Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Problem solved

Our vehicle saga took another turn yesterday.

Shawna and I bought two 2-door 2012 Honda Civics about a year ago. We traded in our cars which had about 90k miles on both of them, effectively extending the life of our automobiles about 5 more years. In the process we moved from two fairly expensive cars to two economical ones.

It wasn't too long before we realized... the two-door Civics were not big enough for a lot of things. Obviously we expected that to a certain extent. But we actually had to rent a truck just to move a few things from our apartment to our mini-storage unit.

So, in late December we traded the red Civic I had been driving for a 2013 Honda CR-V. I then switched over to driving the black Civic that Shawna had been previously driving because I have a 122 mile-per-day commute.

I immediately noticed that the black Civic had a problem that the red Civic did not. It manifested itself in the form of a rapid vibration in the steering wheel around 70-75 mph on the freeway. Since I mainly drive the freeway on my commute, this became severely annoying.

After a fair amount of trouble shooting at the Honda dealer, they concluded that the vibration was caused by either the poor pavement or was a characteristic of the tires (which are not covered under warranty).

Of course the only way determine if the problem was caused by the tires, would be to shell out $650 for new ones. And if that didn't correct it, there seemed to be a strong likelihood that they would then blame the road... which would essentially be denying that there was a problem at all.

After already throwing over $500 down the toilet at Les Schwab for this problem, we decided to cut our losses and trade the car in. While not necessarily that great of a move financially, it didn't turn out to be that bad.

We ended up with a new 2013 Honda Fit. Nice little car. Certainly a step below the Civic in some areas. But a lot more practical in others. For one, it's a hatchback, where (unlike the Civic)... the fold-down feature of the rear seats actually is a functional advantage. It's also a four-door. And it feels much roomier than the Civic.

Oddly the Fit is not rated as good as the Civic when it comes to gas mileage. But after buying four brand new Hondas this year, we are now committed to keeping the two we have until they crap out.