Join the Car Talk Community!

On September after years of deliberation I decided to purchase...

RSS
Dear Tom and Ray:



On September 27, after years of deliberation, I decided to purchase my first
new vehicle; a white, 1997 Ford Ranger extended cab pickup -- automatic,
4.0-liter engine and rear ABS. About two miles from the dealership, I brake
fairly hard to slow for traffic and the truck bounces and thunks as if I have
run over a large object in the road. About four miles, and several lesser
thunks later, I brake going into a bumpy curve. Another big thunk and
bounce. OK, maybe my spare tire is loose underneath and it's bouncing.

About nine miles from the dealership, I approach the street to my
house. Braking from 55 mph, the truck suddenly sounds like a blender making a
nuts and bolts milkshake and decelerates at the speed of light as I round the
corner. It dies. A woman in a car stops immediately and asks if I need a ride,
because she can see the driveshaft sitting on the pavement underneath the
truck. I say no thanks. I'm only about 700 feet from my house, and besides, I
need some screaming time. Actually, I never got upset. It was amusing, and I
had a three-year, 36,000 mile warranty that I was only one hour and less than
20 miles into.

Here are my questions: What happened? What are the odds of this happening?
What are the odds of it happening to me? Ford is getting me a new vehicle, but
shouldn't they tangibly compensate me in some fashion for this horrendous
ordeal? Perhaps a bed liner, a passenger side air bag, or maybe one of those
Christmas-tree air fresheners you hang from the rear-view mirror. What do you
think? -- Robert

RAY: I think the executive committee of the Ford board of directors is
debating the air-freshener option as we speak, Robert.

TOM: Someone forgot to tighten some crucial bolts on your little
Ranger. That's what happened. It sounds like your truck came down the assembly
line late on a Friday afternoon, possibly just before a long holiday weekend.

RAY: The bolts that hold the driveshaft to the pinion flange weren't secured,
and it took them about nine miles to work their way out. That must have been
very exciting!

TOM: It probably doesn't happen very often. I'd say the odds of this happening
are approximately 49,467 to 1.

RAY: And the chances of it happening to you are about 1,486,934 to 1 --
slightly worse than your chances of hitting it big in the
sub-Sahara-tri-desert-state lottery. So I guess congratulations are in order,
Robert. I'll bet you didn't know you were such a lucky guy!


You must be logged in to leave a comment. Login / Signup
Support for Car Talk is provided by:

Donate Your Car,
Support Your NPR Station

...and get a tax break!

Get Started

Find a Mechanic


Go



Submit