This close and no closer

“Gwendolyn has about $1100 worth of work that needs to be done quickly, and another $1100 worth that doesn’t need to be done so quickly.”Vent #1069

Yesterday I addressed the first half of that estimate, the dealership having ordered, and received, all the pertinent parts. I consider it nothing short of miraculous that Nissan still stocks most parts for this 18-year-old car. (So far as I know, they’re out of wiper blades and rear brake discs, though the aftermarket has adequate substitutes.)

The more alarming of the two issues, to me anyway, was almost, but not quite, overheating: on stupidly hot days, of which we have had an abundance of late, the temperature gauge, usually locked down on Just Below Center, began creeping up toward the dreaded H, though it never actually got there. The service consultant had been kind enough not to mock me when I offered a seat-of-the-pants diagnosis: the cooling system employs two fans, one of which runs most of the time, and another which comes in on stupidly hot days, and since I’d never heard it switch on, I assumed that second fan was kaput.

As it turns out, I was right about the fan, but I should not have judged it as the more alarming of the issues. All that focusing on the temp gauge had made me overlook a small suspension matter, which the service order states bluntly: “REPLACED BOTH OUTER TIE RODS DUE TO BALL JOINTS BUSTED.” Well, yeah, the ride seemed a hair on the rough side of late, but I had no idea it was that bad, and had chunks of tie rod dropped to the road, I would probably not be here now.

Here’s the odd thing: replacing the tie-rod ends meant doing an alignment, and of the fourteen measurements taken to perform this task, twelve of them were nearly spot-on. The two that weren’t, of course, were horrible. And the hit to the wallet, a smidge over $1100, was horrible but not unexpected.


  1. fillyjonk »

    26 July 2018 · 10:54 am

    Maybe OKC’s roads aren’t as terrible as mine? But it’s amazing to me that 12 of the 14 were almost where they should have been….

  2. Roger O Green »

    26 July 2018 · 11:17 am

    Sounds potentially scary!

  3. CGHill »

    26 July 2018 · 11:53 am

    I seem to address suspension issues just a hair late. On a run to Kansas City, the car emitted some truly godawful noises which proved to be the last gasp of a pair pf wheel bearings.

  4. McGehee »

    26 July 2018 · 1:22 pm

    Suspension issues can be especially serious for a freeway commuter; when something gives, there’s little room to recover — yet having to keep track of all the traffic makes it hard to notice the signs of a suspension problem.

  5. CGHill »

    26 July 2018 · 3:24 pm

    The connector from I-44 east to I-35 south is about 17 percent pavement and 82 percent patch. (The rest is debris.) Just listening to cars passing over it is painful.

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