Saturday, January 16, 2010

Get a Fourth Opinion...

I was at a local bagel joint this morning with the Mrs. and couldn't help but overhear an interesting conversation.

Three guys at the next table over were attempting to explain to the woman seated with them the intricacies of her vehicle. She asked a very simple question about four-wheel-drive, and got three completely different (and totally inaccurate) answers from her three table-mates.

One guy insisted that the vehicle should be in four wheel drive all the time when she was driving on the freeway. Huh? Yeah, sure, throw that puppy in four-by while you're tooling down the interstate. I just hope you don't mind seeing smoke pouring out of your transfer case, if you have a transfer case left that is. I think maybe he had four wheel drive confused with overdrive, but I can't be sure.

The second fellow told her confidently that the "4-D" light on her dashboard was there to tell her when she needed to turn on four wheel drive. I'm sorry, but I just have no come-back for that one.

Last but not least was the old fart at the table. He got off to a good start when he told her to down shift to 3 or 2 when she was going up or down a steep hill. Okay. We're good so far. Then he told her she should use the auto-stick feature of her car for everyday driving. "Don't use the automatic, I call them WOMEN gears!" he bellowed. Oh for fuck's sake! Why would you even buy a car with an automatic transmission if you're going to shift it manually all the time? The auto-stick is great for twisty roads where you want the transmission in a certain gear at certain times, but on the freeway? Come on now.

So after the "boys" finished telling the "little lady" how to drive her car, and the lady could get a word in edgewise, she finally managed to make them understand that her car was not "FOUR wheel drive", but "ALL wheel drive".

She pointed out the section in the owner guide that showed the 4-D light on her dash meant the all wheel drive system was in a four wheel drive mode, and should only be used to get out of situations where the four wheels have uneven traction. It sounded from her description more like a traction control system than a four wheel drive.

Hopefully she doesn't take their advice unless she can afford a new drivetrain...


Melissa said...

Wow. I know nothing about cars, and really don't care about them. But even before I started driving, I could have told you how screwed up that was.

Front Porch Society said...

That poor woman! Hopefully she gets it figured out - maybe she should have asked her dealership instead of those men.

Moose said...

At the risk of coming off like a feminazi -- well, I wasn't there, but if she knew enough to know that 4WD is not AWD (and, believe me, many people don't understand this, no matter the gender), she probably (hopefully) knows enough not to take their advice. You are probably right about what her "4WD" really is. Some vehicles (like my craptastic late-90s pseudo-suv-truck) have what claims to be a "Automagic 4WD When You Need It" which claims to go into "4WD Mode" if it senses wheels trying to do drastically different things. The only thing I can say for it is that it did help me stabilize after a black-ice spin-out better than any other vehicle I've ever driven.

As for the Men Are Experts: is one of my favorite articles about how *some* men just have to explain things to women, because gee, we just can't figure anything out on our own.

I'm not at all saying you are one of these men. I'm just saying that this is something women get to deal with all the time. You get it professionally, you get it socially, and you get it when trying to do business - like, say, at the mechanic. After a while you learn to do your own research.