It’s that time of year – school supplies, the last few BBQs, some pre-season football. Also time for me to check in on the Roadship, our 2004 Nissan Quest, to get it in ship-shape for the back to school grind.
We’ve been hearing some strange noises from it this summer. Most of the time, right after it’s started, you hear a terrible howling/squealing. The kind of sound that makes people stop, stare, and point in parking lots. Like several animals fighting to the death. That kind of sound. There’s also a rattle, it needs an oil change, etc.
So I brought it in the local dealer (where I have my 7 year warranty!) and they check it out. I get “the call” at work – it’s belts, timing chain, your transmission fluid is black..blah blah blah $500. $500!
Not a crazy price, actually, given the wear and tear on that vehicle. I spoke to a cabbie in NYC recently and he said he changes the brakes on that cab every 20 days. He also puts about 100,000 miles a year on that car. Preventive maintenance is the key when your are doing this kind of stop and start driving, so you just have to deal.
I also plan on upgrading the Roadship system to support a good integrated Bluetooth system. It’s not just a good idea – it’s the law! Distracted driving is one of the scourges of the mobile industry, and I will do whatever it takes to keep my family safe in the van. I am going with the Parrot MKi9100 unit. It has Bluetooth calling, of course, but also supports BT phonebook and audio streaming in a pretty flexible installation package. It was $299 at Best Buy with install, $179 w/o install on Crutchfield and $85 on eBay. I went with the eBay unit and I will pay Best Buy $50 to install it. Unfortunately there is no wiring harness that works with the Nissan Quest sound system, otherwise I could probably do it myself.
Hopefully this will do it for a while – let’s see how that Bluetooth item works out.