TAMING A “MONSTER-O”
Just a semester away after I officially tendered my application for retirement, I thought of gifting myself with a brand new car. After all, I would be a recipient of retirement benefits later so no problem.
After a few transacting weeks, the bank gave me the signal and there I was behind the wheel of a spanking gray Mitsubishi Automatic Transmission, Montero Sports, GLS V, Special Edition, model 2015. I felt like an Arab prince, a sheik touring the vast dessert.
While I was savoring the feeling of success having for the first time driving a brand new vehicle with almost zero kilometer reading on its speedometer, media exploded with news that Montero cars are deadly machines, one that runs on its own and considered a monster on the street. A term SUA or “Sudden Unintended Acceleration” became a buzz word among car aficionados and the united complaints of Montero owners who virtually had experienced it peppered the airwaves. They all figured out in a near fatal accident for themselves and fatal for those unfortunate pedestrians while the vehicle was running amuck. They want the company to shut down and compel government not to allow Montero cars to traverse the street.
There was even a call for a resolution for government to discourage prospective buyers not to procure Montero until after a thorough investigation has been concluded.
For a while, I was taken aback. This is old hat I know and if at all the vehicle is that defective, then there is reason for a mass recall of all units. I was prepared to re-wrap everything in cellophane and surrender the vehicle. For me, it is better to have a brand new car which would eventually be recalled, than not having one at all!
But I still have my reservations despite the reported deficiencies leading to lethal misfortunes. I still believe that it is more a driver error than mechanical or technical. No, I am not defending the company; not a bit just because I happen to have one unit of the controversial subject. I am merely explaining not to expiate myself from being a fool of a consumer but let me put it this way.
Suppose I have a state of the art firearm. Suppose I mishandled it and claimed that it exploded without my intention of firing it although in handling something with advanced features may have triggered it due to ignorance. And in the process, something was hit. Example, a glass window. Can I use the defense that the gun had a “sudden unintended shot”, a defect of the firearm and the fault of the gun manufacturer?
The same can be said of Montero sports utility vehicles. It has advanced features, something which is not a regular attribute of cars with automatic transmission. There is indeed a quality of “harurot” or instant “arangkada” or sudden acceleration if the driver wants it. If manual driven cars must have to lower their gear to increase acceleration, in AT cars, the driver needs only to step on the gas and there goes the kick.
Unlike in previous automatic transmission vehicles which could not make successful overtakes because the engine was not designed for instant acceleration, such vehicles usually suffer accidents. The case of Vandolf Quizon while driving an automatic Ford ISO pick up. His car failed to accelerate while overtaking until he got caught with an incoming vehicle. As he swerved, his car fell down a precipice and his passenger, his girf friend, perished in the accident and Vandolf nearly came out almost lifeless.
Car manufacturers improved on their products. AT engines need not be a female driven animal which is passive on the street. It could also be a beast, a racing monstrosity if prodded. Hence, the Montero, or “Monstero” if you will. A sports utility vehicle that will never be left behind if threatened or shy away if challenged to a sprint. To a driver unfamiliar with the advanced features, the vehicle is a dangerous machine.
I have had several service cars before and it served me well—a two-door Toyota Corolla Coupe, a 4-door Toyota Corona, a 4-door sedan Toyota Crown, a 5-door Toyota LiteAce, a pick up Toyota Ranger Truck, 2 vintage Volkswagen sedans, a big bike (Yamaha Virago 1100cc), a street cruiser motorbike, an automatic Yamaha motorbike, an L300 Mitsubishi van, most of these units are still in good running condition. And what made all these serviceable vehicles tough is that all of them were bought second-hand. Well, that was my impression although my suspicion says it could have been handed down several times over. But it made my profession as administrator and lecturer, student and scholar, friend and lover smooth and relaxing. I could go places in a manner I wanted to unlike when commuting.
And so for years, I have to take the wheels, engage all kinds of road condition, be it wide or narrow, dangerously slippery and rugged, …. I learned to drive at the age of 14 but it was that period when I reach the age of 26 that I got myself a car of my own. And the vehicles aside from the attention heaped onto it on a daily basis for repair and observation, there was the threat also of getting stalled for no reason at all, given its numerous defects due to age and overwork. I became almost a wizard as an automotive mechanic as a result but of course, there was the dream of owning something that just came out of the factory fresh and new.
Well, that day came and here I am taming a monster!