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Follow up: Kia’s Inflated Mileage Claims

Published November 21, 2012 - 0 Comments

Last week I wrote about Kia’s Inflated Mileage Claims. After taking my Sportage to the dealership yesterday, I thought it only fair that I post a follow up.

First, I had omitted the fact that some Hyundai vehicles were also affected by inflated mileage claims.  This makes sense, as Hyundai owns Kia.

Second… and most important… apparently this reimbursement is a yearly occurrence!  I had assumed that it was merely a one time only adjustment.  Well.. you know what happens when you assume.  I was wrong.

I should be receiving my gas card for almost $40 in the mail sometime over the next couple of weeks.  Not too bad for only having 8432 kms on the car.  This time next year I will have considerably more… and that will be reflected in the next gas card.  And every year for as long as I own the car!  And if I sell the car to someone else, that transfers with the car, so it’s pretty sweet.


Sportage Shortage

Published May 4, 2012 - 2 Comments

What I wanted...

I thought that was a pretty clever title for a blog post, but it only makes sense if you are reading it with the American pronunciation.  From the Kia USA ads that I’ve seen on TV, they pronounce it differently than we do in Canada.  Sportage rhymes with shortage in the USA.  Here, it rhymes with fromage… as in the French word for cheese.  In that case, the title of my post isn’t nearly as witty as it’s supposed to be.

But I digress…

Seems that there is a shortage of Kia Sportages in the basic package (manual transmission) in the colour that I’m looking for.  They looked through their system and found only 2 Sportages in all of Atlantic Canada… both of them orange.  Generally I am not a fan of orange, but I actually think that the metallic orange looks good on these vehicles… and I probably would have agreed to it had I not been reminded that I will have this car for a long time, and that orange is probably going to get tiresome after a couple of years.  Yeah… I can see that… me pushing 50, driving an old pumpkin.  It would be one thing if I was leasing it for a couple of years, or planning to trade it in, but I tend to drive my cars into the ground, so I’m going to be with this one for a while.

So right now the Sportage that I want is sitting on a railcar somewhere between the factory and here.  It’s not expected to arrive until the 11th, which is an entire week from now.  In the meantime I’ve been given a Kia Spectra as a loaner car, considering MY Spectra wasn’t exactly safe to drive any more.  You’re not supposed to be able to see metal where tire tread used to be?  Really?  Hmm… ok..

All they seemed to have...

Tired of Tires

Published October 26, 2011 - 0 Comments

That was kinda what my tire looked like this morning before I came into work.  Except that it was 5:45 in the morning, pitch black, and really cold.

For the last 2 weeks or so, I’ve had what can only be described as an ever increasingly not-so-slow leak in my read driver’s side tire.  Initially I had to blow it up every couple of days.  Now I need to blow it up when I come into work, and when I leave work 12 hours later!  And it’s not low anymore… it’s completely flat.  My poor little air compressor doesn’t even go back into the trunk.  It sits beside me in the passenger seat, and probably hasn’t been unplugged in a week.  It’s part of my routine now.

If you’re wondering why I haven’t done anything with it until now, there are a couple of reasons.

  • I’m lazy.  Yes, that’s probably a front-runner.
  • It’s close to the time for my winter tires to get put on anyway.
  • I’m seriously considering going car shopping to take advantage of the end of year specials I keep seeing.

It was relatively easy to put off the inevitable when it was only every couple of days that I had to top it up.  Now that it’s every time I go out to the car… well, now the game has changed.  Oh, and thank you to whoever left the nice little note on my windshield the other day pointing out that I had a flat tire.  I appreciate that.  Next time, why not pump it up for me?  Or better yet, replace it.

Well enough is enough.  I have an appointment tonight to have my winter tires put on.  It’s a little earlier than I would normally do them, but I might as well get it done before the big rush… and it will solve my leaky tire issue.

Good times.

Puff the Magic Spectra (Part 1) (repost)

Published September 17, 2011 - 2 Comments
[Originally posted Jan 27, 2009]

Puff the Magic Spectra
Lived by the Sea
A cursed car, with broken parts
And a knack for stranding me….

Hmm…  I wonder what the topic of this post is going to be???

I had an appointment yesterday with my mechanic.  I called him last week and told him that I wanted to bring the car in for an oil change, and that the alternator belt was squeaking quite loudly again, and I would like someone competent to take a look at it.  The car had given me some grief before Christmas when it stranded me twice with alternator problems, and I was assured by both Canadian Tire and Kia that everything was ok now.  Yeah, right.

So yesterday when I went to start the car, all I heard was the sound of the key clicking, and low groan of the engine, and me cursing.  After the second boost in 2 weeks, I was on my way.  Everything was going great.  I had left myself enough time to stop for something to eat, and I would continue on my..

What the…?  Cold air?  I felt a distinct draft in the -24C weather.  Then I looked at the dashboard…. my two favourite lights were glowing..  Engine and Battery…


I turned off the radio, my lights, the heater, and kept a steady pressure on the gas peddle.  At least I was on the way to see the mechanic.  How ironic was that?  All I had to do was make sure that I got there.  Nice and steady.  Don’t stop for anything.  Just keep on…


Smoke started billowing out from underneath the hood…


In the land of make-believe, cars are powered on their owner’s curses.  Needless to say, my Spectra has enough fuel to drive to the moon and back.

I’m not going to stop.  I’m not going to stop.  I don’t see flames.  I’m not going to stop.

I was really betting on it not being smoke, but instead steam or just the fact that it was well-below freezing, and the engine was spewing all its heat into the cold morning air.

I was pleasantly surprised that the car actually drove well enough.  I didn’t experience the jerking and dramatic loss in power that I had fought through in December.  I was able to get to my mechanic’s place without any real problem… except, of course, the smoke billowing out of my engine like a World War II fighter plane being shot down.  I walked into his garage and announced myself.

“Hi.  I know that I’m early.  Guess what???  The car’s outside. There’s smoke.  No power.  I don’t dare shut it off.  What do you want me to do with it?”

Good Ole CAA

Published April 16, 2011 - 11 Comments

My CAA membership expires at the end of the month. I’d never really considered NOT renewing it, but I wasn’t sure if I would bother to renew it immediately. I’ve had a change of heart!

The brakes on the Kia seemed a little soft last night but it could have simply been my imagination.

As I drove home tonight, and exited the highway, I touched the brake pedal. The car started to shake violently. And then the brake went dead. I pushed the pedal to the floor but the car wasn’t stopping.

Thankfully there was no one ahead of me, and the exit ramp is long enough that I could easily gear down before getting to the stop sign. I proceeded a little further and tried the brake a few times. Nothing. I could gear down to slow myself but I’d never be able to stop the car if I had to. Not good.

And of course this is Saturday night. Again. No one is going to be able to look at my car until Monday morning. Again. I’m serious. If you look at the posts regarding car breakdowns there are a freakish number that occur on Saturday or Sunday. It’s nuts.

Anyway, I called the roomie to come pick me up and CAA to come take the car away. My mechanic will be thrilled to see it back again. Might as well change the oil and put the new windshield wipers on while he’s at it!

I’m glad that my car is paid for and that I’m able to set aside a little money on a monthly basis in the event that thing like this happen.

I guess I’ll find out what the damage is on Monday. And I’ll have to get up early tomorrow to walk to work! Just my luck it’ll probably rain. Or snow.

Good times.

Car Wars – The Search for a New Ride

Published June 5, 2010 - 0 Comments

You may have heard me grumbling nearly 2 weeks ago that my car wasn’t working..  AGAIN!   I didn’t really get into it, because I didn’t want to tell only one part of the story, and it seemed like it (the story) was moving along nicely.  I figured that when it had unfolded completely that I would sit down and write.  A day or two… maybe three…

Well the ongoing saga shows no signs of being wrapped up any time soon, so I might as well start writing before I forget what I’m even writing about.

I had a nice birthday.  The kids came up to visit.  We had a lot of fun.  I told them after supper that I would take them to the park.  It was code for “Run…run you little monsters…  tire yourselves out… please!”

Well, we climbed into the car, fastened our seatbelts, and away we went.  Only.. we didn’t actually go anywhere!  Yes, the car started.  That wasn’t the problem (this time).  The problem is that when I tried to put the car into reverse, it seemed to get stuck part way!  The gear shift refused to move.  Not down.  Not up.  Left.  Right.  Nothing.  It was completely stuck.  So back into the house the kids went, while Daddy threatened the car with a quick, flaming death if it didn’t fix itself immediately.  Have I mentioned how much I truly hate that car sometimes?  When it works, it’s a great little car.  When it doesn’t work, I want to melt it down and make beer caps out of it!

This is the first time that I’ve had car problems in my own driveway.  Normally I have to tow it from the side of the road, which has been expensive.  But not this time.  This time I was still in my driveway.  But there was a little glitch. It was a long weekend, and I wouldn’t have a chance for it to be looked at for at least a few days.

But I’d had enough anyway.  I’ve been telling myself that I wanted to get another two years out of it, before getting my new Lexus.  Well, that plan would have to be altered.  The first opportunity I had, I was looking at a new car.  The hell with my Kia and its random-strandings.

The first car I test drove was a Hyundai Elantra.  It wasn’t a bad car, and the price was certainly in my range.  I’d have no problems with that payment.  I thanked the salesman and told him that I wanted to check out a few other places.  He was a very nice gentleman.

Then I went to Ford.  It’s been awhile since I’ve owned a Ford, but I’ve been hearing a lot of good things about them since the Toyota recall disaster.  I know quite a few people who have bought Fords recently, and thought that I should at least go visit them and see what they had to offer.  I settled on a 2010 Focus.  My friend (Remember “Pauline”?) used to drive a Focus.  It was basically a box with 4 wheels.  Not a single bell, nor whistle.  I’m surprised that the windows even rolled down.  That was the old Focus, not the new Focus.  The new Focus is a thing of beauty… well, except for the one in the showroom.  It’s a god-awful greenish thing… I’m trying to think of SOMETHING that looks that colour.. anything…  I’m still drawing a blank.  I told the saleswoman that the colour was horrid, but I’d gladly drive one if they had something in another shade.

I was quite happy with the Focus.  It drove nicely.  It looked great.  But what really sucked me in was all the extra stuff that it had.. the hands-free package synchs up with an iPhone (probably any phone) to be able to make voice activated calls.  That, in itself, was worth the extra $500.  Then she told me that I could control the iPhone music playlists with my voice too?!  That’s it.  Where do I sign?  It also comes with Sirius satellite radio, but I couldn’t care less about that.  Sure, I might try it out.. but when I can talk to my iPhone and get it to play the music that I want to hear, when I want to hear it.  No thanks, Sirius…  Besides, I still have a bad taste in  my mouth from our stock encounter.

I didn’t want to make my decision quite yet, though.  I wanted to drive at least one other car.  Off to Honda I went.  I had bought a 2004 Civic, that my ex currently still drives.  It’s a nice little car.  Very dependable.  Very comfortable.  Very expensive (in comparison to the Kia Spectra I bought for myself around that time).  The new Civics are sweet looking cars.  I sat in it, and instantly felt a very familiar feeling overcome me.  It felt like the 2004 Civic that I used to drive somewhat, although an obviously updated model.  It didn’t have quite as many bells and whistles as the Ford (no hands free synching) but it was a nice car.  What really bothered me about the whole Honda experience was the pushiness of the salesman and his boss.  In 2004, that salesman was awesome.  He let the car sell itself.  And it did just that.  (Coincidentally, I see that he’s at Kia now… another example of how these guys just seem to migrate from one dealership to the next)  It’s quite possible that I might have decided to go for the Civic again, if it wasn’t for the over-selling on the part of the salesman, and my friend kicking me repeatedly under the table to warn me not to get sucked into the trap!  I was finally able to pull myself away from that uncomfortable setting, and escape.

The next day, I went back to Ford and took the Focus out for another drive.  That sealed it for me right there.  Find me a standard, in dark charcoal, with the hands-free system and throw a bow on it.  Daddy’s got himself a new toy!  Of course, things are never that simple.

“There is only one in Canada that meets your criteria”, she told me.

“Well that’s perfect, because I only want one.  Bring it around front, so I can sign my life away, and drive home.”

“It’s in Nova Scotia.  My manager is going to call them and see if we can have it driven here.  It’ll be here by Friday.”

I was disappointed, but not shocked.  It could have been worse.  It could have been sitting on a lot in Vancouver.  I could wait.

So then I went to see the finance guy, who tried to up-sell me to the latest and greatest.  I stuck to my guns in everything except tire warranty.  I’d run into a problem before with tires, and figured that a little extra peace of mind probably wasn’t a bad idea.  Hell, it gets lumped into the car payment, spread over 6 years at 0% financing.  How bad could it be?

Everything was great.  I signed the papers, and went home.

About 10 minutes before I got home, my cellphone rang.  It was the financial guy.

“Do you have a large outstanding consolidated loan that’s not being paid?” he asked me.

“Umm.. no.  I was on credit counseling for a few years, but I completed that  successfully back in the fall of 2009.  Hell, I’m their Client of the Year!”

“Well, Ford Canada Financing shows that you have a large bill that is not being paid.”

“Well, they’re wrong.  I’m debt free.”

When I got home, I called the people at CCS and left a message about what was going on.  It was my understanding that I wouldn’t run into problems like this after I got out of their debt management program.  Yes, my credit report does show a massive sinkhole that probably will never go away, but it also shows that I completed the program successfully, and gives me an R7 credit rating.  It’s specifically designated as “Debt Settlement”.  It’s not great.  But it’s better than the alternative.

Well that was over a week ago, and CCS is trying to convince Ford Canada Financial that I really do intend to pay my car loan, and not drive away with it.  I’m not sure what the hold-up is other than “It’s only been 6 months since you completed the program.”, but I don’t know what the magic number is for qualifying.  But there’s one thing that I’m pretty damn sure of…

My “Only one in Canada” Focus is no doubt being driven by someone else at this very moment.

Bummer  🙁

The one shining light from this story?  I called CAA to send a tow truck and haul my Kia off to the mechanic.  I wasn’t going with the car.  He could figure out what to do with it when it got there.  It didn’t take him long to fix it.  He called me while I was actually driving the Focus, and told me that he drove it off the back of the tow truck without any problem!  Apparently the bouncing on the back of the truck for an hour was enough to knock it back into gear!  It’s been working fine ever since, but I still don’t trust it.  I’d like to get this mess with the financing over and done with, so I can get rid of the Kia.  I even have someone who will buy it from me as soon as I’m ready to sell it, so that’s just fine with me!

I think I need to buy a horse.