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First odd noise July 9, 2006

Posted by tcnme in Anecdote, Driving, Mileage.
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In just over two weeks with my tC (and just over 500 miles, which we passed last night), I haven’t really come across anything to make me feel as if I’ve a lemon on my hands.

But I did have a little, brief scare.

Exactly a week after taking the car home, I filled out my insurance paperwork and decided I had better take it to the post office right away, to make sure it gets it needs to be ASAP. The stop-and-go city driving gave me a few opportunities to experience an odd, low clicking sound, which seemed to correlate with the speed at which I was driving. As I would accelerate, the clicking would get faster, slower as I braked. Not knowing much about cars, I assumed the worst — something’s awry with the engine.

As I heard it happen a few more times, I listened intently and realized that it was more of an electronic sort of click, rather than mechanical. This got me thinking critically and I eventually had a very good idea of what it could be; I’d try turning off the stereo.

Now, mind you, I wasn’t listening to music or anything, but I had left the stereo on the last time I was in the car. And I had been utilizing one of the most fun things I’ve found about this car, its 3.5 mm (1/8″… standard headphone, etc.) AUX port, for plugging in audio devices. I had left the volume turned very far up, a requirement for getting decent volume from plugged-in devices.

Turning off the stereo made the noise go away. I suppose the plug was picking up some electronic-sort of interference, or something.

I was just pretty relieved to find that it wasn’t something more, ehm, complicated.

Adventures in pumping gas, part two July 6, 2006

Posted by tcnme in Anecdote, Driving, Gasoline, Highway.
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(Continued from here.)

So yes, bags on the pumps. And not one or two pumps, as if I had simply pulled up to the wrong one. All of them.

Yes, I felt pretty dumb for not noticing this on my previous passes, but not entirely — the food-store portion of the station did indeed seem open for business. But this wasn’t going to help me. So I set off east, with I-95 behind me, at this point ready to pump anything I could find into my Scion’s nearly-empty tank.

What lay to the east was an area not exactly brimming with gas stations, and other bourgeois things. I can’t really remember how far I had to drive until coming across a more fuel-friendly area, but I’m certain I missed a few turns and found myself on the wrong side of the road (opposite a perfectly good gas station) a couple of times, more willing to press on than navigate backwards, especially after coming across a street with a familiar name, one I knew to be main enough to contain lots of gas stations and just as importantly, one that would eventually take me where I was headed, without needing to trek west, back to the interstate.

On this road, I spied a suitable gas station (read: one with gas) up ahead and decided I wouldn’t let this one pass unless I could see my brand of choice in the distance. I could not. I pulled in, found the pumps functional and pumped approximately three gallons — enough to hold me over until I found the right “station.” Paid, pumped and parted.

At a stoplight a few blocks north, I glanced at my receipt and nearly had a conniption, screaming obscenities at the little piece of paper bearing the $39-something total. I made the first U-turn (sense a trend?) and headed south, back towards the station. On the way, I realized that not only was the total wrong, but the amount of gas pumped was as well. And hey, I don’t have a MasterCard!

It was then that I realized that I was simply given the wrong receipt by the machine; the man behind the counter printed me one of my own. Before I left, I decided to just see what would happen if I were to pull on the tiny bit of receipt paper hanging ever so slightly out of the printing slot… revealing my receipt. Ugh.

This was about the time my day ceased to be interesting. In spite of all the comforts afforded to me by my tC, by this point I was sick of the sight of the inside of that car.

Adventures in pumping gas, part one July 5, 2006

Posted by tcnme in Anecdote, Driving, Gasoline, Highway.
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I’m usually pretty careful about these sorts of things, but on Monday afternoon, I found myself scolding… well, myself, when it became clear that I probably wasn’t going to make it to my destination before running out of gas.

The tC and I had made most of my 70-some mile trip by that point, and if not for some running around Ft Lauderdale for lunch, city driving, I’m pretty sure I would have made it to Boca Raton, my destination, on our virgin tank of gas.

Jesus, I haven’t even pumped my own gas yet, and I’m already turning into a fueling delinquent, I thought. To make matters worse, I was looking for a certain brand of gas, thanks the free fuel incentive thrown in by my dealer. But when the low-fuel light came on and I passed two or three exits, their ‘amenities you’ll find at this exit’ signs all advertising the wrong gas stations, I decided I’d better take whatever came along.

Whatever came along was the brand I was looking for. Turn right, 1/10th of a mile.

The tenth went by too quickly, and I found the gas station behind me. I made a legal U-turn at the first light, but found the entrance to the station came up way too fast as well. I looked for the next place I could make a U-turn in the other direction, to get back and give the original U-ie another shot. At this point, I decided that I should probably go without stereo and air conditioning to save fuel, but found myself wondering if cracking the windows was a bad idea, in terms of aerodynamics and saving fuel. I ended up doing so, as opening the sunroof seemed like far too much power to waste. It all seems a bit silly now.

The U-turn worked out this time; I skillfully maneuvered my tC into the gas station, finding that I had the run of the place — not another car was around. And for good reason; I spied bags on the pumps.

My heart kind of sank.

Stay tuned for part two, etc.