Storm Highway by Dan Robinson
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                   Thursday, June 4, 2009 - 11:00AM

Old and new chase vehicles - 9 years apart

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I figure it's not often that one gets to place side-by-side their old and new vehicles of an identical make and model, 9 years apart. I bought a new 2000 Ford Ranger on March 31 of that year. When I bought my Freestyle in January 2005, the truck went to my Dad in Pennsylvania, who is still driving it today. I bought another Ranger on March 1 this year, after the breakdown-prone Freestyle finally sealed its fate with a $6,000 transmission failure.

The old Ranger, now at over 9 years old and over 240,000 miles, is still going strong. I really liked my old truck - considering that, and its longevity and minimal repairs to date, made the decision to buy another Ranger an easy one. Whenever you get rid of a vehicle, there's always a little nostalgia factor of remembering the old one - so it's been nice to be able to go home every once in a while and see the 'old chase vehicle' still alive and kicking. A lot of miles, states and memorable expedition days were had in that old truck (including three hurricanes, my first Plains weather expedition and the epic 2004 tornado season).

This is the first chance I've had to compare the two side-by side, so here are some photos (the old one is green, the new silver). Not much has changed with the Ranger in 9 years!

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The following comments were posted before this site switched to a new comment system on August 27, 2016:

Dan, I own a 2005 Freestyle myself. It's been a fine trouble-free vehicle for me. I think it's only fair that you mention the mileage you had on your car before you experienced your transmission failure, and that as you have stated before, you weren't sure if any of the factory recommended maintenance services had ever been performed on it.
- Posted by John from TX
John, regardless of any factory maintenance, there's no question that my Freestyle's repair record was subpar. Two fuel pumps, a power steering pump, a fuel injector, and the transmission going out prior to 154,000 miles (with repairs topping $9,000) is not good by any modern vehicle standards. I expect a transmission failure at that mileage in any car, but don't expect it to cost $6 grand. It's not the transmission failure that killed my Freestyle, it was the cost to repair it. I'm glad your Freestyle has worked out better than mine did.
- Posted by Dan R. from Charleston, WV

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