A 2003 Explorer, top, doesn't have the amenities a newer one does. (Detroit News Photo Illustration)
Darn, I almost made it.
I was hoping to soon turn over 200,000 miles on my 2003 Ford Explorer, but at 199,600 miles the check engine light came on and flashed ďO/D Off.Ē
O/D stands for overdrive, which apparently helps when youíre hauling a trailer or RV, and it can be turned on or off with a button on your gear shift knob.
I pushed the button on and off several times but the light never went off. However, the flashing light did disappear once I restarted the engine.
A search on Google about what the flashing light meant: Bad news was probably lurking just around the corner.
A computer check at the dealership showed that I was facing pending transmission problems. The tranny was still working, but according to them, it would go out sooner or later.
A new one would run about $2,800, which begs the question faced at one time or another by many of us: Do I replace the transmission on a 10-year-old vehicle or look for a new one?
On the plus side, I really like my Ford Explorer. After all this time, thereís not a squeak or a rattle, and itís rust free. It has (as of October) brand new tires, a new alternator, new radio/cd/iPod player and a rear-view camera safety system.
Itís been very reliable, plus itís really nice that I havenít had a car payment for about eight years now.
On the negative side, it does have 200,000 miles on it, and you donít need a Ouija board to know that sooner or later, something else is going to go wrong at this stage of the game.
Iíve been looking at newer used Explorers and I have to admit, the new technology is amazing.
I saw one the other night that had voice activated GPS, AM/FM/satellite/CD/iPod radio and dual temperature controls.
It also had a rear-view camera with really big video screen, remote start and a power lift hatch. It also got better gas mileage.
Very seductive, but Iím looking at a price tag vectoring in on $30,000 and five years of car payments.
So Iím seeking advice from you, my savvy readers: What would you do? Roll the dice and fix the current problem for a lesser amount or eat a new $30,000 loan but drive confidently into the future in a high-tech steed with bells, whistles and better gas mileage.
I await your sage advice with bait on my breath.