Page 20 - PCA Metro NY Region POST
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Listen To Your Car
It’s very important to listen to your car. It is often telling you about its health. Modern cars have lots of self-diagnostic electronics. These are helpful, such as tire pressure and oil level moni- tors, but they don’t relieve us of responsibility
to use our own senses. I have mentioned that years ago in my then-P-car, a 1984 911, my car felt a little weird at Watkins Glen Turn 6, but it was ok in Turn 7 so I ignored the weirdness and pressed on. In turn 8 I had a massive spinout due to a punctured tire. I luckily didn’t hit any- thing and limped back into the pits where I had extra tires.
Earlier this year I noticed that my brakes weren’t grabbing as solidly as they usually did. I had the fluid bled but it still wasn’t right. They were bled again – still not better. Then the guys in the shop saw that a bit of the rubber seal around one of the caliper pistons had come out of its correct orientation -problem solved. Listen to your car.
I like to think that I’ve learned – as the philoso- pher George Santayana, said “Those who can- not remember the past are condemned to re- peat it,” but maybe I haven’t learned this lesson thoroughly enough. Last month I was driving my 2011 Boxster S on the street and felt that the shifting had gotten a little stiff in first and sec- ond gears. The other gears were ok. A few days later I noticed that the shifting was now fine, so
I didn’t mention that issue at a visit to my race shop a few days later. Then I headed South for the 4-hour drive to Summit Point to attend
the event I mentioned at the top of this article. I tow a trailer behind my Boxster. It weighs about 1000 lbs. The entire trip except for about 10 miles is on interstates, so I had lots of free time to listen to an engaging podcast series. The lo- cal roads leading to the track are very interest- ing with rolling hills and curves. Unfortunately, about 1⁄2 mile from the track the gearshift lever became stuck in 5th gear. In an instant I real- ized that my track weekend was ruined but my main concern was to be able to get home Get- ting the car underway while it was stuck in 5th gear, lugging the trailer, to get to the track and ultimately find help was quite a challenge. We were able to shift the transmission into 3rd gear and I limped home that way. In the aftermath, the repairs were very expensive – the clutch was ruined, the engine had to be dropped to install a new one, and so on. In retrospect, it seems my car had been talking to me when the shifting hadn’t felt quite right earlier, but I wasn’t listening properly.
Listen to your car!
I’ll see you at the track in a few months. You can always contact me at [email protected]
How many of you remember the Glen Island Casino in the distance? Glen Island is a small island off the coast of the Bronx/ Westchester border accessible by a bridge/cause- way in New Rochelle. A future concours site?
I took this on my way back from our first cars and coffee in Huntington in 2018.

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