Waiting for the Nor’easter and my Chevy Cruze

The oil change and tire rotation has been on my radar for a few weeks now. My car dealership is faithful with its email reminders of such matters. So too is the monthly bulletin I get from OnStar, the high-tech service I continue to pay for because the radio commercial succeeded to convince me how great this beam from the sky will be when I lock my keys inside with the engine running and my baby crying in the car seat. Wait, my daughter is 24. She’d unlock it for me. Rewind … convince me how great the operator would be summoning an ambulance for me from Georgia when a deer darts out in front of me on a darkened Syracuse area road. And deer, they are aplenty here in upstate New York. I’ve hit three over my 31 years here, all side swipes, thankfully. Of my car. The, deer, too, for they all ran off afterward. And my hands and mind were free to limp the car home. Anyway … Knock on wood.

My pristine, sky blue 2011 Chevy Cruze, she of a mere 23,200 miles, needs its DEXOS1 oil swapped out and its factory-installed Michelins rotated. I also took the service rep’s suggestion of July — yes, twice-a-year is about how often I have to visit this place — that an alignment would help keep the all-season radials fresh for more years than if I didn’t.

I called first thing Monday morning for this appointment. The rep told me today would be busy. All 8:30 appointments were full. The 8:40s could expect a several-hour wait for such things as an oil change, tire rotation and alignment. Would I prefer Wednesday instead? News of the Nor’easter heading our way was out, I surmised fresh from seeing the weather folks on ‘Today” and the local news causing a late-winterizing frenzy of appointment-making.

Nah. I can do what I have to do Tuesday morning in the well-appointed Drivers Village Chevy-Buick combined service waiting room. I’ve been here before.

I began my prep Monday, placing my Chevy behind my dear wife Karen’s Mazda in our Syracuse city neighborhood of Eastwood driveway.

On “Today” today, they again talked about the coming Nor’easter. On the six- or seven-mile drive north to this auto mall, there was a wintry mix of frozen rain. The roads were starting to get slick.

My Cruze was checked in quickly.

The rep again said, “several-hour wait.”

Reading, check.

Reading, check.

I had done my part, what with this iPad with bluetooth keyboard I’m typing on and which took these pictures, the three-times-a-week paper that used to be the big daily that I grabbed from our side porch and the latest Harry Bosch LA crime novel.

Stay connected.

Stay connected.

Refuel, check.

Refuel, check.

Drivers Village did its part, providing WiFi and hot beverages gratis. I did have to ask for the WiFi code. DVoffers. It sure does.

Temptation island of vehicles.

Temptation island of vehicles.

My iPad immediately strayed to the left and the big, shiny showroom of 2015s available for a signature and … No. Back to the blue chairs, iPad.

It doesn't look that crowded.

It doesn’t look that crowded.

And so I wait. As newbies arrive, I see shaking heads. I hear talk of “getting worse out there.” Well, then, I will be driving with rotated and aligned tires. I should be out of here, in, oh, 1 hour and 15 minutes. Unless …

Did you see this recent post from my Ann Arbor friend Beth?

The one about waiting for car service and her car keys?

Have you had an interesting experience waiting for your car to be serviced? If so, please share. Do you get tempted to buy a new car anytime you go near a showroom, and if so, what’s your dream next-car? When’s the last time you got your car’s oil changed and tires rotated, and will you be calling to make an appointment now because of my post?

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73 thoughts on “Waiting for the Nor’easter and my Chevy Cruze

  1. I hope your wait is short and you get home safely! I usually change the oil in our cars…sometimes John does it. As far as dream cars go, I’d love to have an antique pick up truck in bright red! ๐Ÿ™‚

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    • Great idea for a dream vehicle, Nerdy. Karen and I went to a huge car show this summer and we admired the antique pickup trucks. There were mints that were so nice!! And way to go on the DIY. You two both rock it. ๐Ÿ™‚

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  2. Hate to buy into gender sterotypes, but my eyes glaze over at talk of vehicles. (though because your post was so expertly crafted, I made it through to the end fully entertained ๐Ÿ˜‰ ) My husband takes care of them and buys them. I prefer a not too pretty car as I’m bound to scratch it or dent it somehow or at least park next to someone who will scratch or dent it for me.

    Am glad the car repair shop made your stay so comfortable. That is a lovely hot beverage buffet. Hope you are ready to roll soon and the storm does not hit.

    Liked by 1 person

    • All cars somehow get dinged and scratched when you live in the northern third of our U.S. of A., I believe, Liz. Fact of parking-lot-lines-obliterated, salt-and-sand-spewing, pothole-lined, ice-skidding, snow-visibility-zero life.

      Yes, wasn’t that beverage bar worthy? Swiss Miss, even? The coffee was a ‘B.’ Powdered creamer.

      Home safe and happy with a smoother-driving car. ๐Ÿ™‚

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  3. I’m with Liz. Ho-hum when it comes to cars. My husband counterbalances my distinct lack of interest though, so it all works out. I live in FEAR of hitting a deer, Mark, there are so many here and they seem to wait until I am on top of them to dart out into the road. Suicidal, I swear.

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    • Knock on wood for you, too, Barbara. I hated it all three times. Body work on a car? Time-consuming, and that insurance deductible! The third time it was just the front corner with headlight, so I paid out-of-pocket as not to cause a third incident and make my rates rise. The company forgave two hits spread out over two different vehicles. A third straight new car, I thought they’d jack me up. So I ate the cost.

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  4. I just hit 100K on The Toaster this week. Before I started commuting, I was only getting oil changed twice a year. Now, every 3 or 4 months…thank you synthetic!

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  5. I would say after having the same car for 14 years now, I’m pretty untempted to buy a new car just upon seeing one… or driving one as I get to do when I rent a car for a road trip…

    My oil gets changed about once a year… which is probably too long even though I only put about 5,000 miles on it in a year. But she still runs anyway, and knows that as long as she continues to get me where I want to go, I’ll keep her out of the junkyard (or away from some crazy teen driver)…

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    • She has served you well, Bill. But once a year on the oil changes is sort of treating her a bit badly in return, even if you are springing for the synthetic and driving just 5,000 per. (It’s great to live so close to Mecca. You plan well, my friend.) Alas, she’s lasted this long, so what the hey!

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  6. I hope the storm is not too hard on you there in Syracuse. Good to have your tires ready. I have the new Michael Connelly book as well. Haven’t started it yet so don’t tell me anything about it. ๐Ÿ™‚

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  7. I think the coming Norโ€™easter must be a mythical beast because I have never seen one. Nor a Sou’wester either. But I HAVE had Worcestshire, which sounds similar. I just got back from the grocery store (wearing capri shorts) where egg nog was on sale for a buck since a whole mess of it expires today (ew!) and my Camry’s at about 110,000. Recently had tires rotated while the suspension was being replaced, and then it pulled to the left like crazy. They checked it, said it was aligned perfectly and would have to “work itself out” since the tires had not been rotated this year and were wonky. Hmph! Drove to Arkansas last month with it pulling left the whole time and son of a gun if it didn’t seem to work itself out on the way back. For the $1700 I dropped, you bet your bippy it’s gonna get worked out.

    And with a new Chevy, OnStar, and bluetooth, you should be glad I’m not calling you a princess because you are having quite a comfortable chapter of life here.

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    • Well, I will not lay any of my first-world problems on you, dear Kerbey. My new 2011 Chevy with low mileage because I work freelance from my recliner on my blue-toothed iPad that was way less expensive than a laptop since the layoff? See. There I go. (OnStar I’ll give you but, oy, the deer around here.)

      It must have driven you nuts to plunk down that chunk of change and then have the Camry pull to the left and have them shrug it off. Thank goodness it did “work itself out,” whatever that means in the alignment-dobne-wrong-tires-will-wear-eventually lexicon.

      Wonky egg nog is no bargain at any price through any directional mythical storm.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Oh, and someone needs to start killing Bambi because I’ve hit several in my day as well. Jacked up the front end of a truck. Those antlers will go right through a windshield. Dang deer.

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      • Around here, plenty of people do kill Bambi and eat venison glady, Kerbey. (Not me on either front.) And still they are so plentiful to cavort on the roadways when you least expect them. Down there, much hunting?

        Liked by 1 person

      • I do know folks who hunt in deer season and eat venison. Bro in law just gave us some smoked venison jerky just last month. But me–not a big venison fan. No, sir. I guess deer will never be endangered?

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      • We used to have that problem with the trucks Mark. The issue is that if the vehicle is left out of alignment too long, then the tires wear slanted on the face in order to compensate for the off alignment. So alignment slanted left, tires wear to right and car runs reasonably straight (because the driver is always pulling to offset the alignment).. BUT – realign it and now the poorly worn tires will cause the vehjicle to “pull” to one side. Kerbey was lucky it did work out. Quite often with the trucks (of course the tires were much bigger) once the tires were worn by a bad alignment, they had to be replaced to get the truck to steer straight. We used to take a pair of steer tires, flip one around , so the pair are mirror images (one slanted left and one right) and then mount them as a pair together on a trailer dual. This will wear the slopes off the tires and after a while, they will have a flat face again. Obviously you don’t have that option on a car and sometimes have to trash the tires and get new ones to get the car to steer straight again.

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      • I get it. It makes sense. I am glad that I took the advice given to me in July and got the alignment this time, at 23,000 miles. Thanks, Paul.

        Kerbey! Paul says you lucked out in not having to spring on new rubber for the Camry!!

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  8. I love the smell of new car showrooms and new tires, Sigh. I don’t have a car right now but perhaps someday again. Driving a new car is such a pleasure – great smell, no rattles, great handling, no worries about breakdown etc. Very worry free. .Your storm is set to hit here tomorrow (wed) although the sky is now dark with storm clouds and there is the threatening feel of snow in the air. They are not sure how much snow will fall but are expecting at least 10 inches.(25 cms) and maybe more. It was supposed to happen today with lesser amounts but apparently has slowed down and picked up strength. Keep us updated, you’re our canary in the cage, Mark. Ha! ๐Ÿ™‚

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    • Better than the canary in the coal mine, Paul. ๐Ÿ˜ฎ
      Rigth now the sky looks otherworldy gray-orange-red-pink. I think the slow down has stalled something nasty overhead. But still she is spitting rain, not ice, not snow. Knock on wood.

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  9. The North Texas Ford Dealer where I take my lovely little Ford Fiesta is not nearly as nice as this place. And on top of that I can never get the oil change without somebody finding a major fatal car disease killing my baby and easily removed for a couple of hundred dollars that I don’t have.

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    • I hate when the car gets to the always-$400-to-drive-home stage. Mine’s not there yet. Knock on wood. Yes, this complex does it up. It has every kind of make of car under the DV umbrella, so money to spend on the service portion. I think the idea of clumping a few of those together — GM service, for instance — is a good idea, too.

      Liked by 1 person

  10. I was in North Syracuse all day and honestly I kept waiting for this big storm that is supposedly coming. It’s now 6pm and I’m still waiting. So far all we have gotten is a little drizzle of rain here and there. I’m sure it’s eventually coming, but so far nothing.

    No real stories about waiting for my car, but I do actually enjoy waiting rooms, they give me time to spend with my Kindle and books on there that I have forgotten I downloaded.

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  11. Good timing. It sounds like you got it done right in time. At least your drive home should have been better than it would have been otherwise. Hopefully you got out of there without having to wait too long.

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    • The wait was only 1 hour, 40 minutes. Shorter than advertised. What a great surprise that was.

      And now my dear wife and I are both safe and warm and waiting for our pot pies to come out of the oven for dinner, and the weather guy on TV says 6 to 12 inches through tomorrow. Thanks, Me Who.

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      • Mark, the amenities at your car dealership beat the Goodyear shop I tend to take my car to! I get coffee, tea or water but no wi-fi nor much in the way of television channels! I would not be able to use the wi-fi since I am not sure I wish to upgrade my phone…
        I am like Barb (above- Silver in the Barn) with cars, I can take them or leave them. MIne is finally paid for and it is a Dodge Avenger. It is white… I would gladly take a car or pay taxes on a prize car! smiles!

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  12. Ouch. This one hurts because as I type, my car is in for its just-before-out-of-warranty check-up. Let’s hope modern engineering pulls through in a pinch over the next 3-5 years!

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  13. I spent some time in a Chevy dealership recently–helping my 70+ mom buy a….sky blue Chevy Cruze. Whole lotta car for the money (chant USA USA USA….) and amused myself during her test drive opening and closing the door of a shiny Suburban, fascinating by the mechanically extending automatic step/running board deal. Robot car. I’ve got an Expedition–when I haul old mom around I have to take a milk crate, along with the traditional running board, just to get her in and out. Next time you’re at the dealership, make sure it is a nice day, then find a salesman you don’t know and ask to test drive the corvette. Oh brave new world.

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    • Thanks for letting me know that I now drive the same exact car as your 70+ mom, Chuck. Score for my ego there. ๐Ÿ™‚ I’m not sure if can qualifty to go test drive that Corvette anymore. ๐Ÿ™‚ Seriously, though, the ‘Vette frightened me when I was 21. That was one powerful car back then. I thought they cut off the muscle cars with the Camaro now. Holy cow. I’ll sneak a peek.

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      • Ohhh Mark. You thought the corvette was poweful back then – you ain’t seen nothing yet – yahooo! The new production Corvette Z06 (not sure if it’s at the dealers yet) has a 650 horsepower engine. Ha! Take a look : http://money.cnn.com/2014/06/06/autos/chevrolet-corvette-z06-650-horsepower/ I was reading Road and Track and they did an article on it – it has so much horsepower that you couldn’t keep it on the road under slippery conditions, so it has sensors and a computer that will control the horsepower depending on the weather and temperature. it also detects slipping wheels and adjusts accordingly. Of course, it’s American Iron, so there is a selector where you can manually choose if you want full power or not. You should strap yourself into one and take it for a spin Mark – then let us know what it was like – few of us will ever get a chance to drive such a beast – consider this a blog challenge. ๐Ÿ™‚

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  14. I so LOVE new cars. Do I want a new car? Absolutely! Do I get enticed and excited and charmed by new cars? Absolutely! Do I need a new car? Probably. Then I look at my paid for car and fall in love with it all over again. ๐Ÿ™‚ How can I not? My husband and I are better off if HE takes the car for service. That way I will NOT come home with impulse buying cars. ๐Ÿ˜‰

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  15. Did you actually have to wait several hours?! That’s insane! Didn’t they have a loaner car they could give you?

    The ribboned cars remind me–who gets a car for Christmas?! Every year there’s an onslaught of TV commercials featuring a Lexus or BMW with a big, red ribbon waiting in the driveway on Christmas morning. Do you know of anyone who got a car for Christmas? I sure don’t!

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    • If they gave me a loaner car, I’d drive home, sit in my recliner, and do the same exact thing I was doing in the waiting room. Work on my writing. So I’d have wasted commute time back and forth. Alas, no loaner was offered. Just a shuttle driver who poked his head into the waiting room and asked if anybody needed a ride, Mark. Which was a nice touch.

      And those car commercials. Talk about wishful marketing by Big Auto. No, I sure don’t know anybody who got a car for Christmas. And do you think anybody of means for such a thing would make an impulse purchase on a luxury automobile gift based on a TV commercial? No, they’d agonize over it like you and your iPhone 6/6+.

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  16. Beth’s story was the most adventurous car waiting story I’ve ever heard. Yours was among the most friendly. That looks like a nice place to wait. Much different than the ones I’ve experienced. ๐Ÿ™‚

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  17. The good thing about the dealerships is that they do have comfortable areas for customers to wait. And coffee, and chocolates. ๐Ÿ™‚ It’s when I go to one of our mechanics that I’d rather wait outside in a Nor’Easter than to wait in the smelly old smoky waiting room. ๐Ÿ™‚ Looks like you were prepared for a relaxing wait.

    I had my own car story yesterday that I will share on a post soon. AY!

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  18. just saw this mark, as my wordpress is back in full play with the purchase of a new laptop. sigh! ow! pow! but i needed to take the leap to keep the peace with my creative self. thanks for the shout out and aren’t car care experiences an adventure? !

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    • I was wondering how long it would take you to go out and get the new laptop, Beth. Ouch. Ouch. Ouch. No coffee and blogging ever again, my friend.

      Of course I linked to your key-and-car incident. It’s only the best one ever.

      Liked by 1 person

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