The Auto-niversary

Three years ago, I acquired a 2006 Chevrolet Cobalt SS.  The car, later nicknamed “The Blackbird,” has been my prime automotive chariot ever since.

I’ve already eclipsed 100,000 miles on the odometer, and I’ve maintained all the car’s necessary maintenance – oil, tires, shocks, brake pads, etc.

Now, as I complete my third year of ownership of this General Motors supercar…

It’s time for the big overhaul.

And on Black Friday, while everybody else was shivering outside of department stores and waiting for sales on $100 flatscreens…

I was parked in front of DePaula Chevrolet, waiting for the company’s big white garage doors to open.

See, once a car reaches that 100,000 mile race tape, some things must be updated and upgraded and fine-tuned and replaced.  My shopping list for the Blackbird included, but was not limited to:

  • Cleaning the fuel service – or, as DePaula calls it, “Using specialized equipment, our technicians will quickly and effectively clean intake manifold, ports, intake valves and combustion chamber, install injector cleaning additive in tank, this service may restore lost poewr, performance and will reduce harmful exhaust emissions.”
  • Replacing the transmission fluids – or, as DePaula calls it, “Using the latest in state-of-the-art technology, we will install a afe and effective cleaner to suspend harmful varnish and sludge from the transmission valve body, torque converter and lines, install new high-tech fluid with conditioners.”
  • Checking the coolant – or, as DePaula calls it, “Flush cooling system, pressure test, check hoses, cap and connections, install BG Cooling System Corrosion Control Kit.”
  • Rotating the tires – or, as DePaula calls it, “Rotating the tires.”

As I waited for the Blackbird to get its services, I discovered that DePaula Chevrolet had updated its lounge area – which was now complete with flatscreen televisions, comfortable lounge chairs, free Wi-Fi, hot coffee and Coccadott’s cupcakes and candy.  Woah.

A little relax time, and next thing I know, the service tech at DePaula alerts me to something on the Blackbird that needs attention.  Apparently my front swaybars are loose, to the point where if I hit a pothole, I could crack the swaybars and then my front alignment would be mangled.  “I have to say this,” the tech Derek said to me.  “Have you had these swaybars replaced?”

“Never,” I said.  “I think they’re original to the vehicle.”

“Then you must be in the 5% of all Chevy owners around here,” he said to me, “because most swaybars get replaced every 50,000 miles or so, these have held up pretty well but they do need replacing.”


A few more hours waiting at the station.  Well, better Black Friday here than Black Friday at the shopping centers, I guess.  Plus, I ran into one of my TU blogreaders, Deb Marks, and we had a good conversation about life and everything.  Ah, time passes…

And finally, it was time to pay for the maintenance and repairs.

“So, Mr. Miller, I see you have a 2005 Saturn Ion in our computer…”

Really?  After all this time… and after I’ve mentioned to DePaula on more than one occasion that my beloved Cardachrome is now in chunks and scraps in an undisclosed junkyard…

“You have 50 loyalty points to this car, would you like to combine it with the 100 loyalty points you’ve earned on your 2006 Chevrolet Cobalt SS, and we can take those points off your repair bill.”

Well… er… um…

And in that moment, I had this image of a wrinkled, notarized document that said…

“I, the Saturn Ion sedan nicknamed Cardachrome, as part of my Last Will and Testament, do solemnly bequeath and distribute to my beloved former owner, Chuck Miller, my entire estate, including the sum of fifty (50) loyalty points to use at DePaula Chevrolet, with location at 785 Central Avenue, City of Albany, State of New York, to be used at his discretion and redemption, as per stirpes.  Signed with the tire print listed below.”


And in the end, the Blackbird is back on the road, ready to travel to who knows where and who knows how far.

That’s the most important thing.  Last thing I need is to get stuck somewhere.  Preventive maintenance, you know…