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