Testing out the new equipment

This would be the third dash-cam that I’ve purchased since they became a ‘thing’ several years ago.  The two others I had, died almost immediately after being installed in our various vehicles, they were (for the most part) basic pieces of junk with extremely basic capabilities, but were priced as if they had more ‘oomph’ than they actually did when used in the manner to which they had been advertised.

My wife asked me a couple of months ago if I was interested in getting a dash-cam.  After regaling her with the stories about my previous attempts, she was unswayed so she went ahead and purchased one that was touted to have ‘4K’ video capability, and could use a 128GB micro SD card for storage, allowing about 10 hours of video time either in 3, 5, or 10 minute increments.

Naturally once it had arrived and I went to put it to use, I discovered it really didn’t have the touted 4K capability, it’s a simulated 4K on playback, the guts of the camera can’t produce that quality.  So basically it’s false advertising, but sending it back would mean incurring a shipping fee (they’re going to get you coming or going) so it was better just to make it work and wait a year or so until a new one comes out that actually does have that capability, though I don’t honestly think we need one.

We’ve just gotten back from vacation, and I was testing it out on the road, so to speak.  The first storage card I had for some reason didn’t work, even after I formatted it several times both on my computer and through the unit itself.  For whatever reason once it was used by the unit it was unreadable, so I endeavored to get a new card before we left to go visit family in the Hudson Valley of New York, where I grew up.  Unfortunately, I didn’t manage to get one until we’d been in Poughkeepsie for a day, so I missed out on some decent opportunities to record video of places that were familiar to me, and yes I’m still kicking myself about that.  Too, when I finally did get the card and inserted it into the camera, I completely forgot about formatting the card, and even if I had, I never plugged the unit in so it wouldn’t have recorded anyway.  Took me a few tries before I actually got it to work, and was able to confirm that it was recording by removing the storage card and attaching it through a reader to my smartphone, which was easily able to transcribe the video and play it. vlcsnap-2019-11-18 This is a shot of us going over the Mid-Hudson Bridge (the locals call it that, and always have.  In 1994 it was renamed the ‘Franklin D. Roosevelt Mid-Hudson Bridge‘ in honor of FDR, but like the Tappan Zee downstate being renamed after former Governor Mario Cuomo, it’s still referred to by its old name by anyone local) yesterday morning.  It’s a pretty crisp and clear snapshot from the video, and I doubt anyone could tell the difference between a HD image and a 4K from this vantage point.  I certainly can’t.

I expect it’s going to take a little more trial and error before I’m completely comfortable with having it in the car.  I expect also I’m not going to be recording video daily, although I believe the intent of dashcams is having it on all the time in case something does happen, as one isn’t likely to turn it on just before something unfortunate occurs.  Better safe than sorry, right?  And in the event of an accident, even if it ended up being my fault (anything is possible) it’s better to have evidence just in case something could be seen another way.  So for the time being, it’ll stay in the car.  At least to justify the 10 minutes it took me to install the long power cord along the visor and around the interior in order to hook it into the car’s power system.

Murano (Part 3)

[Heh, I promise this is the last part.]

At any rate, she was unaware of the two distinctions as Doug had not made it clear it was a replacement, not a new vehicle.  She then said that she’d be getting a new card faxed or emailed down to the dealership and in my mind that set off a red flag.  Why did we need a new card immediately if we’re picking up the vehicle in 2 days?  Perhaps Doug had not made it clear to the sales manager that was the case, and that was the reason for all the rush to getting everything ready today.  With that in mind, I told my wife I was going to find the sales manager and set the record straight.  Getting up, I immediately spotted him in his white shirt, with several of the sales guys crowded around him, and set off to the office on my mission.

I approached the office, knocked on the door and inquired if they were prepping the vehicle to be driven home today.  He said yes, and why not?  At that point I saw Doug’s face and he knew he’d forgotten to mention this important point.  Before Doug could say anything, I explained that we’d not been looking to drive the vehicle home, we were interesting in leasing and getting everything nailed down today, and then pick it up in a couple of days on our schedule, not theirs.  The sales manager said that was fine, though I could easily tell from his tone of voice that it wasn’t completely fine, he’d been doing a lot of work in a small amount of time laboring under a misconception.  I told him that it was our fault for not making this more clear, trying to spare Doug a bit of a talking to by someone a bit higher up the food chain, though I expect he still got a little reminder that he needed to be more up front with important information like that.  Again, he’s new, he’ll learn in time about what to communicate and what not to, selling cars like anything is a learning process, so I don’t fault him for a misstep.  Omelettes and breaking eggs,

Having finished with that, we repaired back to Doug’s desk and he apologized profusely for his error and I honestly told him not to worry about it, things happen, and to me it didn’t make a difference much at all.  He’s still got our business, he’s going to make a decent commission (I didn’t mention that, but it’s the truth) and it will all work out in the end.  At that point the sales manager came over with the paperwork and admittedly it’s gotten a bit more streamlined over the last few years.  When we leased the Edge, there was this really long agreement to be signed, along with several other pieces of paper, but this time it was just about five or six pages, along with a form for getting the registration changed, the credit company waiver and so on.  Didn’t take all that long to get it all signed, and then he asked how we were going to handle the down payment.  My wife, without missing a beat, handed him her Discover card.  For the points.

He ran the card back in his office and came back with the receipt, she signed it and we were basically good to go.  The sales manager left and Doug asked me if it was acceptable to get a little doodad that he was planning to send us as a small ‘thank-you’ for our business.  Apparently he’s trying to come up with a unique trinket that he can give to his future customers, as a reminder of the business transaction etc, he explained it was going to be a keychain/bottle opener thing, with the Nissan logo and I think his name on it.  I said that was fine, we’d be happy to accept it.  Not that we were going to probably use it, since the Murano, like the Edge doesn’t have a key, just a fob that’s electronically recognized by the car’s computer, that confirms whoever has the fob has access to control the car’s functions.  And I already have my own keychain that I normally use, so I’ll just be transferring one fob for another, and go on my merry way.  But we have a place to put an extra keychain, and should my current one break or become old, its nice to have another just in case.  So why not?

We left and Doug followed us out to the Edge.  We wished him a good rest of his day, and went on to (finally!) get dinner at Red Lobster.  We’re going to be picking up the new ride on Friday, and that will be a new adventure.


Murano Part 2

We left off where our intrepid couple had embarked on a mission to find a suitable vehicle to replace the 2016 Ford Edge they’ve been not driving all that much over the last three years.  Hilarity and boredom ensues.  Continue at your own risk.

Having taken the Murano for a test drive, my wife and I, and our salesperson moved into the dealership building to discuss dollars and sense.  We’d still not been completely open with him about our budget, and since we had test driven the top of the line (Platinum) edition of the model, he was thinking we might need to consider going for something less pricey.  Well, we’ve been ‘settling’ for less pricey for most of the last 20 years of leasing, and my wife was in the mood for spending a little more to get more, and I wasn’t about to stop her.  One doesn’t often get the opportunity to ‘own’ something that’s way outside of your own personal price range, so why not do a little ‘mad money’ sort of thing once in your lifetime when the opportunity arises?

Finally coming clean with the salesperson (Doug), we informed him that we were interested in the Platinum model, but the color scheme didn’t really appeal.  I told him that I had looked on the dealer’s website a few days prior and saw that they had the aforementioned Gun Metallic Murano, and after checking my phone, I saw it was still listed as available inventory.  I gave him the VIN and dealer #’s and he was off to the races to see if indeed it was still on the lot.  Now if it had been me?  I would have used the terminal sitting on his desk to see where it was.  The dealer just happened to have a satellite lot about 40 miles away, and it could have been there, since the dealer’s website list didn’t specify which lot it was on.  Just that it existed, and it was available.  But being new, Doug was trying his best to do it right, so he looked in this place, then that, and I think he finally went to one of his superiors and asked if they knew about it, because soon after I saw him leave the building and go out to where they were all parked and start looking at individual vehicles.

Upon his return, he said that indeed it was on the lot, we had just missed it when we were looking at the cars initially.  Although as I recall, I had looked at one that said something about “Graphite” and the color seemed to be about right on the outside.  At the time I had dismissed it thinking the reference to graphite meant the color of the car, not the color of the interior, which is what it turned out to be.  So I actually had looked at it, just not realized it was the one all along.  Regardless, we were delighted to find it was there, so we directed Doug’s energies towards securing it for us, if possible.

Soon after the sales manager came over with numbers and a couple of questions about credit. My wife, being the careful sort, had set up a ‘freeze’ on hers so that no one could open a new account in her name without her knowing about it.  The only problem was, when she had set it up initially several years ago, the company had requested a username, and sometime since, they had gone to an email address/password combination and she was unaware of that.  Consequently,  she was trying to use a username to access her account and getting frozen out (no pun) from being able to access her account to unfreeze the account, so the dealership could check it.   It took about 45 minutes before we left for her to get someone to fix it, and even now at the dealership they were having a little trouble accessing it. One reporting company they could access, but the other (Experian) was still showing the freeze.  So they were only able to get some of the information they needed.  The company she was doing business with had given her a PIN # over the phone, but neither she nor the sales manager had any idea where to input it.  So again there was a small impasse.

Even so, when he ran the credit on the available reporting company, the results came back so stellar they were immediately aware that we weren’t going to be a credit risk at all.  Consequently, things could move forward.  Now came the big question.  How much to put down?  The sales manager had run numbers in the down payment/monthly payment ratio based on the MSRP (Manufacturer’s Suggested Retail Price) of the vehicle and our initial suggestion of amount created a monthly payment that was pretty steep.  Of course that can be changed if one puts more down initially.  Since we’re not buying the car, just leasing (borrowing, essentially) the sticker in the window that gets you in the door is based on purchase, not lease.  So what you may have seen as being a possible $21,000 car is actually a $28,000 one, since the sticker on the windshield is for purchasing purposes.  That was something I’d forgotten, I was working under the assumption of what the windshield said, not the sticker on the side window.  Oops.

But fortunately, my wife has no debts at the present time with the exception of our mortgage, and the Edge’s lease was paid off earlier in the month.  Too, she makes more than I do, even in retirement, so she’s a bit more flexible in what she can spend at any given time.  In that vein, she was able to toss a number to him that worked out well on both sides and kept the monthly payment from being too astronomical.  Armed with that information, the sales manager left, and we Doug took that opportunity to call our insurance agent to make them aware we were getting a new vehicle and our insurance needed to be adjusted to reflect that.

However, once he had talked to the secretary at the agency for a few minutes, then handed the phone to me and walked off, the conversation with the secretary took an interesting turn.  She asked me if we were adding the vehicle to the policy in addition to the Edge, and I said no.  She then asked if we were getting new plates for the new vehicle.  Again, I said no, because we were just going to be transferring the plates, since it’s not a commercial vehicle like a pickup, which has its own requirements for plates.  In New York, if your pickup has no cover on the bed, it’s considered to be a commercial vehicle and requires that sort of license plate.  With a cover, its folded under the umbrella of a passenger vehicle or SUV.  Even a Tonneau cover will do, anything that semi-permanently covers the bed of the truck allows this distinction.

(continued in Part 3)