Tag Archives: Jared Hinderer

Photo prompts reflection on high school

By Jared Hinderer

I thought I was going to be able to go without writing a cliché “end of my senior year” column. Turns out, I couldn’t. Throughout high school, I never really thought I would miss it. I always thought that it would be a huge relief to be done with high school. I was only half right. Yes, I will be very glad to finish high school, because I’m excited to start my college education and finally work toward starting a career, but I can’t say that I won’t miss all of this.

So what changed my mind? Well, it all fell on me last night when a friend of mine posted a picture of a group of us at class night on Instagram with the caption, “Bros since seventh grade!” That just hit me with a feeling of “Whoa, I’ve known a lot of these guys for a long time and I won’t be seeing them everyday anymore.” It’s just odd that these people I’ve been hanging out with almost every day for the past six or more years won’t be there anymore. This got me thinking about all the time I could have spent with friends that I didn’t, and I want to get that back now. Many of my best friends will be going several hours away for college, and the others to colleges different from mine, so I won’t have that time anymore. Because of this, I will make the most of the last summer we’ve got together before college and not waste any time.

What I want underclassmen to get from this is that you should cherish the time you have and not take it for granted. Those friends you have now won’t always be there. I’m going to try to remember my own advice and as I start my life at Bellarmine University in the fall of this year. It’s been a great four years here, so I hope to make another great four years there. And I hope my current friends will stick around as much as they can, because they’re the ones who made my last four years the most memorable.

Class Night

Advances in vehicle technology, testing lead to more recalls

By Jared Hinderer

It seems like there has been more and more recalls on cars in recent years than in the days of the past. These recalls are comforting yet concerning me. They’re comforting me by letting me know that companies are fixing their mistakes, but it’s concerning me that they have to. Stay with me for a minute while I try to speculate on why these recalls seem to be happening more often and to more vehicles.

All the way up through the 1960’s, most cars were relatively simple. They had an engine, a transmission, some wiring, and a body. Eventually, though, cars starting getting more and more complex and parts kept being added. We started seeing computers popping up in cars in the 1980’s and they kept coming. Today, cars are so complex it often takes computers costing thousands of dollars just to diagnose them. This complexity translates to much more comfortable cars, but also poses a slight problem. With more technology and more features, there are more things to go wrong.

Don’t get me wrong, I have no problem with complex computerized cars; my Saab stores error codes for the headlights in a computer. When something goes wrong with the headlights, I have to take it to a dealership to have it diagnosed on an extremely expensive computer. Once I replace the part that needs replacing, it has to go back to the dealership to have the whole system calibrated. It just seems more complex than it needs to be. When you try cramming so many electronic components and computers into a car, it just invites more issues.

Another possible reason for recalls becoming more prominent is the fact that many companies contract other companies to build components for them. The problem here is that the car company itself doesn’t oversee the production to be sure it is done properly. They take the parts assuming they are built properly and put them into their cars. The most recent example is the Takata airbag recall. Takata is the second largest airbag manufacturer in the world. Takata makes airbags for Toyota, Honda, Nissan, and Mazda, just to name a few. Recently Takata discovered a design flaw in their airbags, that didn’t just affect one manufacturer, it affected multiple. Because of the mistake made by Takata Toyota, Honda, Nissan, and Mazda had to recall over 3.4 million vehicles. A mistake made by one company affected four others companies and 3.4 million vehicles.

All in all, though, I think the biggest reason for recalls is today’s much more stringent safety testing. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) annually tests vehicles on several “Motor Vehicle Safety Standards.” The NHSTA randomly selects vehicles from the market place to get an accurate representation of a vehicle that a consumer would actually purchase. This safety testing catches problems in cars and the manufacturer is notified and the problem can be remedied.

These are just reasons I’m speculating may cause the seemingly increasing numbers of vehicle recalls. Maybe I’m wrong, but I think that with more features on vehicles and more testing, it seems like more problems would be caught. Cars aren’t necessarily having more problems than cars in the past, the problems are just being found and fixed. I am all for safety testing vehicles, and I’m happy to see that companies are offering remedies for mistakes.

Columnist advises vehicle choices for under $10,000

By Jared Hinderer

If you read my column from last week, you saw that for my top pics for a first car in three categories for under $5,000. The Toyota Camry came in as the eco-car choice for its dead-solid reliability and ease of repair and maintenance costs. The Volvo S70 placed itself on my list in the luxury because of its track record of safety. Finally, the Mazda Miata landed in the sports car slot because there really isn’t a better cheap sports car.

This week the choices are a bit more exotic with a price range raised to $10,000. $10,000 can buy you some really nice cars when you think outside the box.

1. Ford Fusion- Any Ford Fusion up to 2008 is affordable in this budget with about 90,000-100,000 miles. Going with a Ford Fusion is a great way to get a nice late model vehicle in this price range. The Fusion is a solid car that will continue to look good and will always get the job done. Having driven a base model Fusion, I can say that it is a great car for the money. With a nice quality interior, and great ratings for safety and reliability, it has to take the spot as the “point-A to point-B” car in this price range.

2. Saab 9-5- Maybe I’m a bit bias, because I own a Saab 9-5, but these could be the most affordable luxury cars out there. If you want something luxurious, and relatively rare, the 9-5 is perfect. Not to mention all of the safety features that gave the 9-5 the title as one of the safest cars in the world of its time.  Look at years between 2004 and 2008. The model got some updated looks in 2006, but remained mostly the same underneath, so parts are plentiful for all years. Yes, the company is out of business, but their parts suppliers are still very much is business. 2004-2008 Saab 9-5’s range from about $5,000 to $10,000 depending on year, options, and mileage. Contrary to popular belief, these are actually very reliable cars. Edmunds.com rated 9-5 at 4 or 5 out of 5 stars for reliability for each year listed. Like most luxury cars, parts can get expensive; however, there are many shops in the Kentuckiana area that are willing and able to work on these rare Swedish machines.

3. Porsche Boxter- Ever think you could own a German roadster like a Porsche for your first car? Well, if you’ve got around $9000, you can. For just under $9,000 at $8,980 you can buy a pristine example from 1999 with 95,000 miles on eBay right now, but I would have to haggle down that price since it has nearing 100,000 miles. However, the Boxster is considered one of the best roadsters of its time by many different leading car reviewers, having been mentioned on Car and Drivers 10 Best list in 2000. It is said to be a very reliable car, receiving 5 out of  5 stars from Edmunds.com. Weighing in at 2,800 pounds with 201 horsepower, the base model Boxster is not only quick, but it handles well, thanks to its mid mounted flat six engine for better weight distribution. However, the mid mounted engine is its biggest problem, being that it is very difficult to work on. Not every shop will work on a Boxster, so beware of this when shopping for one.

Columnist provides suggestions for first car

By Jared Hinderer

A teen’s first car represents a lot. It represents their first step to independence, and a small sign of freedom. It also represents a big responsibility. Also, with so many choices, buying a first car is a tough choice. So what do you do? Think about what is important to you. Do you like cars? Do you not care what you drive, just as long as it gets you there? Or do you want something small and sporty?

This week I will make my suggestions for a price range of up to $5000. I will try to help out with some suggestions to get you thinking about your choices by covering three types of cars; the “A to B” eco-car for those that just want to get there, a more luxurious ride for those that want to drive in comfort and style, and sporty option for those who enjoy a bit of fun while commuting.

My choices for cars up $5000:

 1. Toyota Camry. As the “A to B” car of this price range, I like the 1997-2002 Toyota Camry. These vary in price from $3000-$4500 depending on condition and mileage. These cars continue to get high ratings for reliability and overall quality. Having driven a few Camrys, I can verify that they really a quality product, especially for the price.

2. Volvo S70. Entry level luxury can’t be defined any better than a solid Swedish built Volvo. That’s why the 1998 to 2000 S70 takes the spot for the luxury car in this range. Volvos are very safe cars and often receive high praise for their durability and reliability. With the T5 model pushing 236 horsepower, they are reasonably quick. Although, take caution when going with this option, because, while these are reliable vehicles, they can be costly to maintain if something does go wrong.

3. Mazda Miata. At the risk of being supremely cliché, the Miata is what makes it as my sports car suggestion for under $5000. While they are not exactly safe cars, they are an absolute blast to drive. Not the fastest, by far, but definitely a fun car. And for those of us really into cars, aftermarket parts are quite cheap and accessible, so it’s not difficult to make one a bit quicker.

Be sure to check back next week for more of my picks of cars at a slightly higher price range of $5000-$10000.