The Finch Formerly Known As Gold

16 September 2005

Let the degradation begin

Faithful Sandy, my long-suffering (for almost five years now) Mazda sedan, is now showing 49,999.9 miles: time to kiss the warranty goodbye.

Actually, the original factory coverage was three years/50,000 miles, so the warranty has been up for twenty-three months, but there's no string of digits on the dash to tell you when a date has passed.

Were I more cynical — I am told this is possible — I would assume that horrible things will start happening 500 feet from the parking lot.

And actually, I have one minor concern. I filled up last evening at a Valero station ($2.559, twenty cents below the price of my previous fill), and while the recorded 23.7 mpg is within spec, the last three tanks have been hovering in the just-under-24 range, about 0.5 to 1 mpg less than I usually expect this time of year. Apart from the age of the car, only one thing has changed: the windshield, which probably doesn't matter, and the molding around it, which might, since it's slightly smaller and tighter than the OEM product, leaving a seemingly-insignificant gap in the channel which, I'm guessing, has a small negative effect on airflow. Then again, I only got Bs in physics, and at least I can see out of the darn thing.

Posted at 7:13 AM to Driver's Seat , General Disinterest

I think they opened up production of the simpler "winter" blend gasoline to help out the recent price and distribution shocks. Maybe your gas is actually different now?

Posted by: Brad Warbiany at 7:57 AM on 16 September 2005

Hmmm. Could be — although the first time I noticed the decline, it was before Katrina.

It certainly could be a contributing factor, however.

Posted by: CGHill at 8:21 AM on 16 September 2005

I'd also think that the tires you have on probably have some wear on them, given the world touring. I'd bet some of the drop is the increased friction of the old rubber. I notice better mileage on my bike when the rubber is brand new as opposed to road worn.

Posted by: uturn at 2:05 PM on 16 September 2005

Well, I'm about due for new rubber, and I hope I can find it in my heart (or within my credit line) to pick up a set of Michelin X-Ones; I had them on my previous 626, and they were utterly wonderful.

(I'm currently on Bridgestone Turanzas, which have good grip in the dry, less good in the wet, better snow traction than you'd think, and an incredible amount of noise.)

Posted by: CGHill at 7:30 PM on 16 September 2005

In St Louis today I saw a dealership with a huge sign advertising their 2 Year 100,000 mile warranty.


Posted by: Dwayne at 10:34 PM on 16 September 2005

This is like those thousand-hours-free CDs AOL gives away to any living creature and a handful of known minerals; to use them up in the time alloted you have to stay online virtually (!) nonstop.

Posted by: CGHill at 3:04 PM on 17 September 2005

Not to be all positive about things, but the transmission in our Grand Cherokee burned up exactly 23 miles past the warranty expiration (and on Christmas day). It was a nice little 3K bill from the Anti-Santa.

Posted by: Matt at 1:59 AM on 18 September 2005

Actually, the slushbox in the car I drive has a reputation for fragility, partly due to obvious design flaws which took a couple of model years to correct. With those issues having been addressed, I'm operating under the assumption that a little more than average attention to the fluid will buy me lots of time: a dozen flushes at $130 per would still be cheaper than a single rebuild.

Posted by: CGHill at 8:33 AM on 18 September 2005