For many gentlemen, there is nothing as thrilling as the sight of any new sport utility vehicle, particularly the four by fours. I was thrilled by the features and capabilities of the all-new 2019 Subaru Forester. The Forester not only has an Apple Car Play compatibility but also Android Auto. That feature is not in a Toyota Rav4, Mazda CX-5, or BMW X3. Another amusing aspect of the vehicle is that it does not bottom out (to reach the lowest or worst point usually before beginning to rise), regardless of the terrain. It has 8.7 inches (22.1cm) of ground clearance which is sufficient enough to carry you over sections that have far more than 8.7 inches obstruction. Generally, when driving over extremely rough terrains, you are lifting the vehicle by driving over things at one or two corners, giving the bottom more room. With its longer wheelbase, the Forester is more capable than ever at creeping over boulders and stumps. Off-roading with any vehicle requires a bit of tipping the car sideways and making contact with just three or sometimes two wheels. Do not try such stunts with a Mazda Demio.
During a routine car service engine check recently, I met a gentleman who owned a Toyota Prado TX, 2012 Version. He was grey-haired, an indication of wisdom if the popular notion of the same is anything to go by. He gave the garage attendant instructions that seemed weird.
“Have my tyres inflated to 27 kindly.” He instructed with a Kikuyu-American accent.
I stared at him in amazement as 90% of saloon cars have their tyres inflated to 35 including mine. The garage attendant asked to be pardoned because that was quite odd. The guy calmly repeated. I couldn’t help but ask,
“Why have them at 27? Mine are at 35. And so is every car in this vicinity.
“My brother, do you want money? He asked.
“Absolutely!” I answered emphatically and enthusiastically.
“Give me five reasons as to why you have yours inflated at 35 and I will give you 5,000 shillings.” He posed the challenge.
Staring into space, I had absolutely no reason to give him. Not even one. The only one I could probably fumble was that other people had theirs at 35 and so I had mine too at 35.
“Could you give me five reasons as to why you inflate yours at 27?” I threw back the question to him.
“One, the temperatures and nature of tarmac roads in Kenya are such that any tyre inflated beyond 27 is a hazard as it is a potential cause of danger during braking. Two, for you to break from a speed of 150 km/hr to 0km/hr in 10 meters, you need all your tyres at 27. Three, for the preservation of your shock absorbers and suspension bushes in rough terrains; you don’t need rigid tyres inflated at 35. You need 27. As a matter of fact, from the time I bought this vehicle, I have never changed the shocks and bushings. How many times have you changed yours? Four, the user manual for this car of mine prescribes for an inflated pressure of 26 for the front wheels and 27 for the rear wheels. Five, I am a thinker. I do not do everything and anything other people do blindly.”
Feeling intellectually insulted, I weakly challenged him, “Number five is not reason enough.”
“Okay, if you say so. Substituting reason number five, I’ll say this; the total calculated weight of this vehicle together with its full passenger capacity is optimally sustained by a balanced wheel pressure of 27.”
“Loud and clear sir.” I gave in. Law number 22 in the book ‘48 Laws of Power’ by Robert Green also known as the ‘Modern Machiavelli’ states; Use the Surrender Tactic: Transform Weakness into Power. The said law exhorts us never to fight for honor’s sake. By surrendering, you acquire a tool of power. Surrendering gives you time to recover, time to torment, and irritate your conqueror as well as time to wait for his power to wane. Never have I found an appropriate application of that law of power such as that encounter with that Kikuyu-American accented individual. I didn’t have a comeback though after surrendering.
Watching him drive away, I admired how his car was neatly maintained. I stared at the four wheels of the car I had and debated on whether to deflate the tyres. I decided not to.
For lovers of vehicles, you must know at least one of these amusing facts:
· The world record for removing and replacing a car engine is 42 seconds. This record was set by mechanics working on a Ford Escort on 21st November 1985.
· The first-ever car accident happened in 1891. The first person to be charged with speeding was driving at 45mp/hr the equivalent of 72km/hr in the year 1902.
· A modern Formula One car can drive upside down in a tunnel at 193km/hr. Range Rover Evoque hardly does that speed whilst right way up.
· 60 million cars are produced every year. That is 165,000 in a day, 6,875 an hour, and 115 in a . However, only 18% (1,368,000,000) of the world’s population own a car. Suzuki Alto is also a car among the counted.
· It would take less than a month to get to the moon by car at an average speed of 90km/hr. It would take much less time in case you decide to use Hennessey Venom F5 that has a top speed of 484km/hr.
· An average car has 30,000 unique parts.
· The odds of dying in a car accident are 1 in 5000. Odds of dying in a plane crash are 1 in 11 million. That makes driving cars pretty much dangerous.
· The highest total mileage clocked by a single car is 4,586,630 kilometers. That is equivalent to driving around the earth 114 times.
There’s no way we could take cars off the planet and not have our society fall apart. So they’re a necessary evil, in that sense – Lindsay Wagner.