Winterize, winterize, let no little leak evade your eyes…

There are several things that I love about my car. It’s a 2013 Chevrolet Cruze, it’s nicknamed “Dracourage” as a portmanteau of “dragon” and “courage,” it gets great gas mileage, it’s dependable, and it does exactly what I need it to do.

Call me Dracourage.

But there’s one thing about Dracourage that always concerns me.


In the past two years, Dracourage has developed problems with oil hose leaks. Those oil hose leaks will cause the engine to overheat – especially in winter – and I’m stranded on the side of the road with a steaming engine, waiting for AAA to take me to the body shop and for the body shop to clean out my wallet like I’m Cavity Sam.

In the past, the big notification that something was leaking would be that the car would take an inordinate amount of time to reach an internal comfortable temperature. That was a sign that the oil was leaking out and not reaching its proper destinations.

And during the recent cold snap, it did take longer for the car to warm up than usual.

Oh, crap. Don’t tell me I have another oil leak.

I scheduled an appointment with DePaula Chevrolet, my body shop of choice, and yesterday morning I brought my Chevy, nice and early, in for winterization. You know, make sure all the tires are good, make sure all the fluids are good, and go over the car with Chevrolet’s 4,000 points of inspection.

Sure enough, 45 minutes later, the mechanic gave me the grim news.

“Mr. Miller, you have an oil leak.”

“Is it somewhere that’s an easy fix?”

“Not on cars like this. They tucked it in pretty tightly. If you leave the car here, I can get it fixed by the end of the day.”

Okay. Better the end of the day than leave it there for two weeks.

But at that moment, the mechanic said something to me that made my wallet smile.

“You caught this early. It should be covered under your extended warranty.”


In June 2016, when I purchased Dracourage at DePaula Chevrolet, the car was classified as “Certified Pre-Owned.” That meant that I received a standard warranty upon purchase, and that I could purchase an extended warranty from a company called Zurich, who worked with DePaula Chevrolet. That extended warranty was good until June 2024, or until Dracourage reached 100,000 miles on the odometer.

My odometer just passed 88,000. Whew.

What would have normally been a $1,150 repair job, only cost me my $200 deductible. Woo hoo!

Plus, catching this before it caused damage to my engine meant that I wouldn’t get stuck without a car for three days. That, and a big chunk of money out of my wallet.

Blog readers, this is how you buy an extended warranty. You buy it at the dealership. You don’t buy it when someone calls you on the phone, mispronounces your name, and charges you $5,000 for a plan that requires a co-pay on a windshield wiper blade. Pfft.

Got Dracourage back last night. Car still drives as clean and as quick as it did on that day, four and a half years ago, when I drove it off the DePaula lot for the first time.

And as I drove it home, I thought to myself … I’ve had this car for four and a half years. It’s now my second-longest owned car, surpassing the 2006 Chevrolet Cobalt (the “Blackbird”) and the 2005 Saturn Ion (“Cardachrome”). And if it lasts for another year and a half, it will surpass my first-ever car, the 1991 Pontiac 6000 that I acquired from my sainted Grandma Betty.

But the main thing is … now let’s get through winter.

No leaks, Dracourage.

Just miles. Lots and lots of miles.