere around 36000. I bought their extended warranty because it came with ‘lifetime’ oil changes. I figured at 30-40$ a clip and I change oil monthly.  Dutifully I took the car in for changes. Once day I heard a horrible racket from the engine. It was the power steering pump, I later found out. My mechanic looked at the car and realized (he called me under the car) to see the broken front motor mount, the torn high-pressure power steering link and the torn oil line. Hmmmm.

Cars are for me rather like black boxes. These even -=I=- with my untrammeled vision could easily see. The oil had been changed a mere 3 days before!  The dealer never did get back to me. I stopped using the oil change service.

The car will last until it dies. I keep it oiled and well fed but I know that time is not on my side. Now that its been orphaned things will only get worse. The fat cats at Chrysler will dine well and sleep without ethics. What saddens me most is that the country I love, the country I fought for, the country I raised my children in is eating itself, or rather being eaten alive by the corporations who made it.

There was a time when things were built to last. There was always a wink and a smile when some things had built in obsolesence. Where are the buggy whip manufacturers, the boom box makers, the 8 track fabricators .. but things were built with an eye toward building customers.

My next door neighbor when I was a kid used to tell stories of his dad who ran a general store in Coventry CT. One of the customers (in the late 1800’s) came in complaining about the axe he had. ‘Best axe I ever bought’ said he, ‘six new heads, seven new handles. Last me a lifetime’.