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What Neglect Looks Like

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Everybody has different versions of neglect. There is a local repair shop in town that I totally appreciate. They do really solid, honest work but mostly A-to-B American iron. I mainly get old tires removed from rims. But they keep a lot of people moving in their transportation. Once I asked them how often do they recommend changing radiator fluid. They basically said, we don’t. I didn’t pursue it. But rather, I took it to mean a flush and fill just wasn’t what they told their customers they needed to keep a car on the road. And that’s ok, I couldn’t really tell you when I’ve done one last unless I have a bad head gasket or need to do the timing belts. Dealerships don’t even try to sell me on them.

Of course when I bring a car back from sitting a long time, I change all liquids. One fluid that you can actually feel go bad vs. the others is brake fluid. The pedal gets soft, the fluid get brown. It’s a mushy long push that turns you. Once I had a ’95 Miata for sale and the guy picked off the brown reservoir in the pictures. I only had the car a year as a driver so I didn’t address it… yet. But before he picked it up, I flushed the fluid and he drove away confident and happy.

The reservoir pictured here is off of a 1987 Jaguar XJ-S and I’ll venture to say it’s never been looked at. In fact, I’ve never seen fluid crystallize like that before. It looks like rock candy you made in kindergarten with a glass of sugar water and a string. I’ll save this one in case you want a lick. And what’s with the sediment? It echos rust but again with the crystals, stained with what was left of the brown fluid. I’d really start to wonder about this car but of all things, the radiator fluid is bright green and the oil is clean. Somebody at least didn’t neglect those areas.

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