Archive for the Maintenance Category

Birthday #35 and New Year 2017 Celebrations

Posted in Blog, ILX, Maintenance on January 7, 2017 by tysonhugie

Odometer (Legend):  550,089

Trip Distance:  232 Miles

phx_tus

Welcome back to the start of a new year and a few more miles to be driven!

Here’s how my last few years have gone.

  • 2014:  128 blog posts, 115,740 views and 41,008 visitors
  • 2015:  95 blog posts, 113,438 views and 39,165 visitors
  • 2016:  84 blog posts, 107,955 views and 40,495 visitors

Clearly I’m posting less frequently and it looks like that also translates into fewer views overall, though somehow “visitors” remains steady.  Today’s post is just a quickie as I’m out the door (and in the air) at 7:05 a.m. tomorrow morning for my annual trip to the North American International Auto Show (NAIAS) in Detroit, Michigan.

Here was a fun 2016 annual mileage summary that I put together a few days ago with some notes at the bottom if you’d like to geek out with me.

car_nerdery

We need to have a moment of silence for a newly-departed 2001 MDX that reader “Russell” emailed me about.  After 15 reliable years of service, his MDX succumbed to a rusty frame and had to be retired at 525,609 miles on the odometer.

Russell’s email stated:

Tyson, the harsh chemicals used to treat Connecticut roads took out my car today. The part of the body that bolts to rear axle was destroyed by the salts. Done at 525k. Picked up a certified RDX today w 55k.

img_1303

Best of luck with your RDX, my friend!

Winter’s weather wrath is something we don’t really have to deal with here in the Grand Canyon State.  My backyard, in fact, is still green and I had to mow it the other day – even if only to pick up a few fallen leaves from the tree back there.

backyard

I celebrated a milestone of my own last week by hitting 35 years on my odometer a couple of weeks ago.

35

It was a memorable occasion for many reasons.  One of them was a visit from my friend Paul who’s based in Honolulu but happened to be passing through town with his mother and his girlfriend.

tyson_paul

Later that evening, some of my friends took me out to eat at one of my favorite restaurants.

bday_group

I pulled the Integra out on the grass for a couple of evening photographs.

teg_backyard_2

teg_backyard

One of the buildings in Tempe has windows that can be used to spell things out.  When the Super Bowl was in town a couple of years ago, it said XLIX.  Last week it simply said “2017.”

first_solar

Speaking of XLIX, and ILX, I had a 190,000-mile oil change (they call it a “B1” service) and tire rotation last week.  The technician noted a few maintenance items that may need to be addressed in the near future.  Among them:

  • Rear brake pad replacement
  • Leaking rear shock replacement
  • Air and cabin filter replacement
  • Serpentine belt replacement
  • Brake fluid flush
  • Clutch fluid flush

Guess it’s time to blow the dust off the old wallet (I learned that phrase from Josh) the next time I go in for service.

ilx_notes

190k

My friends and I took a drive to Tucson, Arizona for our New Year festivities.

lions_den

My friend James let us stay overnight in his historic 1914 home near the University of Arizona.

group_pic

On my drive home, I received a picture of myself from another friend who wasn’t traveling with us but who happened to come up behind me on Interstate 10 westbound just outside Phoenix.  The world is too small.

letsom_text

This morning I cruised down to Chandler, Arizona for an annual New Year Meet at Science of Speed, an NSX & S2000 specialty shop that I use for some of my maintenance needs.  There was a really nice turnout – probably 30 to 40 cars.  One of them was this unassuming 1992 Formula Red that looks a lot like mine.

nsx_high_mi

Until you peek at the odometer:  347,216.  Wow!  The owner said he’d owned it for 14 years and the car is still on its original engine and transmission.

nsx_gauges

Have a great rest of your weekend!  I’ll be freezing my buns off in Michigan but seeing some hot cars (hopefully) at the auto show.

Quick Trip to Los Angeles: Historic Honda Roots & Dinner in West Hollywood

Posted in California, Car Show, ILX, Integra, Maintenance, NSX, Road Trip on November 20, 2016 by tysonhugie

Odometer (Legend):  548,869

548869

Odometer (ILX):  185,579

185579

Trip Distance:  758 Miles

phx_weho

Would you believe that American Honda, the powerhouse that sold a record 1.5 million vehicles across the Honda and Acura brands in 2015, got its humble roots selling just motorcycles out of this small office space in Los Angeles?  Some 57 years ago, here at 4077 W. Pico Boulevard, the company first took root in the United States, but it has forever since changed the landscape of the powersports and automotive industries.

American Honda's first corporate office - Pico Blvd. Los Angeles, CA.jpg

Today, that same office space has changed hands probably more times than one could count, and is currently leased by an acupuncture & wellness facility.  Sadly the condition has deteriorated substantially and the neighborhood isn’t all that great.  I happened to be in the area yesterday morning so I stopped by for a pre-sunrise photo.  The building is available for lease, and it would sure be a lot of fun to move in and create a museum or replica of the way things used to be.  Dreams.

honda_pico_boulevard_2016

Looking westward down Pico Boulevard.  The roads were surprisingly quiet at this hour.

pico_boulevard_honda_2016

Thanks to the lady selling tamales on the street next door for taking this quick shot of me.

tyson_on_pico

Last Sunday, I met up with a few fellow second-generation Acura Integra drivers at a park in Tempe, Arizona for a little meet & greet.  Now 26 years old, this bodystyle has aged pretty well and the few that survive are in the hands of enthusiasts like the handful of guys I met that day.  It seems most people consider the Integra a blank canvas upon which to express his or her own sense of style, but I’ve decided to keep mine original to its 1992 factory configuration.

meet2

It’s always fun to meet with other car-nuts at events like these.  Especially in cases, like this one, where the host brought out Dunkin Donuts to share with everyone.  Thanks to German for that!

meet1

For years I’ve waited for the right opportunity to take a photo of my “Vig” at “The Vig.”  The Vig is a restaurant on 16th Street in central Phoenix that has some of the best brunch in the valley.

the_vig

The 1992 NSX has been under the knife for the past week or so, getting a completely refreshed Anti-Lock Braking System (ABS) to rectify a warning light that’s been showing up for a long time.  Braking performance under normal circumstances have been unaffected, but the ABS is deactivated when the light is on.  This is a very common issue for the early NSX models like mine, and luckily Science of Speed offers an upgrade kit designed specifically for this application.  It involves retrofitting the later model year (2002-05) NSX components.

nsx_spare_bay

I’m picking up the car the first part of this coming week.  SOS did also recommend a few other maintenance items that will wait until my next major “90K” service coming up in 4 years.  The timing belt and water pump were changed in January 2011 under the previous owner’s ownership, so they aren’t quite due yet.  That was a $2,200 service at the time.

For having driven the NSX 26,000 miles in the 5 years I’ve had it, it’s actually been relatively inexpensive to own & maintain.  GEICO did just raise my 6-month premium to $179 because the street address at which I now reside is higher risk.  Interestingly enough, the NSX is still far cheaper to insure with full coverage than the 2013 ILX (which comes in at over $300) even though the NSX is certainly worth much more.

nsx_at_sos

This weekend’s travels took me to California on Thursday afternoon.  The Los Angeles Auto Show kicked off last week with Media Days being held on Wednesday and Thursday.  Typically, I would have been there as a journalist with the Redline Reviews team to cover the event’s new car reveals, but my work time-off situation wouldn’t quite allow for it.

Still, I was determined to participate in the after-hours stuff so I set out in the afternoon for what should have been a six-hour drive to Hollywood for a dinner engagement with about 30 other people.  Lucky for me, I also gained an hour due to time zones because that drive in reality ended up taking over 8 hours.  Construction zones in multiple places on Interstate 10 and the expected LA rush-hour traffic made for slow going.

desert_center

My Garmin Nuvi GPS unit crept up its ‘delay’ timer the closer I got to my destination.

delay

At least red is a pretty color!

red

I did finally make it to the venue at “Tortilla Republic,” though, and just 15 minutes before it started.  Here, I’m pictured with Sofyan, Aaron, Rob, and Peace who are the backbone of the Redline media group.  I’m hoping to partner with them in two months at the Detroit Auto Show if I can play my cards right with the time-off request.  Cross your fingers!

tortilla_republic_group

Hollywood’s “Walk of Fame” is home to 2,500 stars like this in the ground.  It was walking distance from my motel and I happened to snag a picture of one of the stars, Mariah Carey’s, while en route to breakfast on Friday morning.

mariah

Sunrise in downtown Los Angeles

los_angeles_morning

I made one major pit stop on the way home, to see some friends in Palm Springs.  Scott & Sandy are a couple who I’ve featured on the blog previously.  Their ever-evolving automotive collection spans a wide variety of tastes, from their 1992 NSX to a 1980s Mercury Bobcat (rebadged Pinto), to their latest:  a 1964 Mercury Park Lane which they just had brought over on a transport truck from Houston.  It’s waiting for some brake work so we didn’t take it for a spin, but those guys sure have some great taste in cars!

scott_sandy_tyson

I took a spin in their 41,000-mile (!) 1976 Cadillac Seville which rode like it was on a cloud.

seville_dash

Also checked out Scott’s latest toy:  a 1991 Civic “RealTime 4WD” wagon that he’s going to restore.

rt_wagon

Many thanks to Scott and Sandy once again for their hospitality.

Finally today – I’d like to make a quick introduction to my friend Melissa, who has launched her own blog.  It’s called “Working from Home.”  In today’s workplace, thanks to the advances in telecommuting, you can be in virtually any part of the world and still be connected to your day job.  I’ve participated in conference calls from the road, logged into my email from airplanes and hotel rooms, and been on Skype meetings while in another state.  It’s starting to matter less and less that you’re seated in desk 4S018 at Phoenix Plaza Corporate Office staring at 4 cubicle walls.

melissa_logo

Case in point:  I worked with Melissa on a daily basis for over 4 years, but I never met her.  She was over 2,500 miles away at our Rhode Island office and I was based in Scottsdale, Arizona.  Did the geographic distance make us any less productive as coworkers?  I honestly don’t think so.  And herein was born the opportunity for Melissa to create an outlet where she could share some of her learnings over the many months of working from home.

Be sure to check out the article “Are You On Mute?” under the “Real Work” section.  It’s one of my faves.

Have a great Thanksgiving week!

New Domain Name, Some Integra Maintenance, & A Visitor from Oregon

Posted in Integra, Legend, Maintenance on July 26, 2016 by tysonhugie

Odometer (Legend Coupe):  544,040

544040

Odometer (Legend Sedan):  150,439

150439

Odometer (ILX):  176,539

176539

I’m all grown up now.  After over 5 years on a free WordPress account, I’d reached about 85% of my allowed media capacity and kept getting warnings about going over.  I’ve shared 14,541 photos on the blog and they take up 2.6 gigabytes worth of space.  So, it was time to upgrade, and along with a paid registration came the opportunity to become an official “dot-commer.”  You can now find this page by typing in simply “drivetofive.com.”  Celebrate good times (c’mon!).

Today’s updates fall into the “hodge podge” category.  Surprise:  I didn’t go anywhere this past weekend.  I’ve had too many other things going on house wise, career wise, and otherwise.  But I did get to enjoy spending time with a visiting friend from Oregon, beat the heat at a Sunday matinee, and attend a planning call with the NSX Club of America (NSXCA) about current events and activities.

The NSXCA, by the way, is sporting a new website of its own.  Check it out.  I can assure you the internal member page is pretty slick – including downloadable copies of the Club’s quarterly magazine, NSX Driver.  Worth the $40 membership annually if you’re an owner or even just an enthusiast.

nsxca

We even occasionally get “insider” deals on stuff like, say, the new NSX.  Berlina Black, anyone?

2017_nsx

Also in the cool car category is this stellar-looking 1982 DMC DeLorean.  Believe it or not, my boss drives this car and she’s the original owner!  She was proud to show it off last Friday at the office and the next time we get the chance, we’re taking it for a spin.  Maybe I can even get some time behind the wheel.  Unfortunately Shea Blvd doesn’t have anywhere we could safely get up to 88 miles per hour, so maybe another time we could try that.

delorean

My friend Kyle and I did an overnight car swap which was a nice change of pace.  He borrowed the ILX and I got the keys to his 400-hp 2005 Pontiac GTO 6-speed.  It has just a little over 101,000 miles on the odometer but looks showroom fresh inside & out thanks to Kyle’s attention to detail.  I was a little paranoid to even drive the thing, but I greatly enjoyed my commute home on Friday afternoon.   The GTO is a car that demands brute force to drive.  The clutch is heavy, the gear shift takes effort, and the doors close with a resounding thud.  There is nothing delicate or dainty about this car.  Not to mention the fact that the exhaust note will awaken anyone within earshot – a mile away.

gto

The Integra came back into service after a couple-week hiatus.  Tait Johnson, better known as “Hon-Man” of Tempe, Arizona, went through the old 1992 GS-R and gave it a real thorough once-over.

gsr

The main service item he addressed was a timing belt & water pump change.  This is a routine maintenance item in most 1990s Honda cars, due every eight (?) years or 90,000 miles.  In the Legend, I routinely hit the mileage limit before the time limit over the years.  Additionally, I had Tait address a couple of suspension/braking concerns and install a new catalytic converter.  Some of you may recall that this car failed emissions last month when I tried getting it registered for the first time here in Arizona.  Now she’s passed with flying colors.

honman

List of completed maintenance items

hon_man_list

Emissions report – success!

emissions_test

And Arizona’s newest resident!  “Action Auto Title,” by the way – shown in the background – is a third-party DMV agent that I’m trying out for the first time.  Do you hate going to the DMV as much as I do?  This place was a breeze!  I was assisted immediately.  The plate was cozy and smelled of a scented candle.  And the rates are only a fraction more expensive than the DMV.   $55 for two year tags – you just can’t beat that.

new_plate

I whizzed out to Tonopah on Saturday in the Legend to get its fluids up and moving.  This car won’t be seeing much action until the National Acura Legend Meet (NALM) in Atlanta this coming September.

coupe_dash

coupe_tonopah

tonopah

I polished tips on both the sedan & the Integra.

tips

Later that evening, I stopped by the weekly “Pavilions” car show in Scottsdale.  My friend Michael was attending in his black 2006 Acura TL that he wanted me to check out.  It’s in great shape for being 10 years old!

michael_tl

tyson_integra

My friend Justin made his arrival from Roseburg, Oregon on Sunday afternoon.  He’s a fellow car nut who I’ve followed on Instagram for some time now.  And for whatever reason, he decided to leave his beautiful, green state and subject himself to summer’s wrath here in Phoenix during the hottest time of the year.

tyson_Justin

His 2010 Audi A3 TDI wagon got him around in style, though.

justin_with_cars

Speaking of Oregonians, congratulations are going out to my buddy Ira in Portland who took delivery of a 2016 TLX in Crystal Black Pearl on Monday.  His new ride is outfitted with the complete Sport Underbody Kit and the accessory wheels.  Instead of a key handoff, his drive-away was accompanied by a (very) “high five.”

ira_high_five

And lastly, I don’t know how my buddy Alex does it, but he has a way with capturing odometer readings.  Check this one out.  Rolling over 95,000 miles, with a 95-degree external temperature, driving 59 miles per hour.

Thanks for sharing, Alex!  I can’t compete with that!

alex_odo

Alaska Road Trip 2016 Begins in 4 Days

Posted in ILX, Legend, Maintenance, Road Trip on May 16, 2016 by tysonhugie

Odometer (Legend Coupe):  543,199

543199

Odometer (Legend Sedan):  150,241

150241

Odometer (ILX):  163,382

163382

It was Saturday, May 6, 2006 when my dad and I departed from Salt Lake City to begin a very long journey.  For months, I had researched and planned a nearly 8,000-mile road trip across North America and ending in Fairbanks, Alaska.  It took us only 4 days to get there.

alaska_route_2016

dawson_creek

A decade has passed, and I’m ready to go back.  The Legend, which had 220,000 miles back then and has 543,000 miles now, will sit this one out.  I’m taking my 2013 ILX.  The pre-work began long ago:  I have a recent copy of the “Milepost” trip planner in hand.  Milepost is known for being the Bible of the Alcan, with detailed turn-by-turn directions.  We relied heavily on the book in ’06 as we were unaided by any sort of GPS or smart phones at that time.  This year, we’ll have some help from technology but I still want to keep the navigation somewhat “old school.”

The fun begins this coming Friday, May 20th.  Joining me for this adventure will be Jason from Las Cruces who is preparing to take his 2004 Mazda 6.  It’s tough (impossible) to know exactly where we’ll be stopping each night because there are so many variables in play.  Just a couple of weeks ago a piece of the Alaska Highway was shut down due to wildfires, and one such fire in Alberta necessitated the evacuation of an entire town of 80,000 people.  Beyond that hazard, there are the inevitable delays due to road construction this time of year, potential weather uncertainty, and general concern of our health and safety.  We don’t want to push our limits on daily distance (even though longer daylight hours up north may tempt us to) so that we can stay alert throughout the trip.

stuff

For some time now, I’ve been compiling a to-take list.  Here’s an excerpt:

  • 3 spare tires.  I have a full size 17″ wheel that matches the existing wheels, plus the donut the car came with, plus an extra tire that I saved the last time I had my new set installed.
  • 4 walkie talkies.  Battery life under constant use is about 1/2 day.  So if Jason and I each carry two and charge them at night, we will have constant communication which is critical especially in areas where cell signal is nonexistent.
  • 1 GoPro camera, 1 Canon Rebel digital SLR camera, and my iPhone for documentation of the trip.
  • 2 iPods (one with about 1,300 songs, and one with over 15,000) plus 3 huge CD cases carrying 64 discs each.
  • Milepost Guide Book editions from 2006 and from 2015 with step-by-step, detailed travel helps.
  • 2 laptop computers:  My personal laptop as well as my work one, so I can check email occasionally as time and Wifi permit.  In the 9 business days I’ll be gone, I anticipate almost 2,000 emails coming in.
  • My “I drove the Alaska Highway. Both Ways, Dammit!” bumper sticker.

Oh, and a valid passport!  When was the last time you took a ROAD TRIP that required one?

passport

This afternoon, the ILX got an oil change at Acura of Tempe with 0W20 oil which should be good to last me for the entire length of the trip without having to have it serviced whilst en route.  The last oil change prior to this was in February, about 7,500 miles ago.  Maintenance minder and trip meter are now reset at 0.00 miles.

tempe_receipt

It might not be this clean when I get back.

post_oil_chang

In an untimely fashion, my credit card was compromised over the weekend so I’m waiting for a new one to arrive (quickly) so I can take it on the trip.  I’ve already alerted the credit card company that I’ll be traveling through 7 states and 4 provinces in case my charging activity looks suspicious (because it will).  Here’s my most “determined” look to pull this trip off without a hitch.

tyson_ready

Couple other news bits:

Anybody already read the article about Victor Sheppard who drove his 2007 Toyota Tundra to a million miles?

Link Here

Toyota is going to dissect his truck!  A shame, I say.  Keep it rolling.

Here’s a photo from Saturday morning in Phoenix while I had the Legend sedan out for a spin.  “Mr. Lucky’s” has been a landmark along Grand Avenue since 1966 when it was built to be Phoenix’s first casino.  That plan didn’t go through, but the place ended up being a nightclub for 40 years.  Today it houses a furniture store but that crazy (creepy?) sign out front still catches everyone’s eye on a daily basis.

mr_luckys_phoenix

The twins were put back away for the next few weeks.

coupe_sedan

sedan_coupe

I got a kick out of this gas station the other day.  “Super Plus 2000:  New Gas for the New Millenium.”  And “millennium” isn’t even spelled correctly.  I wonder if I should tell them that Y2K was 16 years ago.

super_plus_2000_gas

Spare tires for days!

spared

My friend Michael who flew out to buy his new Vigor recently has been really enjoying it.

tulsa_vigor

That shine though!

michael_vig

And a friend sent me this photo of a neighborhood in Paradise Valley, Arizona where I need to look at real estate.

legendary_estates

Until next time!  Not sure when or where that’ll be, but I’ll post whenever I can.

EDIT:  WordPress just told me this was my 555th post since I started Drive to Five.  Gives a whole new meaning to the name, doesn’t it?  Drive on.

Houston, We Don’t Have a Problem: Getting Ready for NALM 2015

Posted in ILX, Legend, Maintenance, NALM on September 20, 2015 by tysonhugie

Odometer (1994 Legend Coupe):  535,330

535330

Odometer (1993 Legend Sedan):  178,352

178352

Odometer (1994 Legend Sedan):  147,051

147051

Combined Legend Miles:  860,733

Now that my fleet of Acu-rides has grown to a half-dozen, one of my readers requested a photo of all the keys in a lineup.  Well, this one’s for you, Sunny!  In order here L to R are 1992 NSX, 1993 Legend sedan, 1994 Legend sedan, 1994 Legend coupe, 1994 Vigor, and 2013 ILX.

keys

It’s that time of year again when the Legend fans of the world (all two dozen of us, ha!) get together at an annual event called the National Acura Legend Meet (NALM).  It’s tradition – even obsession – for some of us to make sure it happens each year.  For 2015, our host city will be at the fourth most populous city in the United States (at a staggering 6.3 million residents in the metro area):  Houston, Texas.  This destination marks a homecoming of sorts, since the inaugural NALM in 2005 was held in Dallas a few hours to the north.

logo

For this voyage, you’ll be joining me for a trip length of 1,178 miles each way, which according to Google Maps should take 16 hours & 24 minutes of drive time.  Get your road snacks ready.

scottsdale_to_houston

This will be my 11th NALM.  The last few years’ events are detailed here:

Here’s a photo of last year’s program in Los Angeles.  I think we had 30-someodd cars in attendance.  Panorama!

nalm2014

A 2,400-mile round trip journey is no small undertaking, so I have to make sure my Legends (2 of the 3, anyhow) are up to the challenge.  For this trip, my 1994 coupe and 1994 sedan will be making the drive.  Thanks in advance to a yet-unnamed friend who will be driving one of the cars on my behalf.  On Saturday morning, I took the Vigor over to swap it out for the 1994 Legend sedan in storage.

vig

vigor_legend

Back at the house, it was nice to start “seeing double” again.  I’ve had the coupe since 2003 and the sedan since 2008.  They were built 5 months apart (9/93 versus 2/94) but they are the same model year, color, and drivetrain.

legends

Let’s take a peek under the hood and check out a few fluid levels.  Here’s the 4-door.

sedan

And here’s the 2-door.  Identical, right?  Only to the untrained eye.  The coupe is missing a sticker on its airbox (Kevin, I know you sent me one – I just haven’t installed it yet!) and has some aftermarket stereo wiring.

coupe

For kicks, the new 1993 sedan.  Some clear differences here.  Let’s ditch that aftermarket air intake soon.

93

The coupe went in for maintenance on Thursday afternoon and received a full inspection and 5W30 oil change at Acura of Tempe.  I added a new page to my 2-binder collection of receipts, and a 257th line to my maintenance spreadsheet on that car.  The technician noted some (known) oil leaks and he said the front tires are “yellow” status so I should probably rotate those on my next oil change.  Otherwise, a clean bill of health and Dana, my service advisor sent me off with “Have a great trip!”  Even she has no doubt the car will get me to TX & back.

receipt

maint_records

We will depart on Wednesday evening.  I’ll post as best I can with regular updates, so come back soon!

I have a few fun high-mileage topics to share with you:

My coworker, Todd, achieved the 320,000 milestone in his Volkswagen Passat this week and sent me a photo. Congrats, Todd!

320

My friend Spencer sent me photos of an Accord his dad took on trade at the family dealership in California.  It’s a 2000 model year with 509,000 miles on it, and the original automatic transmission!  Looks pretty decent for that kind of mileage!

2000_accord_509k

509,000 miles on a 2000 comes out to 33,933 miles per year!

accord_509k

And finally, I’ve reached out to the folks at The Smoking Tire who are on a mission to get to the 1 million milestone on a 1996 Lexus LS400.  Site founder Matt Farah bought the car not long ago with just a little fewer than 900,000 on the odometer.  He’s passing it around to various automotive journalists around the country and letting them help the old Lexus get to 7-digit territory.

I thought this article (and video) about the LS were great.  The article discusses how most often it’s the type of OWNER responsible for achieving high-mile status, rather than the type of car.  Take care of your vehicle and it’ll take care of you!

lex

A couple friends and I took a trip to Bartlett Lake, northeast of Phoenix, yesterday with the ILX.

bartlett_road

A little dirt road didn’t scare me away.

lake2

Perfect weather now that we’ve dipped out of triple-digit temperatures.  Welcome, fall.

lake

Hope you’re enjoying the weekend too!

140,000-Mile Maintenance Cost Comparison: Then & Now

Posted in ILX, Legend, Maintenance on September 2, 2015 by tysonhugie

Odometer (Legend):  534,432

534432

Odometer (ILX):  139,755

139755

A 2013 Acura costs half as much to maintain long-term as a 1993 Acura.  And I can prove it.

ilx_at_dealer

Let’s talk about maintenance costs.  I love to ‘geek out’ about facts & figures, so bear with me here.  My friends and I frequently comment about how owning an old Legend gets pricey – like this recent dialogue with Kevin from Georgia, who I’ll see at NALM in a few weeks:

kevin_text

Well stated, Kevin.  And we love our expensive hobbies like your 1994 LS coupe.  Last Wednesday, I dropped another $250 on maintenance for the ILX.  This got me wondering just how much the car has cost overall to keep on the road since new.  That total is $4651.26.  Considering that it has 139,755 miles on it, the cost-per-mile comes out to 3.3 cents.  Here’s a detailed spreadsheet look at my ILX’s complete maintenance history since new (on June 12, 2012 @ 16 miles on the odometer).

ilx_maint_1

ilx_maint_2

If the ILX has taken $4,650 to get to 140,000 miles, how much did my other cars cost to get there?  Luckily, on 4 of my 6 current Acuras (most of you haven’t ‘met’ the most recent – but you will soon), I have complete records back to brand new.  And for each of those cars, I’ve created an Excel spreadsheet just like the one you’re looking at for the ILX, so it’s an easy calculation.

  • 1992 NSX:  This car only has 101,000 miles on it, but has already cost $16,908.74.  [17 cents per mile]
  • 1993 Legend sedan:  Cost $9,777.44 to get to 140,000 miles.  [7 cents per mile]

64021

120043

136181

  • 1994 Legend coupe:  Cost $7,403.56 to get to 140,000 miles.  [5.3 cents per mile]

69014

129758

139998

Conclusion:  The average cost of getting a 1993-94 Acura Legend from zero miles (brand new) to 140,000 miles was $8,590.  When compared with what the ILX has cost me so far ($4,651), this is a substantial savings – especially considering 20 years of inflation!  Did you know that $8,590 in 1994 dollars is $13,831 in 2015 dollars?!

So why is it that my new car is so cheap to keep on the road?  How can it be that you’ll spend HALF as much getting your new Acura into the 100,000+ mile range today as you would have spent in the 1990’s?  I have a few ideas:

  • Cars are more reliable in general.  Fewer things break.  Contributing factors might be:  Enhanced durability testing techniques, higher quality materials, more rigorous development processes over the last 20 years.
  • Scheduled maintenance intervals are longer.  While my Legend grew up on 3,000-mile oil changes, it’s not uncommon for my ILX to go 3 times that distance thanks to longer-lasting “0W20” synthetic oil.
  • Fewer “major” services.  The Hondacars of yesteryear required strict adherence to a 90,000-mile change interval for timing belt & water pump replacement.  My ILX, on the other hand, has a timing chain, which requires little/no upkeep.  This is a $1,200+ savings for me every 90,000 miles!
  • Improved technology.  Thanks to the many computer systems at work in today’s cars, we leave it to the car to tell us when it needs something, rather than leaving it to a mechanic who may just want extra money.
  • External conditions:  Are roads less likely to put wear and tear on suspensions today than they were 20 years ago?  Am I a more careful driver than my Legends had when they were new?
  • Or is it that the Legend was simply a more complex car than my ILX is (it did have two additional cylinders) and thus was inherently more involved to keep on the road?

There’s so much to consider, but these are just a few ideas that I had.  I know we have a lot of other road warriors in the audience out there.  What do you think?  Are cars of today more economical to maintain than cars of yesterday?

Chew on that while you look at this safari-ready, lifted 1998 Acura SLX that a friend sent me.

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Finally, the Phoenix area has been getting hit hard this week with late-summer “monsoon” thunderstorms.  We had a pretty severe one roll through town on Monday night.

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I was out to dinner with a friend in Old Town Scottsdale when I noticed that every time the restaurant door swung open, people were ducking indoors to seek cover, soaking wet.  The rain outside was coming in sideways and the wind was howling.  Sadly, when I went back out to my car, I saw that a dumpster had rolled into it.

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The pics were taken AFTER I had rolled the dumpster away and folded the dented sideview mirror back out.

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Somehow, miraculously, the mirror took the only impact and the door has zero damage.  The dent mostly popped out and I threw some touch-up paint on it Tuesday.  This will have to do for now!

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Poor car has been through a lot in the last year – I got backed into overnight at a Motel 6 parking lot in Las Vegas, a busted out rear window in Salt Lake City this summer, and now this.  Always an adventure!  Hope everyone is having a good week!

Carfax Reports and Smog Checks

Posted in Blog, ILX, Legend, Maintenance on May 7, 2015 by tysonhugie

Odometer (Legend Coupe):  533,379

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Odometer (Legend Sedan):  146,786

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Odometer (ILX):  124,503

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Some people buy a vehicle as a disposable appliance – a sheer means of transportation to get from A to B.  Others hold their vehicles so near and dear that they’ll rebuild them – twice – after catastrophic collisions.  Where do you fall within that range of car owners?

One of my favorite things to do on rare weekends when I stay in town is to visit the local Ecology “pick & pull” auto junkyard, plunk down $2 for my entry fee, and simply wander around through the aisles of parted-out cars.  I like to eyeball the interiors and look specifically at the gauge clusters to see just how many miles each one traveled before being put to rest in the graveyard.  Occasionally I’ll come across something with fewer than 100,000 miles on it.  Most of the time the odometers are between 200,000 and 300,000.  And every once in awhile, I’ve seen them beyond that – but never anything in the 400’s or 500’s.

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The thing that I wonder about, though, is what kind of story each car would tell if it could talk.  How many of those vehicles have ever had “Just Married” painted on them?  How many were driven by a zealous 16-year-old as his or her first car?  How many ever took a cross-country trip from one coast to the other?  How many of them were ever stolen?  Or, a more somber thought, how many of them became witness to their driver’s death in a collision?

Many people today buy a car without ever having thought of its prior ownership history.  For me, such history is a hugely important part of how “good”  a used car is.  I go crazy for a clean car for sale by its original owner, with a stack of detailed maintenance paperwork, a clean title, and some original floor mats.  Mmmm.  It’s scary to think of buying something without any kind of record.  There are, however, ways to at least know something about where any car’s been.

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Carfax and Autocheck are companies in business to provide that kind of reporting.  Carfax has been around since 1986.  The company has access to 10 billion records from 86,000 sources (motor vehicle departments, auctions, insurance companies, repair facilities, etc).  With just a VIN or a license plate (and a credit card), regular consumers can pull vehicle history reports from those billions of records.  Carfax is certainly not a complete record, and it should only be considered for a used car purchase in combination with other research.

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As I’ve been casually in the market for a 1992-94 Acura Vigor, I grabbed a $45 Carfax account and started running reports on a few prospective cars, including the above pictured beauty (sarcasm).  My account gives me access to UNLIMITED reports by license plate / state, or 5 reports by 17-digit Vehicle Identification Number (VIN).  I had some fun with this.

One Vigor showed record of a whopping 13 owners in its lifetime.  I ran some of my friends’ cars for the heck of it, too.  I also checked out some of my “old” cars to see where they ended up. I was intrigued by the report on my first car:  the 1986 Chevy Celebrity that was my pride and joy from 1997-98.  I laughed the other day when I saw this picture on Instagram because the keys shown there are exactly what the keys to my Celeb looked like (square for the ignition, round for the door & trunk locks – I think).

gm_keys

I know my parents bought the car new in 1986 from Axtell Chevrolet in Logan, Utah.  But the first record on Carfax wasn’t until March 1994 with an odometer reading of 555 miles.  Say what?  Yes.  The odometer on that Celebrity only had 5 digits.  So, by the time the car was only 8 years old, it had already turned over to 00,000 and made any future readings erroneous.  Utah noted that fact on the Celebrity’s report.  The car’s title was branded with “Exceeds Mechanical Limits.”  Can you imagine if my ILX only had a 5-digit odometer?  It would have rolled over once already and it’s a 2-year-old car.

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By the time I got the Celebrity, it had around 194,000 miles on it.  But of course, the odometer read only 94,000.

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That Celebrity dropped off Carfax reporting a decade ago, since the last record was a purchase reported in March 2005.  I’m sure the car has long since been crushed and turned into scrap metal.

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I thought it would be interesting to go ahead and share the detailed Carfax reports for my Legend and for my ILX.  The Legend’s history is tainted so it’s a little unnerving to post it here, but it’s all in the interest of a good history lesson.  Some of you may know that I hit two deer with the Legend in summer 2007.

It took almost six years — until early 2013 — before that insurance claim started showing up on the Carfax report!  My car’s title today is clear.  There are a whopping 77 service records, and oddly enough, Carfax thinks my Legend is actually worth about $2,600 MORE than retail book value!  That means I could price it at about $4,700 since “excellent” condition value is $2,173.

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It took me 11 screen captures to get the full Legend Carfax report.  Here you go!

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Then there’s the ILX.  Clockwork maintenance from Acura of Tempe, and not much else.

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There’s one more Legend record that’ll be showing up soon.  I got a $41.23 oil change on Wednesday with 5W30 synthetic blend oil at Acura of Tempe.  It had been over 6 months since my last service, but only 1,703 miles.  I really hadn’t driven the car much since last fall!  Here’s the latest snapshot from my Excel maintenance record showing service and repair costs since about 512,000 miles.

coupe_maint

The technician did note a number of leaks, including the differential, transmission, driver side inner CV boot, and rear main seal.  This all does come as a bit of a surprise though since my garage floor is squeaky clean and I’ve never noticed a drop in any fluid levels.

Today during lunch, I took my Legend GS sedan for its emissions (“smog”) testing.  The test is required once every two years and it evaluates the levels of pollutants in the exhaust output.  The wait was only about 20 minutes.

emissions_line

Here are the numbers:

  • Hydrocarbons in grams/mile:  .49 (applicable standard = .80)
  • Carbon monoxide in grams/mile:  7.65 (applicable standard = 12)
  • Oxides of nitrogen in grams/mile:  .66 (applicable standard = 2)

It passed, I was issued my certificate for a $20 fee, and I went on my way.  My 2-year renewal registration with the State of Arizona was only $95, and $50 of that was because I have a personalized tag.  It really is a cheap car to hang onto.  I gave the car a bath before putting it back into storage.

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Oops, should have pulled out the vacuum.

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grille

Happy Friday!