God willing, by this time next week the 2006 Jeep Cherokee that has been haunting my daily existence for the past three years will be out of my life. It’s challenging to overstate how much I hate this rolling piece of garbage on four wheels, which may or may not have pressure sensitivity issues. But more on that in a moment….
From the exterior, it appears to be pretty nice ride. And therein lies the genius and perversity that has plagued American-made vehicles in the past – sure, they look nice, but for those demanding customers that want more than good looks from their motorized transportation (functional head-lights at night, right-hand turn signals that can be turned off… things like that), they are SOL.
As my Cherokee torment has mounted, I’ve become more vocal about my antipathy towards Jeeps, Lee Iacocca, and vehicular adornments that read, “It’s a Jeep thing, you wouldn’t understand.” Oh… I understand just fine.
But a few people have informed me of their undying devotion to their Cherokees. Best cars they’ve ever owned… Part of the family… Loved them more than my yellow lab, Cletis… To these individuals, let me just say with teeth clenched…. “I…. am… happy… for…. you.”
Below is some Spanish that outlines just a small sampling of why I hate my Cherokee so….
From the day we drove off the lot, we heard a small whiffling sound coming from the driver’s side window. It was wind. Above 40 mph, you could clearly hear, and be annoyed by, wind entering between the glass and the door frame. Two visits to the dealer determined in a very George Costanza like way, “It’s not us… it’s you.”
It’s only gotten worse with time. Mrs. Red Angle had to physically restrain me from applying a fat bead of silicone to the window frame. I’m glad she did because of this next issue….
This past summer I received a call from said Mrs. Red Angle; She was 6-months pregnant. “The A/C is out. It’s blowing really hot air in my face and it’s 96 out. It’s probably not good for the baby….”
Nope, probably not.
Three mechanic visits later, we triangulated a few facts:
- The replacement part needed was only about $100. Excelente!
- It could be replaced in one working day. Excelente!
- It would take 8 hours and 2 guys to get it done in one day. And because these mechanics apparently went to law school, their labor rate was pushing $100/hour. Ay, cabrón!
The consensus: The design of the Cherokee’s Clock/Audio/Temperature dashboard is so poor that gaining access to the busted flame-thrower was akin to deconstructing the engine block.
LUCES EN LA NOCHE
(LOOH-says ayn lah NOH-chay)
lights at night
After losing 8 pounds driving around in the wicked heat all summer, my Carrie-like Cherokee delivered another creative way to kill me. When driving at night, the headlights would just turn off. Just like that. I’d be barreling down I-90 at 75 mph and my headlights would go off.
“Why’s it so dark, Daddy?”
Oh, because I’m driving blind here, recklessly endangering you, me, and everyone else on the road, son.
Two more trips to the Jeep dealer to resolve (temporarily, I’m sure) this defect.
LA PRESIÓN DE LAS LLANTAS
(pray-SYOHN day lahs YAHN-tahs)
The tire pressure light goes on a few times a year. We’ve had it inspected several times (the upside of having a mechanic shop as your 2nd garage is that it’s easy to investigate new & exciting maladies) and the response has been the same: “The tires are fine. We don’t know why the light is on. Just ignore it. It’ll probably shut off soon.” And it does.
Given the plethora of issues, I’ve simply become de-sensitized by answers like these. All things considered, this finding constitutes a Cherokee Victory.
Two weeks ago the right-hand turn signal began staying on after a turn was completed. In a typical car, the release of the steering wheel following a successful turn also releases the turn-signal and its incessant tick-tocking.
My right-hand turn signal is now on 100% of the time, except for when I’m turning left. Then I get a much-needed break from the right tick-tock and get to hear the soothing percussion of the left-hand turn signal.
Nevermind. They are the same. And they are driving me crazy. Literally.
Every now & then it will momentarily stop following a turn. I become insanely happy. I scream out in joy and pound the steering wheel in happiness. And then it returns. I inevitably say The Eff Word very loudly.
And then I return to driving like a 90-year-old, with the turn-signal on at all times, informing all other drivers that I plan to turn somewhere… sometime.
Vaya con Díos, Cherokee.
Bradley Hartmann is founder and el presidente at Red Angle (www.redanglespanish.com), a Spanish language training firm focused on the construction industry. He’s doesn’t like his Jeep Cherokee.
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