Category Archives: Journal

Car care avalanche

Last couple of days, both of our cars, BMW 528 and Toyota Matrix, went to the dealers for service. Both rang up $700+ repair bills. Well, what did I learn about that besides setting aside lots of money for car repair bills?

I found that I didn’t know much about car than I thought. For the BMW, there are more on-board computers than I have at home. The rough idle was root caused to some kind of a on-board computer that’s going to cost more $3K (we skipped on that); I’d like to see what kind of advanced circuitries in this computer that cost more than my dual-core server. And if they have to put that many computers (at least 3 that I’m aware of) on board, why can’t they do a better design or outsource to others who can do a better job?

The Matrix needs to have the drive belt replaced that costs $180. I wasn’t sure which drive belt they’re talking about. There are so many belts in a car. Thanks to internet, I was able to be educated on this drive belt topic by the experts in Expert Village. Wow, there are so many interesting topics that I learned, such as replacing brakes, wiper blades, and other interesting car repair topics. This is an excellent way to learn about your car besides paying an extraordinary amount of money to the car dealership. I’d glad someone came up with the idea, although the constant commercials for highly segmented video could be very annoying. Well, if that’s the only way to support the business model. So be it.

For my lesson, I learned that drive belt is the belt that drive all the critical accessories (oxymoron) of the car including the alternator, air-conditioners, power steering, water pump, and other mysterious things that car makers managed to squeeze in the hood. It’s not hard to replace. But honestly for $180, it’s not a bad deal, considering the belt itself costs $45 already. After 55K miles, I think my Matrix has gotten a pretty good use of the belt already. A moment of silence for the life of the old belt, who has contributed to being in the Matrix team for the last 4 years. Thank you for your service. I’d got to cut down on reading the obituaries section of the newspaper 🙂