Tuesday, May 29, 2007

My Van and Its Problems

I couldn't find my cell phone today. I tried calling it, I dug in my blazer pockets, I checked under my keyboard... it was nowhere to be seen. I thought about where I could have left it, perhaps in the van? No, why the van? Did I drop it? Then I remembered--I had to use my cell phone to prop up the latch for my gas tank, I probably left it there...

Yes, in fact, I did. This problem, and others, explained, below:


My van is a 1988 Dodge Minivan. It's not actually mine, it belongs to my parents, although the vehicle and I are the same age. I don't know much auto tech stuff, so I'll tell you what I do know. The speedometer goes up to 85 MPH. It has four wheels. I can seat seven, including driver, with belts. It is silver/gray, although the paint is peeling off. There are no power locks; you actually "roll up" the windows. Yea, in '88, those were luxuries.
I put a sticker on the back from a Mini Cooper ad that reads "Whiptastic Handling." On this vehicle, that is a complete lie.

+ The turn indicator stops blinking sometimes, instead turning a solid color. To remedy this, I manually make it blink. (That is, I sit there and flick the blinker on and off at a regular pace.) Sometimes, that gets boring, and I mix it up a bit with a few strange blinking beats.

+ The seats are disintegrating. I got some beaded seats the other day; perhaps they'll help.

+ The transmission is dying. If I stop too suddenly for the gears to shift down correctly, when I start accelerating again, they shift suddenly, causing the entire vehicle to clunk back into motion, literally. This jolts the entire vehicle and everyone inside, frightening newcomers and veterans alike.

+ Everytime I go over 45, who ever is in the passenger seat asks, "What's that noise?" There's something near the wheel or something that makes a rattling at higher speeds. I have no clue what it is or if it is life threatening.

+ The "WASHERFLUID LIGHT" is always on on the dashboard. Why? I'm out of the stuff. Why don't I buy more? The sprayers don't work; if I try to use them, washer fluid sputters down the hood of the car, like tears of an old woman.

+ If the gas tank runs under 1/4 tank, it starts to run poorly. Supposedly there's crap floating in the tank, and it starts to go into the engine in I run it down too low. Either that or the gas gauge is broken, and I'm actually running out of gas before I reach empty.

+ The overhead reading lights never work when you first flick the switch. You have to slap the lights a few times before they turn on.

+ If you want to use the back door, the key hole actually still works. However, the hydraulics that hold the door up do not. As a result, if someone actually wants to use the back door for more than few seconds, they have to prop the door open with a stick.

+ The heating and AC still work too. However, if one tries to accelerate while using them, one of the belts in the engine starts to screech.

+ Sometimes the lights on the clock cut out. Flicking the clock will turn them back on.

+ The foam/cloth composite ceiling disintegrated long ago. What's left is a hideous foam of unknown nature.

+ The steering wheel always leaves a weird smell on your hands... rotting rubber or something. It's like nothing else I can think of.

+ The only lock that still works is the driver door. In addition, without the pure luxury of power locks, the driver has to reach over and unlock the passenger door everytime he/she gets in the car. If anyone else wants in, the passenger must unlock the sliding door.

+ Not necessarily a problem, more a design flaw, the vehicle completely lacks a tape or CD player. This is 1988, remember?

This has been partly remedied by a friend of mine; I borrowed a pair of his speakers, and I plug them into my iPod. I do have plans though... an DC->AC cigarette lighter adapter + an old pair of computer speakers = my future stereo system. Be warned.

+ The switch to open the gas tank works still... sort of. In order to get it open, I have to prop the switch up with my cell phone, go to the little door over the gas cap, and pry it open with a credit card or something.

Even with all of her flaws, do I still love her? Of course. Driving her is like flying a spaceship, except 1/300th as cool. In fact, if I had a spaceship, I could take women on dates in it without actually having a destination, like a guy with a yacht. But this isn't a spaceship, it's not even a yacht. It's a shitty old minivan, and it's probably going to stay that way.


Blogger Goldencard said...

this whole rant here makes me laugh every time I read it lol

Friday, August 17, 2007 3:43:00 AM  

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