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It was the battery….

…so now you know. CFeagans, Mike Dunford and Dave S. were the closest to the correct diagnosis in the comments. You should start a car-repair show on NPR, guys!

I also needed – badly – new front tires and alignment. Total cost = St.Peter’s scrambled eggs!


  1. #1 Dave S.
    June 28, 2006

    I also needed – badly – new front tires and alignment. Total cost = St.Peter’s scrambled eggs!

    Factory tires were they? Many dealers of new cars try to get tires that are a recognized name brand, but the worst tires in that line. That way they get the name without the costs associated with their really good tires. Best to splurge on the best tires you can reasonably afford. Especially in the family Coturnixmobile.

  2. #2 Abel Pharmboy
    June 28, 2006

    I concur with Dave S. – check out TireRack.com for best reader reviews of tires and prices for your van. I do pretty well to get them sent to me and then mounted and balanced locally, still at a fraction of most tire places in the area outside of Costco. In any case, my belated vote was the battery and/or alternator but I neglected to get my vote in on-time.

  3. #3 Mike Dunford
    June 28, 2006

    I’d love to say that it’s some innate vehicular knowledge that lead me to the right diagnosis, but it really has a lot more to do with the recent and acute battery replacement needs of both family vehicles.

    On the tires, there are two suggestions that I’d make. The first is that if you can at all swing it, replace all 4, particularly if you plan on having the vehicle for a while. The second is to get a good brand of tires, but I wouldn’t necessarily buy the absolute best – I’d look at the mileage that the tires are good for, based on the warranty. If you’re only expecting to get another 20 or 25 thousand miles out of the vehicle, then you proably don’t need to get tires that will last for 70k.

    Oh, and whatever tires you do buy, make sure you buy the optional road hazard coverage.

  4. #4 Dave S.
    June 28, 2006

    Good points Mike. You don’t really need the absolute best, just a good quality tire. And its a good idea to consider replacing them all at once.

    And on the road hazard coverage, sometimes they’re a bit testy in honoring that if your tire is also well worn. They insisted on taking a picture of mine once and e-mailing to corporate HQ for approval. Probably thought I just jammed a nail into a worn tire for a freeby.

  5. #5 Karl
    June 28, 2006

    And the other thing to do is file the receipt for the battery, make note of what its guaranteed life is, and plan to buy a new battery the day after the guaranty runs out. The manufacturers are very good at knowing how long a battery will last.

  6. #6 Stephen Uitti
    June 29, 2006

    If your going to splurg on tires, first, get rid of your donut and replace it with a real tire on a real rim. Those crappy donuts are zero for two with me. At even five years old, mine wouldn’t hold air. You don’t check the donut, since by definition, you aren’t using it. By having a first class spare you get two things. One, you get a spare that has been recently rotated onto or off of the car. That means it works. Second, when you get a flat, you can be on the road in fifteen minutes, without roadside service, and you don’t have to instantly also have to get it fixed to get where you’re going.

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