My van, a 1995 GMC Safari, is getting to the age where every breakdown is expensive and makes me wonder if I should just get rid of it. Two months ago I took it in for an oil change and tire rotation, (at WheelWorks) and was told I needed new "struts." $800 later it drove pretty smooth.
A few weeks ago it overheated on the freeway and when I got it in to have it checked out at the dealer, I was told it had a hole in the radiator. $1200 later I had a new radiator and new hoses.
I have driven it twice since, and both times experienced an odd total loss of power.
The first was in a parking lot. No stress. The van just shut down. I put it in park, turned the key and it was up and running just fine.
Today I was driving to Santa Cruz, on the freeway, about six miles from home, in the slow lane, and it just lost power and shut off. I was able to coast to a stop in a safe turn out. Once again it started right up with no problem. Since I was almost to where I was going, I finished my errand and drove back over "the hill" and got it to the dealer's service department again. Traffic was light, and I stayed in the slow lane ready to coast off if I had to.
Although they usually don't give courtesy rides up to where I live I played the good customer card and told them I had no other way to get home. (It was noon and I would have had to wait until about six for Craig to pick me up.)
It seems they have no idea what the problem is. The service writer just called and said they took it out and couldn't get it to fail again. They are going to keep it and try again tomorrow after it sits overnight.
If they can't find the problem, I'm going to avoid driving it any more than necessary.
I guess it's just old. It is handy to have a van for hauling things and towing the rented wood splitter once a year, but if we decide to get rid of it I don't want another one.
I would much rather have something that can become our "Toad!"
The hill: I live in the Santa Cruz Mountains, California. My mountain is not very tall, only 1808 feet at the summit. On one side is the ocean and the town of Santa Cruz. On the other is the Santa Clara Valley, and the city of San Jose. People who live around here refer to going from San Jose to Santa Cruz, as going "over the hill." Or if you live up in the mountains you live "on the hill."