10 April 2006

Banks... and Cars

First, the bank situation. I've asked around for others' experiences with Washington Mutual, and my doctor agrees - it is a bad bank that scams its customers to make up for its "fee-free" checking. Since the choices out there among major banks are not great, I will probably look at ethnic banks and see what they offer. My mother is suggesting one of the several Korean banks here in Southern California, for their "monthly installment savings" accounts; while it's a good idea on paper, I am in no mood to support institutions from such a politically tainted, reactionary community, especially when I fully know that they will put up a huge fuss once it's time to resume using my proper name.

Now, my car. People have talked me out of getting rid of my Ford immediately. However, I decided that I will no longer pay insurance or registration for it. That will give me until October, when insurance and registration run out, to dispose of it. Hopefully, my expense should be limited to gasoline, and maybe an oil change. Because the car will never pass emissions again, most likely it will be auctioned off to a junkyard. In any case, that's retirement after only 7 1/2 years and 125,000 miles, which is utterly unacceptable, especially here in Southern California, where Honda and Toyota have set the bar at 15 years and 200,000 miles minimum. Once my Ford is gone, I will live off of the leased BMW, until I buy another vehicle.

It has been a very troublesome ownership experience since I bought the vehicle new in 1999. As soon as I bought it, I noticed white flakes in the exhaust, which signals combustion problems. As the miles started to add up, I started losing several systems, one by one: ignition, exhaust (3 times), manual transmission, and electrical (especially anything on the steering column, including horn and cruise control). I was left stranded on a San Diego freeway because of the ignition problem, which a dealership used to take me to the cleaners - and ruin the exhaust in the process, by adding water to the fuel tank. Needless to say, I've soured on Ford and its dealerships. And the owner groups too, which were full of far-right ideologues and of absolutely no help. Blame the rampant unionism at Ford (and GM) all you want, but most, if not all, of the problems with my car were design flaws. Ford tried to sell a crappy European car in America and pass it off as a BMW fighter, and I've been had.

It also didn't help that I had several wrecks with my car, all except one caused by other careless drivers beyond my control. This car had a way of getting rear-ended at a red light often.

Ford's right-wing connections (which makes it the Coors Brewing Company of the automotive world, when combined with the purported LGBT-friendliness) only rubbed salt into the wound; that alone rules out buying any more Fords. The same holds true of other "LGBT-friendly" right-wing companies like Toyota. Of course, companies beholden to reactionary ethnic communities, like Hyundai, can forget about my business.