Drive train demons


I’m not saying that our pickup truck is definitely possessed by a demon, but I also cannot say definitively that it is not.

We have owned a certain brand of pickup truck throughout our adult lives. We are nothing if not brand loyal. Two of the three of these vehicles were driven for 20 years and quite nearly 300,000 miles respectively. That is not a typo. 300,000 miles.

Notice I said two out of the three? That is because one of these trucks is not like the others. This one, the newest, lowest mileage and not, unironically, the MOST EXPENSIVE VEHICLE WE HAVE EVER OWNED is, in fact, possessed by the devil. Or something.


Two months ago, it just decided that it would not go into any forward gear. You could, of course, go anywhere you wanted in reverse. That, however, did seem limiting.

Sure, Mr. Wonderful was willing to give traveling backwards from Pennsylvania to Ohio entirely in reverse a go but I, the ultimate buzzkill, said no. I am known for stealing all the joy.

It was dutifully delivered to a nearby dealership. We were then informed that a simple part that is known to fail in all of their vehicles had, in fact, failed. Talk about planned obsolescence.

In failing, that part destroyed the entire transmission. This isn’t my opinion. This is a fact. There are class action suits over this. I’m sure knowing that sometime in the future we will all get a check for 15 cents will be quite a comfort.

The mechanic who, after all, didn’t build the truck, he just works there, felt “real bad about it,” but it was not under recall. It would be about $7,000 to repair — on a truck that is only a few years old. Again, not a typo. $7,000 dollars on a known issue spanning a decade of vehicles and they simply shrug and say “sorry.” I have never been so disappointed.

I was given a corporate number to call, and I did so. They took a week to get back to me with the sentiment that they were “so sorry” and the offer of a whopping 10% discount on the repair. They also cheerfully offered us “reward points” — not on the repair, but if we wished to purchase a brand new vehicle instead.

Nothing takes the sting out of your nearly new truck being decimated by a manufacturer defect quite like a free can koozie and a promotional keyring, am I right?

I am telling you we used to wax rhapsodic and sing the praises of this brand. We brought our firstborn home from the hospital in the exact same truck he would learn to drive in 16 years — and endless miles and DIY projects — later. To say we were committed would be an understatement.

I tried to cheat on the brand once. I drove a competing brand of truck for 13 months until I couldn’t take it anymore and let it go. We were just deeply, unequivocally loyal.

It took two months to have the repair completed. At times I completely forgot we even owned a truck. Other times I took some perverse joy in saying “Oh if ONLY we had a truck …”

Clearly, I am a delight.

The truck did finally return to us. It is amazing how well something works in all gears if you throw enough money at it. I was mad at it but also it was nice to have a truck again.


One week later a car slipped out of park and rolled backwards right into it. You really cannot make this stuff up. Fortunately it was a pretty small car — and it’s a fair sized truck with a big ol’ bumper. The car definitely got the short end of that stick, which is fitting since the car clearly started it.

Still we just rolled our eyes.

Today, as I type, Mr. Wonderful has sent me a message with a photo attached. He said “has anyone else driven my truck?” The attached photo shows the truck with a huge dent in the tailgate. We are two grown adults. The answer is no. No one else drives it.

Anyone who knows me knows that if I had been present when that happened Mr. Wonderful — and everyone else — would have heard ALL ABOUT IT.

How did this happen? Tree limb? Trailer? A particularly heavy bird crash landed? Nothing.

This leads us back to the only possible explanation: gremlins. See also: demons.

I am now in my “they just don’t make things like they used to” era. All I know is that if the warranty doesn’t cover obvious drive train issues, I just know they are going to wiggle out of demon and gremlin repair coverage too.


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