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Old 14th November 2009, 01:37   #1
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Default Old Faithful - My 1998 Mazda 626 LX (January 2008 - April 2009)

Before it all happened

One pleasant evening in March 2007, and I was standing with my luggage in Newark Liberty airport, with my buddy/colleague Sandipan by my side.

'Get a cab - should we?'
'Absolutely!'

one cab ride, 45 minutes and hundreds of car sightings later when I reached the designated hotel I had learnt my first truth in US - this country runs on cars!


Ominous signs

3 months later

'Shifting to an apartment eh - amigo?' - Boris, the Uruguayan hotel shuttle driver asked me.
'Ya, one in Gateways at Randolph'
'Get a car amigo - as long you are in this hotel you have my shuttle, but there is only 1 hourly bus service from 8 to 5, that too on weekdays, from your new home to office'
'@#$% ) - hope the driving learners permit I got couple of days back helps!'


Ground reality

'Hurry up or we are gonna miss the bus' sandy screams.
'I am trying'
We ran for our dear lives - it was a nice summer morning in July - with a not so nice dot on time bus whizzing by as we stare.

'What the @#$% man - again we gotta ask someone to give us a ride - damn - the next bus passes an hour later'
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Old 14th November 2009, 01:44   #2
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Please post the next installment too i.e. waiting for the complete ownership review
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Old 14th November 2009, 01:45   #3
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Preparation time

Day 1 - 'First you should learn hands over hand - never lock your hands while on the steering' - George explained to me in his El Salvadorian accented English while I adjusted my grip over the almost new Honda Civic's steering - (not bad for a training car huh!).

Day 2 - 'Always check your blind spots before you switch lanes' - George calmly instructed me while we other cars whizzed past us on I 287.

Day 3 - '....and you made it. Nice parallel parking amigo - you are ready for the test' - jumped George in an empty school parking lot.

Day 4 - '..So do I pass?' - I ask ansxiously
'absolutely sir - just take care while you back up - you were a bit too fast' - the DMV inspector replied as she tore a pink sheet and handed it over to me (believe me people - never have anyone had so much fun while being given a 'pink slip')

Singh is King
Proudly flaunting my drivers license I enter office driving a navy blue civic (oh well - its the training car, and the license is a 6 point provisional auto license)

'All the best my friend - drive safe' - and George drove into the horizon with his blue civic.


Hired Horses

Tried my hand on driving a 2006 dodge intrepid (LOONG car), 2007 Nissan Sentra (great car - had this with only 50 miles on the odo and toured 500+ miles over tristate area in 2007 Christmas), 2002 Nissan Altima (senior colleague's car - drove it whenever I got the chance) - but the bus remained our primary means of communication to office. (and in the meanwhile Sandy had found out some time to learn driving and get a license)

The eventful evening
'Damn that bus - its never late' - Sandy mutters
'hmm..' - I cannot even say anything

date: early January, 2008
time: 5.30 PM
weather: -18 degrees F (-28 Degrees C) windchill, with winds blowing @ 10-15 mph.

We shiver, wearing woolen inners, a sweater, a leather jacket and gloves. We shiver.

'Damn it - I am gonna get a car in a week' - I silently promise to myself

Rain starts - and along it comes sleet.

The bus comes a good 20 minutes later.


Atlantic City - nah, I've bee there once

Next weekend: 11 January 2008

'Comon - we have got a almost new SUV - it would be fun driving' - Sandy screams

'No man - gotta catch up to some work this weekend. And anyways - its a KIA Rondo for Christs sake - not a Hummer!'

And just like that - I give my what would have been second Atlantic City tour - a pass.

I've got bigger plans - my own car.

Last edited by Dippy : 20th November 2009 at 09:13. Reason: Back to back posts
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Old 14th November 2009, 21:56   #4
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Ray of hope

While friends are busy merry making at Atlantic city, I browse through various ads on craigslist. Honda and Toyota are almost impossible to find, and if found, have a ridiculous price tag for a high mileage car. So is Nissan - and both colleagues in my apartment has a Nissan each (so effectively its no Nissan!).
European cars..hmm. Too costly on maintenance.
Thus went Friday and Saturday.
Suddenly on Sunday one ad struck my eye - it was a 1998 Mazda 626 done 81000 Miles (yes 81K miles=130k kms), and demanded a reasonable amount for the same.

Called up the dealer - He's located just 10 minutes from my home. Fix an appointment for evening.
Called up my colleague - he's ready to give me a ride to the dealer.

Its just 11 AM.
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Old 14th November 2009, 22:23   #5
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Love at first sight

Around 4 PM, we get to the dealers place (and I am carrying my checkbook) - Route 10 Mitsubishi.
The sales guy comes out and greets us. After a couple of minutes of smalltalk and meeting his manager, we go out to check on the car.

She was green - and could make others green with envy with the condition she was in after running 81000 miles in 10 years (very less - around 8000 miles a year)

The sales person gave us a guided look around - everything was in working condition, except the interior light switch(a tad loose).

specs time - we checked on her specs and the sales guy had the numbers on his lips before we asked (So no Indian dealership type - here he was selling me a 10 year old car which is not of the company of the showroom - and still he was eager to give me any stat I want!)

The stats - 2.0 L Inline 4 engine delivering 125 hp.
It was an LX model, and had a fully automatic sunroof.
Mirrors are electrically controlled - but not retractable at all! (Imagine that in India)
The upholstery and dash are beige - (does it sound like my i10?)
Wheels - 15" Mazda OEM
Tires - 205/60R15 Cooper Touring lifeliner (almost new tires)
Security - ABS + Front airbags. Factory fitted remote lock with burglar alarm.

And just like that - we decided that we should test drive this car. I liked it too much to give it a pass.

The sales man fitted temp plates, and off we went revving in route 10!

I drove for a mile on Route 10 , and then my colleague brought her back to the showroom via hilly by roads - and we were more than satisfied. It was time to play the haggling game.

The fastest buy in the West

We went in the dealership and told the sales guy that we intend to buy the car today itself. He was a bit taken aback - as he has never seen (he admitted that later) of an Indian making so quick a decision on cars.
Then we sat and talked money - the manager was hell bent on getting the car out for $5200 all inclusive, and we started from $4000 all inclusive (all inclusive - sales + sales tax + registration). Slowly we haggled up while came down - believe it or not we haggled for a measly sum of $25 for over 2 minutes!!
Finally decided on $4400 all inclusive for the dream machine!

People immediately rang up insurance (Geico) and I used my credit card to get a insurance note for my car - just like that in 5-7 minutes) - it was around $800 for 6 months (Hefty - but hey, I have only got my license 4 months back!)

The manager+sales person in the meantime prepared the paperwork - and boy they work fast! All the papers ready in 10 minutes - and its time for me to write my initials on the check.
Nervously wrote a check of 4400 USD payable to Route 10 Mitsubishi - signed my name on a couple of papers - got the temporary registration - and the sales guy handed me over the keys (1 remote + 1 normal) - just like that, I became the owner of my first car!

The whole process - from us reaching the showroom - to me driving out of the yard with the car - barely lasted 45 minutes.
What do you guys think? Fastest buy on team-bhp?
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Old 19th November 2009, 21:13   #6
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Shooting Time!

I was still getting acquainted with the car when my friends returned - and they were wow! You got the car in such a short notice!

We shot a few pics on that day. Here Goes the first ever pics of My Mazda 626
Old Faithful - My 1998 Mazda 626 LX (January 2008 - April 2009)-dsc01542.jpg

Old Faithful - My 1998 Mazda 626 LX (January 2008 - April 2009)-dsc01543.jpg

Old Faithful - My 1998 Mazda 626 LX (January 2008 - April 2009)-dsc01544.jpg

Old Faithful - My 1998 Mazda 626 LX (January 2008 - April 2009)-dsc01545.jpg

Old Faithful - My 1998 Mazda 626 LX (January 2008 - April 2009)-dsc01548.jpg
My roommate Sandipan

Old Faithful - My 1998 Mazda 626 LX (January 2008 - April 2009)-dsc01552.jpg
Yours truly..with the green mean machine
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Old 28th November 2009, 20:17   #7
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22nd Feb 08 - the whiteout

Well we never had any experience on how to drive in snow (although I learnt driving in heavy rain), or how to clean snow from cars either. But the snowstorm on 22nd Feb 2008 gave us a hands on chance to hone our skills in snow cleaning. Have a look - the pictures say it all (it was a Friday and we were preparing for office - only to hear later that office is suspended for the day)

Old Faithful - My 1998 Mazda 626 LX (January 2008 - April 2009)-dsc01568.jpg

Old Faithful - My 1998 Mazda 626 LX (January 2008 - April 2009)-dsc01570.jpg

Old Faithful - My 1998 Mazda 626 LX (January 2008 - April 2009)-dsc01575.jpg

Old Faithful - My 1998 Mazda 626 LX (January 2008 - April 2009)-dsc01577.jpg
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Old 28th November 2009, 21:16   #8
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This is probably the fastest car buy on tbhp!!
Congrats on the car. Looking forward to an ownership report and also tips and experience notes on driving in snow! Doesnt the gasoline in the tank freeze in such weather?
Also, I love the way you narrated the whole story!
Drive safe!
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Old 28th November 2009, 21:31   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by james View Post
This is probably the fastest car buy on tbhp!!
Congrats on the car. Looking forward to an ownership report and also tips and experience notes on driving in snow! Doesnt the gasoline in the tank freeze in such weather?
Also, I love the way you narrated the whole story!
Drive safe!
Don' think petrol freezes that easily - it does so at around -60C (its another story with diesel cars).

Driving in snow:

1. If you can - avoid driving in snow!
2. Driving in start of snowing/light snow is VERY treacherous.Its like driving on ball bearings - trust me. Drive on 1st/2nd gear.
3. Brake very slowly. The ABS works extra time and you can literally feel it. I once did a world record setting drift while taking a turn from a sloping road(still sends shivers down my spine)
4. After overnight snow, ice forms at certain low points in roads - nothing can save you if you hit these spots at speed, not even ABS.
5. Check your tires for enough tread depth and lower the pressure by 2-3 PSI. Or use winter tires. Tire chain is used for extreme conditions.
6. Follow a snow clearing vehicle with icemix sprinkler.
6. Most importantly - numerous cars get stuck/immobile in snow. Know your way out (friends/AAA/roadside assistance) and carry warm clothing (in case you have to spend a night in the car)

coming soon - NYC accident & followups.
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Old 4th May 2010, 09:45   #10
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Default 1 year, 1 license plate, and 12000 miles later

Almost forgot about this thread, but the floodgates opened when I visited friends in NJ this time in May 2010. I saw my old beauty again - 115K miles on the odo, and the same great low seating and steering feel. I renewed my NJ drivers license, and took her out for a spin - the same great feeling (though the body+paint has not been maintained that great, and the harsh winter has taken its toll)

few pics to rekindle the old fire:

Old Faithful - My 1998 Mazda 626 LX (January 2008 - April 2009)-dsc_4078.jpg

Old Faithful - My 1998 Mazda 626 LX (January 2008 - April 2009)-dsc_4079.jpg

Old Faithful - My 1998 Mazda 626 LX (January 2008 - April 2009)-dsc_4082.jpg

Old Faithful - My 1998 Mazda 626 LX (January 2008 - April 2009)-dsc_4083.jpg

I shall continue updating this thread soon.

Last edited by blackasta : 4th May 2010 at 09:49.
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Old 10th August 2011, 11:41   #11
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Default Re: 1 year, 1 license plate, and 12000 miles later

Quote:
Originally Posted by blackasta View Post
Almost forgot about this thread, but the floodgates opened when I visited friends in NJ this time in May 2010.
I shall continue updating this thread soon.
Hey Blackasta,

I just love the Mazda 626. Your car looks beautiful. Can you please fulfill your promise of updating the thread? I would love to see more pictures of your car - especially interiors.

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Old 10th August 2011, 11:53   #12
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Default Re: 1 year, 1 license plate, and 12000 miles later

Quote:
Originally Posted by SankalpDesai View Post
Hey Blackasta,

I just love the Mazda 626. Your car looks beautiful. Can you please fulfill your promise of updating the thread? I would love to see more pictures of your car - especially interiors.

I shall update this thread for sure once I get some free time. The car is no longer 'mine' after April 2009 when I left US for the first time. Also - what I hear from my earlier roommate and friend is that there are niggling problems regarding the front catcon (yes this car has 2 catcons) resulting in CEL glowing all time, problems with transmission jerk (common with 626) and also problem with CV joints. He is due to leave US soon , and I shall have a last hurrah with the green goblin later this month when I plan to visit his place. I shall try to get some pictures, and say a final goodbye.
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Old 10th August 2011, 14:57   #13
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Default Re: Old Faithful - My 1998 Mazda 626 LX (January 2008 - April 2009)

Nice ownership account i must say.Mazda cars always fascinated me(especially Miata).Have a happy ride.
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Old 13th August 2011, 19:13   #14
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Default Re: Old Faithful - My 1998 Mazda 626 LX (January 2008 - April 2009)

Ah,brought back some old memories.My family(i was in 6th grade) had a 1995 Mazda 626 station wagon when we were in Muscat.Never saw a roomier car like it.Owned it till 2000 after which we moved back to Mumbai hence sold it with a heavy heart.Covered 3,00,000 km in 5 years and was still going strong.The 2.0 litre engine was really a gem.Apart from a fried clutch and a fuel tank replacement(corrosion) the car never gave us any serious issues.
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