Tuesday 30 June 2015

Chevy Reads Blog Posts?

I'm being very careful what I type just in case my car reads this post.  It seems like it might of been more than coincidence that after I put up a post moaning about cars these days and how simple repairs had become not so simple, that my car promptly acted up the very next day.  I have a hunch that my car's computer read my post.

Thus, my lovable Chevrolet Lacetti, do not worry,  This will be a nice post.  In fact, I'm going to take you back to that friendly, honest mechanic, Adrian.  I shall have Adrian change your oil, your oil filter and give you the best lube job ever.  Besides, my lovable car, I felt bad when he didn't charge me anything in regards to your mystery electrical ailment.

You know, that electrical show you were doing inside my car.  Flashing on and off inside lights that brought back memories of seventies disco.  So, thanks for the boogie wonderland routine, my amazingly nice car.

Dear Chevy, do you recall this photo?  Yes, it was part of that BBC wildlife documentary.  Oh what joy you brought to the precious creatures as you interacted.  They crapped on your roof, fiddled with your wipers and the moose tried to head butt your headlamps.

Dear Chevrolet Lacetti, I should of given you a name.  I recall a time when it seems everybody named their car.  I remember when "Tinker Bell" was a popular name for a car.  I shall discuss a name with you.

My beloved car has been functioning very well since I had it checked out. I'm grateful to that very honest mechanic, Adrian.

My car is no longer an Aston Martin and I'm no longer James Bond from the sixties.  My car in now a "Shaguar" and I'm Austin Powers, "International Man of Misery!"  "Yeah, Baby, Yeah!"

Saturday 20 June 2015

My Chevrolet Almost Ended Up In Detroit.

This is going to be another fast, free-flow, frantic, frenzied, fun-filled, farcical formulation.

I think I might of jinxed myself with my previous post complaining about today's vehicles and that you need to see a software engineer if your car's computer starts acting up.  Maybe my car read my previous post, dated, Friday, June 12, 2015.

Saturday evening, about 8 P.M, June 13, 2015, Sainsbury's supermarket, Leek, Staffordshire, England.  Switch off car.  Get out of car.  Close the door.  All the indicator lights on the dashboard, the beeping sound to indicate a door is open, the red light for the car alarm, are all going ballistic.  I open the car door and it all stops.  I close the door again.  All the indicator lights on the dashboard, the beeping sound to indicate a door is open, the red light for the car alarm, are all going ballistic, yet again!  Close the car for the third time and realise the light show will eventually drain my battery. Rush into the supermarket and forget what I wanted to get.  End up buying some milk and rush back to my car, the car with the dazzling inside light show.

Head back home and close the car door.  Of course, the electrical problem is still happening.  Rush into my home and drop off the milk.  Head back to my car and drive about two miles away.  I do this because I don't have home start on my breakdown cover.  When I mention breakdown cover, I do mean for the car.

Park up the car and phone the breakdown company.  One hour later, a guy shows up.  He checks out my car's electrical system and proceeds to scratch his ass, head.  "Don't know what's wrong with your car, mate.  I'll follow you back to your place and disconnect your battery", he stated.

Back home and he disconnects the battery.  He drives off and I think that my car, my worry-free car for over five years, my car, a Chevrolet Lacetti, a featured car on the UK version of Top Gear, has decided to teach me a lesson.

Of course, over the rest of the weekend, out of curiosity, I kept going to my car, reconnected the battery, only to have the same weird light show occur whenever the car door was closed.  Open the car door and the light show would magically stop.  Unplug the battery for a last time on the Sunday night.

Monday morning and the fun begins.  The first place I phone to hopefully get my electrical problem sorted cannot book my car in until Thursday.  I tell the guy on the phone I'd better check around because that was quite a long wait.  Then the real fun began.  Garage after garage stated they couldn't check the electrics via the onboard computer on a Chevrolet Lacetti.  I finally phoned this one place and the electronics expert mechanic told me he could not get the special code needed to check out my car's electrics because it was a Chevrolet.

Now my mind starts to have all sorts of weird thoughts.  "On no, I have a Chevrolet, a GM product, I have to go to Detroit!  I'll end up on some cargo ship and during some particularly rough seas, the truck with the frozen fish, right beside my car, dumps said frozen fish all inside my car window which I forgot to close.  The frozen fish thaw out and my car will become a haven for Detroit seagulls.  We end up on top of car transporter truck that actually heads to Detroit.  My car gets lowered down at the Detroit drop-off point for overseas Chevrolet vehicles with electrical faults. At this point, a bunch of Detroit gangsters steal all four wheels off my car...."  I snap out of my daydreaming and make one more phone call.

I phone back the garage that cannot book in my car until Thursday.  I mention this time that my car is a Chevrolet Lacetti. The dude I'm speaking to is the owner, somebody I've known for years and is totally honest.  Yes, a totally honest mechanic.  He explains he has a workaround if my car's computer wont cooperate.  He tells me he can "fool" my car into thinking it's a different brand of car. I kid you not.

In the meantime, I kept checking my car.  The electrical fault had vanished but I wasn't taking any chances.  Thursday morning and I left my car so the mechanic could fool its electrics.  That afternoon I phoned and I was told they had done the best they could but couldn't quite trace the problem. However, they said my car seemed fine and they recalibrated the car's computer as best they could.

Upon my arrival at the garage, I was preparing myself to pay for the work done.  "Gary", said Adrian, the owner of the garage, "I don't want any money for the work.  Besides, it appears that you may have actually corrected the underlying problem when you left the battery disconnected.  And Gary, it's nice to see you after such a long time!"  Even though I protested he was insistent that I didn't pay anything.  No charge, so to speak.  How very nice of Adrian.  If you live in Leek and you need your car sorted, I will recommend his garage.

As of right now, as in the fact I quickly dashed out to check my car, I can report my car still seems fine.

There you go.  A post done in under an hour.  If there are any tipos, typos, whatever!

I believe that when my car was plugged into the computer adjustment thingy, that it did get fooled. My Chevrolet is now an Aston Martin and I'm James Bond from the 1960's.  

Friday 12 June 2015

Hitting The Red Lights.

There was a time, way back when, that I could do basic maintenance on a car.  Oh yeah, no problem tuning my very first car, a rather used 1964 Plymouth Valiant, complete with push button automatic transmission.  No problem changing the starter motor in my "Smokey and the Bandit" type car, a 1973 Dodge Polara.

I was very good at oil changing, lube jobs and fiddling with my dipstick.

These days, cars are computers on wheels.  Something goes wrong now and if I don't happen to have a mega expensive computer tuning thingy for my car, I have to rely on a mechanic to download new software, or whatever the hell they do, to get my car running properly.  Oh how I remember the battery going flat in one of my previous computer cars.  Not just a matter of replacing the battery, but a complete car computer retune just to have my car run efficiently.

Of course, when I take my latest car in for a simple check-up, the mechanic gives that concerned look and a sighing noise.  This means that what should be a cheap repair turns into a funding for the mechanic's dream vacation in Hawaii.

Okay, I understand I cannot just fix cars the way I used to.  However, something as simple as changing a brake light should be totally straightforward.  Right?  Well, no, actually.  Check the car manual to double check how to change the brake light.  Seems easy enough.  Just remove two screws from the side of the brake cover and away I go.  Wrong!  What the manual doesn't explain is that there are mystery plugs holding the brake cover in place.  Could I get the cover off?  No fucking chance!  Gone were the days of just opening some flap and changing the bulb.

Reluctantly and rather embarrassed, I headed off to the local car parts service centre.  On the way there, I hit every red light.  I shall return later and fix the red lights.  Still, it's better than jumping red lights.

Upon my arrival, the guy in the service centre noted my accent.  "Here we go again", I thought. Standing there, wearing a "Canada" baseball hat, the guy asks me "What part of the States you from, mate?  I always wanted to go to the States and be among the American people."  I replied, "I guess that means you want to go to Orlando to experience America."  "Oh no, mate, Orlando is full of bloody British tourists!  No, I want to get out into the small towns and see the real America." "Excellent!  There's a trailer park in Alabama just waiting for y'all", I responded.

"Ever thought about going to Canada?", I asked the dude.  "Yeah, that would be okay, I guess.  Oh, is that a Canadian accent you have?  Can't tell the difference!" he confessed.

We go out to my car and he notes I drive a Chevrolet.   "What a small Chevrolet.  They'd laugh at your car over there.  I mean, everything is bigger in the States, right mate?"  I nod in agreement.

He tries to remove my brake light cover to get to the brake light.  Like me, he has no joy.  A fellow employee comes over to help him and still no joy.  Both scratch their heads in unison.  Various tools are grabbed to try and pry off the brake light cover.  Still nothing.  As luck would have it, the local tug-of-war team are strolling by.  They attach a rope to one of the tools draping off my brake cover and give a mighty heave.  Finally, the brake cover pops off.

Okay, I made up the part about the tug-of-war team.  However, it took the two of them fifteen minutes to finally release the brake cover and put in a new brake light.  Being so much fun, I thought it best they replace the other brake light just in case it was about to burn out.

Yes, another typical day in my rather surreal life.  And yes, another posting done in rapid time without ever applying the virtual brake lights......

Thursday 4 June 2015

Not My Fault.

I notice a few bloggers review movies.  I've never reviewed a movie before.   However, whatever, here's my first ever movie review.  Maybe I could become a movie critic.  Maybe not.
"San Andreas", the movie.  This is a film of some magnitude.  A "blockbuster" movie in the literal sense.  San Andreas, not meant to be a comedy, but some of the dialogue will crack you up. Speaking of dialogue and notably Dwayne Johnson, who hits The Rock bottom in this film. 

San Andreas can be easily summed up by letting you know the plot has one major fault.  

Do you remember the song in this video?