OEM blues

In the two and a half years since Gwendolyn’s arrival, I have generally preferred to replace those parts that needed replacing with Nissan’s actual replacement parts from the lone Infiniti dealer in town, reasoning that (1) they seem to know what they’re doing, (2) the Infiniti store is a tad closer to me than the nearest Nissan shop, and (3) there’s no reason to think I’d get any break on the price by buying the parts from said Nissan shop.

I have deviated from this scheme exactly once: when I had all the dampers replaced. At the time, I said this:

A set of fresh factory struts, installed by fresh factory-trained techs, would run close to two thousand dollars. This struck me as excessive, and eventually I addressed myself to Monroe, which sells zillions of aftermarket shocks, and who, I discovered, had come up with the struts for the contemporary Nissan Altima, suggesting to me that they might have some idea about how to hold up the corners of other Nissan products. Of their three lines, only the topmost, the Sensa-Trac, is offered for the Maxima and its Infiniti sister; it’s nearly as pricey as the factory strut, but can be installed by mere mortals.

I am a fair shadetree mechanic, and by “fair” I mean better than “poor” but not as good as “good”; I can handle some things, but installation of struts is well above my pay grade. I farmed out this job to my preferred tire store, and pocketed / failed to spend [choose one] a thousand dollars or so.

I wasn’t expecting a similar compromise yesterday, but I had noticed some graunching noises from the wipers, accompanied by some streakiness, and I decided to buy new blades. (I have discovered that I can change blades in mere seconds, but fitting new inserts kills the whole afternoon. Maybe I’m closer to “poor” than I’d like to think.) The Infiniti parts guy looked at the shelf and said sadly that yes, we have no bananas Nissan-branded blades in these sizes in stock at this time; could we interest you in a Rain-X replacement?

They could, I decided. He brought the impostors out to the car, which duly impressed me inasmuch as it was 29 degrees and the wind had picked up a howl on the way down from Nunavut, and once assured that they did in fact fit Nissan’s wiper arm, we had a deal. I note with some amusement that Nissan charges more for the driver’s side blade than for the passenger’s side, no doubt because it’s six inches longer; apparently Rain-X does not. Amount pocketed / not spent [choose one]: about $9. I have no idea what kind of warranty coverage I have on these, but geez, they’re just wiper blades, they’ll be gone in a year or two.


  1. Charles Pergiel »

    21 December 2008 · 6:31 pm

    I had completely forgotten about Nunavut. I mean I think I remember hearing about it once before. Was there some reason for you to remember it? If not, your memory is better than mine.

    I gave up on wiper blade inserts when: 1) I had to hold the blade between two (2!) metal strips while I slide it into the arm, and 2) they quit selling them at the local auto parts store.

  2. CGHill »

    21 December 2008 · 6:38 pm

    We had 30-mph winds from due north yesterday. They had to come from somewhere.

  3. McGehee »

    21 December 2008 · 10:20 pm

    I remember that new place up north by asking myself, “Okay, how much of the Hudson Bay coast north of 60 is still govered from Yellowknife?”

  4. CGHill »

    22 December 2008 · 7:02 am

    As mnemonics go, not bad at all.

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