Tags: automobile

me tira daqui

Save a bunch of money by switching away from GEICO?

Old Baltimore Pike I set aside this afternoon (well, almost evening, really) to make some phone calls. One of those calls was to follow up on a preliminary insurance quote from AAA. The initial quote came in around $200 less than what I paid GEICO. After I called the insurance agent at AAA and told her I'd be switching my homeowner's insurance and umbrella policy over too, it went down even more, to about $270 below GEICO's rate. However, homeowner's insurance at AAA is $60 higher, which offsets that somewhat (although not by as much as it seems because the home insurance rate is a yearly amount, whereas auto is half-yearly) but I'd still save money by switching.

Next, I called GEICO to tell them about this quote and ask if they can offer any discounts to close the gap. I found out that the discounts they offer vary by state, so apparently, there was one discount I got in NJ that I'm not getting in DE. Weird. While going through the list of available discounts, I was tempted to ask if they had an AAA affiliate discount. :) Anyway, the customer rep couldn't offer me anything other than a discount for taking a defensive driver course, which I wouldn't have to take to get AAA's lower auto rate. So it looks like I'll have to switch.

Another option is to get auto insurance from AAA and homeowner's from GEICO since the latter is cheaper there. But that would be messier and probably won't save much because then I'd lose the multiline discount.
morton blvd

DE Title, Registration - Another visit to the DMV

One reason I took the car in for servicing yesterday was to make sure there were no issues for the state inspection today. I didn't think there would be any problems since I'd already checked the lights and wipers myself but one can never be too sure. So I got the inspection done this morning. Went to the DMV near my house again. It was about an hour wait in the line for the inspection but the inspection process itself didn't take very long and my car passed with no safety issues.

Armed with form MV-212 from the inspection station, I went to the DMV main building for title and registration. Here's the surprise: I was done with that in less than 10 minutes! When I got the ticket, my number was already the next one to be called. Only had to fill out the forms and pay the fees. Then the clerk handed over the new title, registration paper, and license plate. Went home and immediately went to work switching the plates on my car. Delaware only has a rear license plate so the front plate holder is now empty. I think I'll just save that in case I move to a two-plate state. Anyway, that was a significant step because changing the car title/registration was the last item in my move checklist. I'm finally done! (Well, except for the rest of the unpacking, that is. :) )

After that, I went to the bank to put the title in the safe deposit box. Then I went for the Grave Robbers geocache in the Christiana area. It's a pretty quick cache by an old cemetery next to a condo development. After a quick stop at the Christiana recycling center, it was time for Taco Tuesday at Don Pablos. I had 12 tacos this time, which is better than my previous record of 9. I think I could've had more but didn't want to get to the point where I would feel bloated. Have to save the real eating for Old Country Buffet. :)
morton ave

Price Toyota, New Castle

Rainy day. It was about time for the 120K miles service (actual mileage was 122,999) so I took the car to the dealership in New Castle. Their service department is small but the service tech told me that they'll be moving to the bigger building next door in December. Service took about 2 hours. They have wi-fi internet but there were problems with their router. No matter. I had plenty to do even without net access.

At the end of the service, the service tech told me that the struts weren't leaking and did not have to be replaced. That is good news, although rather weird because that's not what the service tech back in North Jersey said. So I'm glad I got a second opinion.
chicken fries

Matters of car and pancakes

Easton Tower

I got an estimate from Ramsey Auto Body. The bumper will cost $630 to replace and it'll take two days. My appointment with them is for March 9. Encompass Insurance will also be paying for a rental car for that duration so I'll call the agent to find out how to arrange it.

I was planning to go to IHOP in Ramsey for Free Pancake Day at lunchtime but the opportunity never arose so instead, I went there at night, just an hour before closing time. The restaurant was packed! People really like free food. I got my name on the waiting list and waited for some time. Then they opened up a bunch of new tables and sat everyone on the waiting list at once. I had the free short stack, of course. Here are pictures before and after adding all the syrups. I also got a salad to accompany the pancakes.

The final event of the evening was my car reached 100,000 miles on the odometer. Actually, it was at 99,999 miles when I got home but a bit of driving up and down my street was enough to push the odometer over.
me tira daqui

Ruminations on Toilet and Car

Becker Park

The toilet is fixed after they replaced the flapper for a second time. I have no idea what was wrong after the first flapper replacement. I also got my car back today after replacing the battery, the timing belt, and the power steering link assembly. (The last item was a manufacturer recall so it was free.) So, with things back to normal, I can finally get back on track.

What I learnt is I didn't appreciate how idyllic my daily home life was until I had maintenance men coming in several times and interrupting it, and commenting rather rudely on stuff in my living room in the process. I thanked them for fixing the toilet but the rest of this episode was unnecessarily abrasive. I also wasn't really comfortable driving a car that wasn't my own for two days. It's not just the different handling and different radio knobs but also having to be extra careful because I'm liable for even the tiniest ding or scratch that I ordinarily wouldn't be too concerned about fixing if it was on my own car. The loaner desk clerk had to remind me of that after the previous "dent" incident.

Anyway, the moral is I should appreciate what I have while I have it because disruptions could take it all away. Either that or disruptions teach me to better appreciate what I have. In any case, I'm glad both of those issues are over and I hope the rest of the week goes smoothly.
me tira daqui

Recall service, toilet, and ALRs


Took the car to the service department this morning to take care of the power steering manufacturer recall. That part is free, at least. However, it's also time to replace the timing belt and battery so they're doing that too. The loaner car this time is a 2008 Highlander, which is like my car but without the hybrid system. The loaner has a third row of seats where the trunk should be. That's an option I didn't get because I don't have a family of 8.

Toilet is still broken. We tried replacing the fill valve but that didn't do it. I thought the problem was the flapper but replacing that didn't fix the problem either. Probably need a new toilet. In the meantime, I'm flushing with a bucket.

The geocache "Over there, over there, we won't be back till" had an additional logging requirement that you had to place two new geocaches within a week of logging it. I knew that would be a problem because the cache owner didn't mark it as a puzzle/mystery cache. (Traditional caches can't have ALRs.) What I didn't know is Groundspeak no longer allows caches that require placing another cache as a logging requirement. I guess that makes sense because we don't want people to place more drive-and-dump caches just to fulfill a requirement. Anyway, I'm not fond of caches with ALRs but now that this cache has been revised to remove the ALR, I'll go for it once it has been reenabled.
fox yawn

Friday Five and two things that are not tight

Hutchinson River Parkway

The "Check VSC System" warning came on again. This time, however, I see a pattern. On 3 occasions, this happened after filling up at a certain gas station. So I did a web search and found this forum thread where someone pointed out that a loose gas cap could be a problem. Perhaps the pump attendant at this gas station has a habit of not tightening the gas cap. If so, the fix is simple. I can tighten it myself. In any case, I have an appointment on Monday for a manufacturer recall service and I'll ask them to take a look at the car computer code while they have the car.

Also, the toilet at home is not working. The tank never fills up because the flap is not tight any more and is letting all the water out. Great.

Friday FiveCollapse )
chicken fries

The Curious Incident of the Hit and Run in the Day-Time


I returned to the service department this afternoon to pick up my car. They only did the brakes and the 90K miles service but didn't do anything about the tire because there was no detectable leak. Strange. Why then did I need to add air to it every other day? I'll wait and see if it gets worse.

Here's a bigger problem though. Someone scratched and dented the loaner car but didn't leave a note. The bad part is they did it to the loaner. It's not that it would've been better on my car but since this is the loaner, the damage has to be fixed, and since it was a hit and run and the offender has not been identified, I have to pay for it. That sucks.

Finally, I got a chicken pizziola footlong from Subway in Ramsey. I hadn't been to Subway in a while so I didn't know about this new $5 footlong.
morton st


Petruska Park

I still had the loaner car today because the service department had to order the replacement weatherstrip. So this afternoon, I took it out for a little drive to Petruska Park in Paramus for Petruska Park Cache. This geocache was only 200 feet from the parking area but it was 200 feet of solid bushwhacking. Of course, I probably could've chosen an easier route around the thicket. When I emerged from the bushes, I saw Daneyko3, who was searching around in the vicinity of the cache site. The funny thing is the spot where I came out of the bushes was almost exactly where the cache was hidden so I found it almost right away!

Then I went to McDonald's in Paramus. I had a coupon from last Sunday's newspaper, so I got a Southern style chicken sandwich. I still don't think it's that much better than the original McChicken sandwich though. Went back to get the car after lunch because it was ready by then. Yes, it looks better now without that loose piece hanging from the door. :)