Reader Question: The Rental Car Nanny?

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Here’s the latest reader question, along with my reply!

Mark asks: Yesterday I drove a rented Elantra from Charlotte up to Harrisonburg, Va. It’s a five hour ride. After about three and a half hours I noticed a “message” pop up on the dash screen. It said: “Consider taking a break” and had an image of a steaming cup of coffee. Message: You’re too stupid to know how to take care of yourself so the state will mandate “nudges” in the right direction. I also noticed that Enterprise offers renters the “opportunity” to pay an additional $1.25 to save the planet from climate change! Anyone with a brain can see where this is going. Sure, you can drive a vehicle that’s not on the “approved” list but you’ll have to pay a special fee to do so since you’re so selfish you don’t want to save the planet.

My reply: I’m way ahead of you, Mark! Because I get exposed to the “latest” stuff first – as a guy who gets to test drive the latest stuff before it becomes generally available. I agree; it’s insufferable. And increasingly unavoidable. Almost all nee cars have these “latest” features; they are usually standard, too. Even when not mandated. For sssssssssssssssssssaaaaaaaaaaafety!

It’s become a cult. One created by technocrats – like Elon Musk – who see themselves as managers… of us. Using technology.

Which they intend to force on us. Using laws and social pressure applied to what remains of the private sector. One can almost feel – and sometimes, actually feel – the pincers closing in. The last redoubt will be older vehicles which many of us will “cling” to… which the technocrats will then attempt to pry from us using shibboleths about  ssssssssssssssssssafety and “climate change.”

Get ready. It’s not just coming. It’s almost here.

. . .

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19 COMMENTS

  1. I’d sure like to have onna them nanny pickups in the pasture. I’m sure it would “see” that 16″ tall stump and not run into it. You could use 3/8″ plate from bumper to bumper and be bulletproof….nearly. Or you could just drive around big stuff.

    The neighbor who makes a turdload of money bought a Ford F250 diesel 4WD with every option you can imagine, even an electric locking rear diff. No doubt it was a $75,000 pickup. He doesn’t drive it on our dirt road after a rain. A real “workhorse”. He did hook up a small utility trailer to it. I was aghast. Next thing you know he might be in a situation where he needs that locking rear diff……but not if he can help it.

    We drove across the dry creek and over a tank dam behind the house to varmint hunt. Man, that old 89 Suburban is a hoss!!!

    • Hi Eight! It always cracks me up when I see the suburban soccer moms in their giant SUVs practically coming to a stop when going over a speed bump (not to mention pissing me off if I’m behind them). I guess their inner Walter Mitty imagines they’re driving through the Outback.

      • Mike, I have some women driver stories that would have you ROTFLYAO. One old college buddy had a 4X4 in the bay for the Blazer the wife drove. He was trying to keep her out of the house.

        Right before I had back surgery the wife was driving and I was in great pain. She kept coming up on slow traffic with a clear shot for 2 miles and the oncoming car was just a speck. I got mad enough I stepped on her foot on the go pedal and she had to pull out and go around it as the transmission dropped a gear. Oh, she was livid. I was too. And we had 200 miles to go. I finally downed a couple valium just to keep some sanity and tried not to watch.

    • Our 91 Burban is a tank. We don’t drive it much anymore, but when the snow gets really deep I go plow it with the bumper and break trail.

        • Yep, 1991 was the last year of the solid axle square bodies.

          It’s basically the same as a 1973 with a few minor upgrades (fuel injection and overdrive), which is why I don’t want to sell it unless and until I can buy a surviving K-20 or k-30 pickup.

          • Anon, I’d keep it too. Last year of a very simple vehicle with the good ol TBI. Used to know of 3 pickups(89, 93, 93)that had over half a million miles on the engine and 2 transmission. The weird thing was the new transmissions from GM were better than the original but I guess that’s not weird since they should get better in the future.

            • Everyone says the 700r4 is not as good as the TH350 but it seems better to me. Maybe I just don’t use a 4×4 as hard as I did when I was younger and could hardly get an A/T past 60K miles. It was a family car so I did not go try to get it stuck every weekend but we did tow our camper trailer with it. Anyway, the Suburban is not so much use anymore and now I wish it was a pickup. You can always use a pickup, or another pickup! Funny, my 89 wood truck is a GMT400 but I wish it was a solid axle square body k20 or k30 and that we had a really nice K1500/2500 with a little camper for a road truck. Just can’t please me, I guess ….

            • The open knuckle solid axle 4wds turn so much tighter than the IFS 4wds. It’s probably not so much problem on the Texas prairie but up in the woods it’s a real pain. You learn to backup a lot.

              • Anon, it’s easy enough to get in a bind in the pasture, esp with an x cab and long bed. I never noticed the turning radius being bad. I have noticed the X cab long bed Ford having such sorry CV joints it grinds out spots on a non-paved road when turned full lock. Actually, it brings up a big swell of dirt/rock just in turning. Oh the great twin I beam. What more could you want?

                I just read up on transmissions in the last 2 days or less. The 700 Should be a better transmission than the 350 since it’s rated for a heavier vehicle and more power.

                Of course you can one built up like a 375 or better if you have more than 350 hp. I had well over that in the ELCO.

                • Well I sure notice when I am making a circle to park in the turnaround at the end of my drive. The 89 pickup can barely make a “question mark” turn to park sidehill in front of the garage, while the Suburban (newer year but older style) will make a tight 180 right back into where I park it down by the old camper trailer. Actually the suburban will turn about as tight as the little bitty FWD car – which I am always misjudging and have to back up. I get spoiled driving the jeep which will almost spin in place 🙂

                  • Larger wheels and tires make your turning radius larger too. I don’t care since the trade-off is all good.

                    Going from 235/85/16’s to 265/75/16’s made it handle like a race car in comparison to the smaller tires and wheels…..made it ride a lot better too.

              • BTW, the Texas prairie is fairly much solid trees except for plowed ground. The desert is not trees but it’s not prairie like we have. Prairie fairly end around Big Spring on I 20 and becomes desert.

                Here in the rolling plains it was once just rolling hills and grasses with the occasional cottonwood tree. That was pre-Spanish who brought the damned mesquit and cedar. Well, it is crawling with lots of wildlife it didn’t have before.

                I live in the “shinery” which is a the old river bed that winds down from Canadian, Texas and goes to about Mc Gregor. It’s sand and has different plants and animals(or used to wildlifewise)than the rest of the prairie. We actually have oak of a couple types here but not to either side.

                • Sorry, it was getting dark just about the time we turned right at Eden, and we drove through to a rest area on 84 between Sweetwater and Lubbock, where we woke up to the sunrise. So we didn’t see much of your countryside. Damn, that was 30 years ago!

                  • Coming from Eden you didn’t get into the Rolling Plains till you got to Sweetwater for the most part. Once you get to Post you’re on the panhandle and it’s a bleak farming country. There are ring-necked pheasant there and not much else besides antelope.

                  • Okay, somehow I thought you were somewhere around Ballinger/Bronte. It was all flat around that rest area where we woke up, and I think Post was the next town. We were headed home to CO and stopping to see some long lost relatives in Lubbock. Once the twins went to sleep in the cab, it was a good time for mom & dad to make some miles in peace and quiet.

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