$38,000 For Traffic And Weather Updates
Published: January 11th, 2011
By: Jim Mullen

$38,000 for traffic and weather updates

I’ve just watched my fourth automobile commercial in the last half hour. For 60 seconds all they talked about was the radio in the car. How many speakers it had; how you could talk to it to change the station; how it would automatically lower the volume when you were talking on your cell phone. The radios in these cars can do everything for you except microwave your lunch. Going home will only be a let down after spending such a wonderful time in your car listening to this radio. In short, the ads are telling you to buy a $38,000 car because it has a $300 radio in it.

Wow, talk about deal!

Still, you may wonder what kind of mileage that radio gets? Is it reliable? Easy to repair? Will that radio keep its resale value? How does it handle in the snow and the rain? These are the things I want to know when I buy a car. It’s hard to believe the car companies needed a bailout when we all know they can build a better radio than the Japanese. Oh, wait, all car radios are Japanese, but you get my drift.

On my first car, the radio never worked. There was always a tube burning out or a wire coming loose. Finally, when car radios got solid circuits, they never broke. But they got stolen a lot. I came back to a parking lot one day and three of my car’s windows were broken and the radio was gone. I was 60 miles from home and it was cold out. That’s a drive I’ll never forget. It cost my insurance company $2,500 to fix the windows. It cost me $200 to replace the radio. I wonder how much the thief got for it? Ten bucks? It’s not like you can take a stolen car radio with wires hanging out of the back to a convenience store and buy cigarettes with it. I’m pretty sure the heroin dealers don’t take them either.

Now that decent quality radios are pretty inexpensive, car thieves don’t bother with them. They break your windows to steal your air bags. Or they leave the windows alone and steal your rims. You come out of your house in the morning to go to work and find your car sitting on blocks (if you’re lucky), with all four tires gone. The good news is that the radio still works.

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