Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Toyota Quality?

I have long been a fan of Toyotas. I bought my first one back in 1980 and have owned several of them since. The only warranty issue we have had until recently is the gas cap on my Sequoia, which I no longer have. We have owned two Corollas, three Camry's, one Avalon, one T100 and and now a Prius. And I really haven't had any complaints.... until now.

There are several things that lead to the Prius' excellent gas mileage. 1) It is a hybrid. 2) It is aero- dynamic. 3) They put hard tires on it which are noisy and compromise the ride. and, 4) They use a lot of plastic light weight parts. Some plastic is good, but not in some places.

For instance, they are trying to protect the engine by installing a plastic shield at the underside. While my wife was on vacation this plastic shield came loose and fell off. Before it fell all the way off it dropped down and dragged on the road. The piece was retrieved.

My wife took the car into two different Toyota dealerships and requested to have it put back on under the 36,000 mile bumper to bumper warranty. She was told that it didn't qualify under warranty because the piece was damaged. Instead it would cost us $288 to have a new one put on.

This to me seems a little self serving for Toyota. They put a cheap (expensive) plastic piece on the under carriage of their car. The little plastic rivets holding it on come out. The piece drops down and bangs the highway. And now because it is damaged they won't cover it with their warranty. One of the dealerships said that there have been several of these repairs.

Is this what Toyota has to resort to to make a profit? How can this be a good decision on their part, knowing that their part is faulty, and are willing to displease the customers who buy their cars, for the sake of $288? After this I have determined to buy zero Toyotas in the future. It's not because I don't like their cars, but is the principle. I spend my money on their cars and they screw me on the warranties.

Perhaps they haven't heard that they are no longer the only ones building good cars. Ford Motor is up and coming, and based on my experience with my F-150 I am likely to go that direction with my next vehicle purchase. Who knows, I might even buy a Kia!

Monday, May 23, 2011

It Didn't Happen!

Well folks, I'm not surprised. I'm still here and so are you. Now, don't get me wrong. I believe in the rapture and believe that it can happen any time. But Scripture does say that "no man knows the day nor the hour" and it also says that "He shall come as a thief in the night." I guess that means that he will come at a time that we are not expecting Him. So the best thing is to be prepared and expect Him at all times.

These predictors of the rapture have me a little bit confused. Surely they must be Christians if they are looking for and expecting the return of Christ. Many of them have given away their wealth for this cause. But the confusing part is that they don't understand that God has His own timetable for the event of this world. He has given us signs of the times, which would lead us to believe that His return is soon, but he has not given us a date and an hour.

What concerns me the most, though, is that they make a mockery of the Christian faith. While they may have good intentions, they have actually done harm to the Christian cause. True believers will probable not be hindered, but rather those whom we are trying to reach with the gospel of Christ. I imagine that this has caused many of them to scoff.

If we stick to the true message of the Bible, and are true to the commission that God has given us, we will not need to be concerned about the date and hour. When He comes He will find us happily working in the great harvest field. We will be rewarded accordingly. The key is to be prepared, and to be obedient to God's will. He wants to find a church that is busy about doing the things of God.

Having said that, perhaps there are many who should be a little worried, if not greatly worried. Are you prepared? Are you doing God's will with your life? Or, is Christianity just some kind of faith your subscribe to?

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

85 Cents Per Hour!

Yes, Sir, folks! that's what I made at my first job. That is my first job after being a paper boy at which I made no money.

My first job was as a dish washer at Brehmer's Cafe in Brainerd, Minnesota. I worked four hours on Saturday and four hours on Sunday. That's a whopping $6.80 for the entire weekend. With that money I bought my first car, a 1952 metallic blue Chevrolet Biscayne. I also insured it and bought the gas. Of course gas was about twenty cents a gallon then.

I quit that job to work at the Sweden House for $1.05 per hour and worked about 16 hours per week. That's what you call "coming up in the world. " I worked there until I joined the Army Reserves and was shipped off to basic training.

As I look back I realize that one day at my first job would buy two tall Starbucks coffees today. Worse yet, it wouldn't buy me one gallon of gas today. In my F-150 I'd only get about 15 miles down the road.

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Back From the Dead

I think we all remember that not too long ago at the peak of the recession all three major Auto manufacturers in the US were facing bankruptcy. Only Ford Motor decided to refuse government funding. I remember when their stock was $1.16 per share. Now it is over $15.00. This company has resurrected itself and they have done it with some of the finest technology and best vehicles on the road.

Because I bought my F-150 during the worst part of the recession a got a great deal. After driving the truck over 40,000 miles I still think it is a great deal. I have had zero malfunctions with the truck, mechanical or otherwise. No rattle, no squeaks, no hassles. Highway gas mileage is 21 and all around has been 17. And it is comfortable, quiet, and nice riding.

But now I see a whole new line of Fords coming along that are pretty skimpy on gas and have great designs. Their Explorer won truck of the year awards, their Vertrek won concept car of the year. They are making cars on their new C platform that have great design and superior technology. The Vertrek is the design for the new Ford Escape coming in the future. I'd buy that car if it was available now.

Ford Motor came from death row to be a leader in the automotive world. They have proven that a company can remake itself. And now with their eco-boost engines in their F-150 they get even better gas mileage with more towing power. I give Ford Motor high marks, right now higher than Toyota, Honda, Nissan, Mercedy Benz, Audi, and those South Korean cars.

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

So Osama is Dead

Osama Bin Laden was a mass murderer with an evil mind. He preyed upon innocents. He was cowardly and sick! And so are his followers. Let us not forget that he not only murdered thousands of people on 911, but he continued to do so up to the time of his death. The world is better without him. Those who are not supportive of his death evidently had not lost one of their own loved ones at 911, at war in Afghanistan, or in one of his planned suicide bombings. Of course, the coward always had someone else carry out the suicide bombing.

Do I rejoice in his death? Well, I'm not dancing in the street, but I am very glad that he is gone and can no longer murder innocents. I would rather he stood trial and would have to wait like so many others do in solitary confinement awaiting his day at the gallows, for the anticipation of death can be worse than death itself. I would even be in favor of no certain date foe execution. I would want him thinking that, "perhaps today, or tomorrow, or the next day would be the day."

I don't think for one minute that our world is safer. Perhaps the opposite is true because of the threat of retaliation. But they must know now that "they can run but they cannot hide." We will find them and they will be brought to justice.

For some reason my Starbucks tastes better than usual today.