Category Archives: Automotive

A New Car – 2012 Version

I’ve finally hunkered down and traded in my 2008 CRV for a 2012 Prius. My lease was coming to the end and with the issues I have had with my CR-V, I decided to take the plunge and get a Prius to save on gas mileage. The upgrade is from 18/28 on the CRV to 40/44 on the Prius. I opted for the larger Prius v (essentially a station wagon) because it had the same cargo space as a CR-V and the seating felt more plush than the other Prius I was looking at, the compact Prius c.

Driving the two Prii models, I certainly liked the ride and the legroom on the v as well as the center console. When I drove the c, it felt like I was almost on top of the passenger. So in the end I decided to treat myself.

I’ll be back soon with a better daylight photo and some First Drive impressions..

Southeast USA Pre Trip

Most vacations, I like to start off with a day off from work so I can get some last minute shopping and laundry done. Today was no different, as Daniel and I headed out to get some quick breakfast and to stop at the bank. I noticed that my TPMS monitor had come on in the CR-V yesterday, and today when I got into it, I noticed there was a slight list to the car. I figured I would stop and get some air before I ran my errands today and then get whatever the problem was fixed when I returned. On the way to the bank, I heard the distinct ‘click-click-click’ of a foreign object lodged in my wheel. When I arrived, I was hoping to see just a small rock in the wheel, but lo and behold there was a huge bolt!
Not wanting to risk being stranded on the day before the trip, I headed back home where we then got into Daniel’s Prius to do some errands. For this trip, I decided to retire my old red backpack that has traveled with me everywhere since the early 90s. It was tough to retire, but the fact that most of the zippers were stuck on one side, I decided it was time to upgrade. We ventured to REI where I picked out a nice Jansport blue backpack.
We finished up the errands and enabled our iPhones for MMS, and then as Daniel went to work, I got my tires fixed. Turns out my two front tires were over-worn from lack of tire rotation (I know, I know I have totally slacked on this CR-V!) so not only did I pony up the cash for a tire fix, but also for two new tires. The experts at America’s Tire had my repair job done in about 25 minutes. I was glad there were no other customers.
Heading home, I was thinking about the Michael Palin series “New Europe” which I have not seen all the way through. I bought the DVD in London in 2007 and have never converted it. It seemed like a good time to try, so tonight I have been attempting to get it converted to my iPhone to watch on the plane.
My Mac seems to not like converting foreign region DVDs, but thankfully my PC does not have such an issue. I am currently using a combo method which seems to be working. I might not have enough time to do the whole series before I depart, but I will try.
The rest of tonight will be spent packing and cleaning the apartment so that when I return it will be nice and inviting and not a mess.
Tomorrow starts another Trip Diary! I will try and do an update a day, but since we are still waiting final hotel and itinerary arrangements, I am not sure I will have wifi to do so. At any rate, the whole thing should be posted by Sunday Oct. 11.

First Night with the New CR-V

My hand was forced, and after much deliberation, I finally decided to part ways with my much-loved 2002 CR-V and upgrade to a new 2008 CR-V. As much as I wanted to upgrade to the EX, I stuck with the LX since I decided I didn’t need the extra fluff. (They do have an outside temperature guage on the EX – probably the only thing I really missed out on getting) It still feels like my old CR-V, but definitely quieter on the road and I really like the new instrument cluster.
Some of the styling cues are a bit questionable, but overall I am happy. Some minuses? Less storage space than my 2002 – fewer nooks under the center stack, and no netting on the driver and passenger seat backs. The relocation of the parking break and the transmission lever will take a bit getting used to, but overall I prefer the new design. I was worried that the new transmission location would interfere with my leg, but after driving home and running some errands, I can report all is well.
I no longer have to rely on a tape player for my iPod, but I will now have to go out and get a direct cable since it has an auxiliary plug as well as a iPod nook next to it. I also lost my change drawer and come to think of it, I left the change in my old CR-V!! Oh well. I already want to get a new dash cover – I really liked my old one. The debate still rages on whether or not to get a cargo cover.
Just some first night impressions. I am also glad I didn’t get Glacier Blue. I went for the Royal Blue Pearl which is a dark blue, but I think it looks classier on the road.

100,000 miles

This weekend I passed this milestone for the first time on a vehicle I have driven. That’s right the old 2002 CR-V has finally passed the old 1987 Toyota as my most driven vehicle – for good reason! I love my CR-V despite some of its minor flaws (three interior lights are burned out), but other than that this has been a solid, reliable car. I am up against the wall though, since I either need to finish paying off the car by May or I need to roll this car into another one.
As much as I love the idea of no car payments, I also like the idea of upgrading to a new CR-V. I really like the new design (yay for no spare tire on the back!) and I think I can get one for about the same payments as my current one. I have been looking around at other manufacturers just to see what is out there. I have mild interest in a MINI Cooper, but I am not sure I want to drive a low profile car. Another CR-V highlight is that it has a high seating position for better visibility on the highway. I don’t really want a Prius, but I would also like a hybrid vehicle. The only one out there that even remotely interests me is the Saturn Vue Green Line, but I am not sure I would buy a first year product, especially from GM. How about a Hybrid CR-V Honda? I bet you could sell a ton of those.
The longshot could be to get my dream 2002 BMW Z3 roadster, but it is the same issue as with a MINI, I am not sure I want a low profile vehicle especially as a daily driver. Currently, Incentives are not as good as they were at the end of December, but I suspect as we approach the end of January, they will be back. Who knows, maybe at the Detroit Auto Show this month they will unveil something I really like and will wait for (VW Tiguan anyone?).

Blown Fuse

Today I replaced the fuse for my accessory outlet in the CRV. The iPod charger worked just fine, but when I plugged in my phone charger, it blew out again. I think I need to get a new phone charger for the car. I wonder if it has suffered from being stored in the car. After blowing out the second fuse, I replaced it with another and decided not to try and plug the phone charger in again. Gary mentioned that I should try and put a higher fuse in that outlet to see if it would work, but I think I will just stay with the factory specs.
It’s almost time for Christmas Eve Dinner and then I am off on the road back to CA. Hopefully there will not be any excitement. I am going to post the photos on Flickr and then send them to the Daily Update for all to see.

New Tires

Swapped out the tires that came with my CR-V with some top of the line Michelin’s. Man what a difference it makes on the road. I now have a much smoother ride and now don’t fear that I am going to slide through an intersection in the rain. I always remember when I had the Accord and was working at Edmunds and I almost slid halfway into an intersection in West LA. Quite the scary feeling.
I set up my aunt’s laptop for my grandma yesterday. We were going to get signed up with AOL. Everything was going good, until it said it needed 340 minutes to download updates to the software. Who are they kidding? You mean to tell me that before you can even use the service you have to spend over 6 hours waiting? It seems excessive and overwhelming with someone who is not familiar with computers. Now we are looking at other options.
Part of my Grandma’s difficulty is that the laptop is Windows 2000 so you have to log into it. I think if it was XP or 98 and it loaded directly into the desktop, it would be a tad easier. I told her just to practice logging in and out and then we would have a more in depth lesson later.

Cuchi Cuchi Sundays

Charo is on season 3 of the Surreal Life on VH-1. I have never seen the show, but I had to watch the premiere episode. It actually was pretty funny. Looks like Brigitte and Flava Flav are getting most of the air time, but Charo still holds her own. It will be interesting to see how it progresses over the next few weeks. You can watch the new episodes Sundays at 10pm (9 central).
Been busy busy wrapping up the website for Haim. Not much else going on. I did help my Dad get a new SUV to replace his Navigator. It is quite the ride. It actually costs less than a Lincoln Navigator and a fully loaded BMW X5! It is actually very similar to the VW Toureag, but much more luxurious. When I got to drive it home from the dealer (downtown LA to the suburbs) I was getting looks from everyone. I think I need to borrow it next time I go out on the town.

The Negotiator

I have earned a reputation among the relatives as the negotiator. Whenever they want to buy a car, I get a phone call asking me to come along and make sure that they get the best deal. This is the aftereffect of working at Edmunds as well as just knowing about cars.
I got Amanda into a Chevy Tahoe for $5000 off sticker plus incentives and her trade in for a total of $16,000 off sticker. I also managed to talk them down from 9% to 4.9% interest. Today I went with Timothy to get him a Toyota Matrix. I didn’t get into full negotiator mode since he wanted a hard to find style and the dealer gave us a decent deal up front (less than 3% over invoice).
All in all, I have helped buy a total of at least 8 cars. I actually kind of enjoy it. Dad keeps telling me that I should be on the other side of the table or buying cars for people. I think I’ll stick to Disney for now.
I finally finished Dome to Dome Twice. It took over 12 hours to render the DVD, so unless I find a major error, it is good to go. I think the menus and titles came out well and I can’t wait to send it to the crew that was on the trip.
I am still working on some web sites with Haim, but have found myself against a wall creatively. It has been awhile since I have had to create something from the ground up on my own, but once I get going I think things will be OK.