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BS: Tale of a Used Car

JohnInKansas 27 Oct 13 - 03:06 AM
Richard Bridge 27 Oct 13 - 04:59 AM
Richard Bridge 27 Oct 13 - 05:04 AM
JohnInKansas 27 Oct 13 - 05:33 AM
JohnInKansas 27 Oct 13 - 05:44 AM
catspaw49 27 Oct 13 - 07:25 AM
Penny S. 27 Oct 13 - 07:28 AM
Penny S. 27 Oct 13 - 07:32 AM
gnu 27 Oct 13 - 08:20 AM
bobad 27 Oct 13 - 08:20 AM
JohnInKansas 27 Oct 13 - 09:26 AM
Jeri 27 Oct 13 - 10:04 AM
Sandra in Sydney 27 Oct 13 - 10:09 AM
ranger1 27 Oct 13 - 11:41 AM
GUEST,olddude 27 Oct 13 - 11:43 AM
GUEST,olddude 27 Oct 13 - 11:44 AM
JohnInKansas 27 Oct 13 - 12:33 PM
Bobert 27 Oct 13 - 02:34 PM
JohnInKansas 27 Oct 13 - 03:17 PM
EBarnacle 27 Oct 13 - 05:09 PM
Andrez 27 Oct 13 - 11:29 PM
JohnInKansas 28 Oct 13 - 02:24 AM
GUEST,kendall 28 Oct 13 - 08:39 AM
JohnInKansas 28 Oct 13 - 09:29 AM
JohnInKansas 28 Oct 13 - 06:53 PM

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Subject: BS: Tale of a Used Car
From: JohnInKansas
Date: 27 Oct 13 - 03:06 AM

This probably could go in one of the "understanding wimminz" threads, but perhaps merits a thread all its own.

Basic problem: LiK had a very nice little Chevy S10 pick-m-up that was barely broken in, with only about 120,000 miles on it and just a few dents and dings (it went to Winfield for the festival many times). There had been some complaints about it being 19 years old, but that didn't seem too critical a factor. She had begun making "noises" about how nice it would be to have something newer when we got a new truck to tow the camper with after dragging the guts out of "my" ancient Chevy van, but it was pretty casual for a couple of years.

Curiously, she decided early on that there was only ONE particular model line that would be acceptable "when we got her a new vehicle. She insisted any replacement must be a Chevy HHR "because it's cute." (They don't make the HHR any more.)

It did eventually become necessary to replace her li'l truck when she suffered a stroke that impaired left arm and leg function, and the S10 was a stick shift, so she needed something with an automatic tranny.

Serendipitously, LiK reached the point in her rehab therapy to get her doctors/therapists to say she's ready to drive at about the time we were making the last payments on the new tow truck, so I agreed we could get serious about a replacement vehicle for her.

UNFORTUNATELY by this time she had decided that not only was an HHR the only acceptable vehicle, only an
               ORANGE HHR
would be acceptable.

So far as I could determine, there were only two orange HHRs for sale in the US at the time, but fortunately(?) the apparently better of the two was at "Jerry's Flybynight Used Cars" in Wichita. My banker was cooperative (and in fact gave us an intererest rate a little below market?) so we bought the local one.

The one she got is, I suppose, "CUTE," – although I don't really understand the importance of that concept. She says that's 'cause iamnotagrrrl. I decline to devote further effort to developing a rational explanation and will simply "accept what is."

On closer insepection at home, the first discovery was that the single key provided would NOT UNLOCK THE DOOR, and the single four-button "remote entry fob" only had two buttons that worked (sometimes). A quick trip to the nearest Chevy dealer re-pinned the door lock cylinder and produced three working keys and two fully working fobs – for a mere $484.00.

I also found that the "remote controlled outside mirrors" failed to operate remotely, so I adjusted them manually. I'll tell her about that later, if I get a chance to investigate ….

Generally, the vehicle appears to be in pretty good condition, for 6 year old used car. LiK has been driving it for about a month and seems "happy," but …

She took it for a visit to her relatives in Texas a couple of days ago, and just called about an hour ago. It seems that the headlights she expected to turn off automatically didn't, and she's got a dead battery. There was no operator's manual with the car, but I had downloaded what was available from Chevy when we decided to get it, so she called with the trivial question … "Where's the &%^$%#@! battery?"

As it turns out, the "official" operator's manual for the HHR doesn't say where the &%^$%#@! battery is! It has eight separate entries about how to change the battery in the remote entry fob, but NOTHING ABOUT THE VEHICLE BATTERY. It also says when you should change the oil, but doesn't give a spec for what oil to use, and doesn't specify a minimum octane rating for fuel. (At least one optional HHR engine does require a higher octane, according to other sources.)

The "manual" does say that there's a "jumper post" on the fuse block where you can connect a positive jumper, although it doesn't say where the fuse block is located. It also says there's a "negative jumper terminal" that appears to be a bare nut on the top of the right front shock strut, but she and her immediately available accomplices couldn't find anything with the " NEG or – " label that the book says should be there. She say's "he" (the only male accomplice) was afraid to hook up to anything else, so it's not clear whether they even attempted a jump start.

She called again a little while later to say that now she can't get the key out of the ignition, so they left the doors open. They've called "Dick" (????) who's supposed to be the local car genius and he'll take a look at it tomorrow. ("Genius" and "Higgins Texas" don't' really seem compatible terms, but ya never know I guess.)

It's only 280 miles down and back if I have to go get her, I guess.

John


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Subject: RE: BS: Tale of a Used Car
From: Richard Bridge
Date: 27 Oct 13 - 04:59 AM

And you have not ever said "I told you so"?


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Subject: RE: BS: Tale of a Used Car
From: Richard Bridge
Date: 27 Oct 13 - 05:04 AM

There's a video of how to change the battery in an HHR on Youtube.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bfkV9UAvhN8


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Subject: RE: BS: Tale of a Used Car
From: JohnInKansas
Date: 27 Oct 13 - 05:33 AM

I've begun to think that when asked anything by a person of feminine persuasion, the intelligent respondant of male kind should never say anything beyond "What?" and pretend not to understand the question.

I can sympathise with the difficulty of jumping from a 19 year old auto to a 6 year old one, since all the labels on the controls are unintelligible icons, often illegible, and there are no literate explanations or useful illustrations in the manuals.

LiK previously noted that she accidentally turned on the windshield wiper on the rear window, while exploring which did what, and shut the car down and came in to read the manual because she couldn't figure out how to turn it off. We both searched the manual carefully and did not find any description of that control. We finally found it by trial and error. (The downloaded manuals are searchable PDFs, making it easy to find the 67 pages of how to strap an infant into a kid seat, but virtually no help on how to operate the vehicle.)

I didn't discuss how she might have turned off the automatic headlight shutoff during our recent phone calls, but I have looked in the manual and it is NOT DESCRIBED THERE. Although the book says "you can do that" it doesn't say how to do it, or more importantly how to not do it.

When we bought the new tow truck, I ordered the "complete official factory service and overhaul manual set" (5 volumes, 3.4 lb each, >12,000 pages, 5 week delivery, $385.00) and recently found that it does not include how to reset the "tire pressure monitor" system. The local dealer estimated "up to $680" to do it for me. I finally found that it's (usually) a 3-minute procedure that costs nothing if you DIY like I did.

John


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Subject: RE: BS: Tale of a Used Car
From: JohnInKansas
Date: 27 Oct 13 - 05:44 AM

There are at least a dozen YouTube videos on how to change an HHR battery. Based on my quick look, only about a third of them are dangerous. A couple of them that claim to be "HHR Specific" show vehicles that are not an HHR. YouTube advice can be okay if you're careful, but can't all be trusted.

Unfortunately, LiK was where she couldn't access the web; and the information should have been in the op book. Based on the truck manuals, it probably isn't in the HHR overhaul manuals either, although they're out of print so they're probably a little cheaper from resellers than they would have been from the "official publisher."

John


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Subject: RE: BS: Tale of a Used Car
From: catspaw49
Date: 27 Oct 13 - 07:25 AM

We just bought a new Mitsubishi Lancer and although there are really fat owner's manuals it has things unexpected. Karen drives 100 miles a day so she and her car have to be buddies and we cried losing her previous car, "Scoot," but she's taken "Mitzi" into her heart....LOL. I think what cemented the relationship when a digital read out came up on the dash saying, "Danger for Icing."

But the problem with the fat manuals is the layouts are less than friendly and I spent fully 5 minutes trying to find fluid capacities....LOL.......


Spaw


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Subject: RE: BS: Tale of a Used Car
From: Penny S.
Date: 27 Oct 13 - 07:28 AM

This isn't about women, is it? It's about "££$$%%^^&&*(*( car manuals.

I used to use the section of my Rover manual on wheel changing as a literacy exercise - rewriting it as a group exercise. It used a specific form of English, written, presumably, by native English speakers, but always taking the least comprehensible choice. e.g. "ensure" instead of "make sure". (That's the one I recall. There were others, more complex.) Course, it was presumably written in Oxford.

Penny


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Subject: RE: BS: Tale of a Used Car
From: Penny S.
Date: 27 Oct 13 - 07:32 AM

And I've just recalled my sister's attempt to use the Haynes manual on her car to do something with the steering column with its contained airbag. It sent her round about three sections, eventually coming back to where she had started, without at any time giving her any useful information, but on each page holding out the hope that the next reference would get her closer to being able to carry out the task she wanted.


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Subject: RE: BS: Tale of a Used Car
From: gnu
Date: 27 Oct 13 - 08:20 AM

I read the manual Chrysler and it said I needed the PIN to program a third key fob. It said this PIN was only known to the dealership and myself, having been given the PIN at purchase. Nope. The dealership said, bring it in. They wanted me to sign a work order... $30 (the key was 262.50 AND they gave me a break on the price! ???). I said, "Gimmie the PIN; I'll do it." "We normally don't give out the PINs." "I paid $XX,XXX and that included the PIN." "I'll have to check on that." "Whatever but I want the PIN." They offered to program it for free. "I want the ****in PIN, now." Simple procedure.
Now, programming the garage door remote? Simple, IF you clip the one that came with the opener on the visor.

The Ford truck manual is a bust, too. (The tire pressure sensor fault indicator in the F150? Simple. Ignore it.) Oh, how I wish I still had my 84 F150 straight six standard tranny back.


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Subject: RE: BS: Tale of a Used Car
From: bobad
Date: 27 Oct 13 - 08:20 AM

That's why I will never own an American car again (even though I have a 1981 Ford F150)


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Subject: RE: BS: Tale of a Used Car
From: JohnInKansas
Date: 27 Oct 13 - 09:26 AM

The TPM (Tire Pressure Monitor) on my Chevy Silverado is really simple, once you find the instructions:

1. insert key and turn on but do not start the engine.

2. Punch the button that selects what to display on the little information panel until you get to "Rebalance Tire Pressure Monitor."

3. Press and HOLD DOWN the button until it "beeps" three times.

4. Leap out and let air out of the left front tire until it beeps once.

5. Scurry around and let air out of the right front tire until it beeps once.

6. Let air out of the right rear tire until it beeps once.

7. Let air out of the left rear tire until it beeps once.

8. Turn off ignition switch, then start the engine and everything should be fine.

9. Inflate all the tires to correct pressure, if you had to bleed enough to make it necessary. Usually you only bleed about a half-psi or less for each tire, and you probably don't have a gage accurate enough to see the change.

There's a time limit for each step, so if you move too slowly you have to start over; but even an old codger like me shouldn't have much trouble shufflin' around to all the wheels fast enough to get it done.

It was easier finding the instructions for several other (non-Chevy) models by accident than for my own. I haven't seen any that are much more complicated although some have slight variations in the method.

A remote key fob is apparently a little more complex, and using the wrong procedure may make the one you started with quit working; but I don't have one on the truck and haven't found the destructions for the HHR. Since the HHR has only one door that can be opened by the key, I figured it was worth the expense of getting a set (key and fob) for each of us who might drive it and a spare key for backup.

But I still haven't determined whether you can open the driver side door with the key if the battery is dead ????. The op manual says both yes (one place) and no (two other placces).

Ain't it all fun????

John


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Subject: RE: BS: Tale of a Used Car
From: Jeri
Date: 27 Oct 13 - 10:04 AM

Owners' manuals are handy if screwing around with things doesn't work.

In my experience, it's fairly hard to hide a battery, and you always disconnect the negative terminal first.

OTOH, they are making cars more complicated these days. I have three separate controls for headlights. The main one shuts off when I shut the car off. The one for fog lights does too, I think. The one for paring lights doesn't, and if you don't turn it off on purpose, it can kill the battery.

What I'd like to know is the proper angle to adjust the windshield washer fluid shooters so I can nail tailgaters. Now, if they could just design a separate set of squirters (ideally, roof mounted and adjustable, although they might prove distracting) drawing from a small reserve of fluid that resembles bug guts or bird poop...


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Subject: RE: BS: Tale of a Used Car
From: Sandra in Sydney
Date: 27 Oct 13 - 10:09 AM

those of us who are pedestrians don't know the joy of driving!

Tho we do tend to direct drivers with comments like, 'oh, sorry I walk down that street ...'

wishing all drivers, especially those who drive me around, the best of luck in interpreting manuals.

sandra


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Subject: RE: BS: Tale of a Used Car
From: ranger1
Date: 27 Oct 13 - 11:41 AM

Sandra, I make it a point to avoid driving down the sidewalk :D


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Subject: RE: BS: Tale of a Used Car
From: GUEST,olddude
Date: 27 Oct 13 - 11:43 AM

Well
I feel your pain my Mrs drives an "ORANGE" Honda Element cause well
its ORANGE


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Subject: RE: BS: Tale of a Used Car
From: GUEST,olddude
Date: 27 Oct 13 - 11:44 AM

She said isn't it cute .. I said YES DEAR cause I know better


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Subject: RE: BS: Tale of a Used Car
From: JohnInKansas
Date: 27 Oct 13 - 12:33 PM

Just an hour or so ago:

Drivers License Examiner: When an automobile and a pedestrian approach a crosswalk at the same time, who has the right of way?

Gracie Allen: The ambulance.

Examiner: What ambulance?

Gracie: The one for the pedestrian.

[drum roll, of course.]

John


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Subject: RE: BS: Tale of a Used Car
From: Bobert
Date: 27 Oct 13 - 02:34 PM

I think those cars are cute but don't look like they have the power to pull a sick ***** off a piss pot...

B~


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Subject: RE: BS: Tale of a Used Car
From: JohnInKansas
Date: 27 Oct 13 - 03:17 PM

The standard HHR claims something like 1,800 or 2,000 lb (I forget which) towing capacity, but they don't recommend doing it "at highway speeds."

Our biggest problem with plans we might have had is that the "tongue load" (down load at the back bumper) isn't supposed to exceed 150 lb, which precludes installing any "mobility scooter carriage" known.

The back seat folds down and we figured out how to get LiK's scooter inside, but there's no place to carry a long enough ramp to drive it in, so it's either a 130 lb "lift" to toss it in, or taking it apart into 35 pound pieces (that she'd have trouble putting back together).

"My" mobility chair is about 380 lb and doesn't come apart, so I guess I'd just have to follow here in the big truck if I want to keep up with her at Wally World with our own aids. (Anywhere except on clean paved surfaces her scooter is such a wimp that I've usually ended up towing it home with mine, which is the only real purpose for keeping mine.)

She took her scooter (in the HHR) to the WVA festival and said there were "lots of guys" eager to unload and load it for her, but that doesn't seem to work quite as well when I'm in the vicinity (one of the reasons I let her go alone, since I was still pooped from loading hers at home).

John


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Subject: RE: BS: Tale of a Used Car
From: EBarnacle
Date: 27 Oct 13 - 05:09 PM

The thing with the uselessness of manuals has been going on for quite a while. It used to be that "furren" cars had better manuals because it was assumed the owner needed them. Now, with the preponderance of cars not being user friendly for us wrenchers, the manuals sorta give us an overview of what the normal illiterate driver is likely to need. I'm still attempting to figure out some of the features of my '05 van. Fortunately, what works works very well.


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Subject: RE: BS: Tale of a Used Car
From: Andrez
Date: 27 Oct 13 - 11:29 PM

Flowers or a candle lit dinner is known to significantly improve operation of certain key vehicle components. The right combination of parts for this procedure can only be assembled through extensive trial and error or finding and buying an advanced user guide for each specific component :-)

Cheers,

Andrez


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Subject: RE: BS: Tale of a Used Car
From: JohnInKansas
Date: 28 Oct 13 - 02:24 AM

Unfortunately, the "advanced user guides" for each component don't generally exist at any price.

If you buy a significant component, there's a good chance it will come with reasonably useful installation instructions, but the only way to know whether the instructions are any good is to buy each individual part and hope. Of course if there are instructions you still do have to RTFM before you destroy the part by thinking you know more than you really do.

There are "industry standards" that could be of some use for general maintenance, but unless you can "make money by having them" you can't afford to get them, and once you get a few of them you'll have a hard time figuring out which ones apply to a specific model vehicle due to the proliferation of "proprietary parts" that the manufacturers won't tell anyone anything about.

Difficulties multiply if you need accessories to manage "handicaps." When LiK asked for a "suicide knob" on her steering wheel, it took me three weeks to figure out whether it was even legal** for her to have one, and an additional month to find someone who would sell her one. For larger accessories like lifts and ramps its a problem of "you can't tell what it's safe to add if you don't know what you've got to start with." Available information is sparse.

** Three states require that the driver's license must show "handicap aids required." New York State requires a physician's "Certificate of Medical Necessity" to get the license notation and only the driver who has the certificate can legally operate the vehicle once one is installed - so far as I can tell ... (?). (But you can have one on your tractor or lawn mower anywhere.)

John


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Subject: RE: BS: Tale of a Used Car
From: GUEST,kendall
Date: 28 Oct 13 - 08:39 AM

$200.00 for a f%&#*#^ key? Not this week.Our Chrysler Pacifica is a joy to drive. Just don't lose the key.There is only one.
My old Chevy Impala needed two keys and the second one cost me $30.00.


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Subject: RE: BS: Tale of a Used Car
From: JohnInKansas
Date: 28 Oct 13 - 09:29 AM

The Chevy van I was using to haul the camper had two keys that I had to buy from a dealer and let them cut it for me: $6.00 each.

My current Silverado has one of the "coded" keys that has to be entered into the program. It was $16.00 for the dealer to cut it. They wanted $20 to "code" it, but I did it myself for $0.00.

They've raised the price on the keys, so the three keys we got for the HHR were about $24.00 each, plus $20.00 to "code" each of the three.

The big hit was the two Remote Keyless Entry Fobs, which were about $80.00+ each to buy, plus about $60.00 to have the dealer "enter the codes" for each.

I let the dealer "code" the three keys, because I hadn't had time to find instructions to confirm how to do it. I've since confirmed that could have been a "no cost DIY" process. The RKE fobs, according to everything I could find, cannot be entered into the vehicle's computer without specialized equipment that is too expensive for individual users to consider having. All the places I could find that claimed to be able to sell you one of the necessary scanners displayed "Available only to Registered Dealer Shops," but I believe "licensed locksmiths" can probably also buy one. It's probably illegal for you or me to have one.

For the keys, if you use a key that's already in the vehicle computer and let the computer "read" it, you can pull that one out, insert a new one within ~10 seconds and start the engine before the computer has time to look at the new one. The computer will assume that since the new key is in the switch and the engine is running it must be a "good key" so it adds the new code. The first key has to be "turned on" but some vehicles say to start the engine with it, while others say don't start. Other minor variations apply to specific models.

For the RKE fobs, all of the fobs you want to use must be reprogrammed at the same time. If you want to add a fob, you have to pay to have all the existing fobs re-entered. If you've lost one you won't have it to re-enter, and it will be "deleted" so that it won't work for anyone who might find (or might have stolen) it. This means that if you lose one you really should reprogram any others you have so that the missing one won't work.

It's all for your own protection ... they say.

John


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Subject: RE: BS: Tale of a Used Car
From: JohnInKansas
Date: 28 Oct 13 - 06:53 PM

... ... and she's got a dead battery.

Closing(?) episode: Confirmed by phone that the battery got charged, although I don't know yet what kinds of "expert assistance" was required in Higgins Texas.

She said, about 4 hours ago, that she was loading up to come home. Since it's about a three hour drive I expect her here sometime in the next 2 or 3 hours ... maybe.

John


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