Thursday, January 24, 2008

Vaaaaanderful.

This post is about my minivan. Amanda is not alone.


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For those of you who are familiar with my mother's side of the family... that's where we got it. It is not without it's quirks as is typical of most cars with that kind of history. We've had it for quite a while now (since September) but I've become its primary driver only recently. Believe it or not I wanted to drive it sooner, but Superman wouldn't let me. I love the sliding door - much easier to wrestle a small, heavy and wiggly child in and out of her car seat without having to worry about the car door bashing the side of the car parked next to us or closing on my legs.

However, Superman deemed it a work vehicle and and not a baby vehicle and so he drove it back and forth until he was laid off. Before he went off to the academy he made sure it got new tires (chunks of the old ones were falling off - slight problem there...) and an alignment and also had the wheel bearings re-packed. The difference in the ride is amazing. It doesn't feel like it's about to fall apart any second! He takes the xB to the academy because any vehicle in their lot must be in complete compliance with vehicle code and the van has a cracked tail light cover.

My only serious complaint about the van is that the headlights are absolutely no good at all. This is fine during the day but the two times per week I have to drive in the dark to work (recently in fog and/or rain) this is definitely NOT fine. You know it's bad when you have to catch up to some other brightly-shining vehicle in order to feel safe on the freeway. I can see far enough ahead of me to drive on (well lit!) city streets but not on the freeway.

Of course the transmission is old and tired and the cold weather has made things worse. I unthinkingly threw the van into drive only 30 seconds after starting it the other day and nearly jumped out of my skin in response to the loud KA-THUNK that shuddered up through the floorboards as a result. I am now far more respectful and allow a warm up period of at least three minutes.

One particularly baffling quirk of this vehicle is the weather stripping that surrounds the windshield. Take a closer look:


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Yes, the weather stripping takes a detour into the space around the door and helps out the weather stripping there, too. Inexplicably, neither the windshield nor the door has ever leaked. Strange, no? Makes me wonder how the weather stripping got off track to begin with. I'm afraid to mess with the system because I fear it would start to leak if I did.

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