The Eastern New Mexico News - Serving Clovis, Portales and the Surrounding Communities

By Kevin Wilson
Managing editor 

Silence not first choice for car noise


March 18, 2018

With a car closing in on 100,000 miles, my biggest fear is I’ll hear something I shouldn’t. Not only is it going to be expensive, but I’m going to have to prove how little I know about cars when I impersonate the sound it’s making.

Just as frightening? No sound at all.

I hit a bump in the road a few months ago, and my satellite radio cut out. Another bump and it came back in.

Same thing with the CD player, the FM radio and the auxiliary MP3 player.

I tried to make the best of a bad scenario. We’re likely dealing with a loose connection, and that’s not too difficult to fix. Better yet, it’s going to be easy to tell the mechanic what a non-functioning stereo sounds like.

The bad scenario, unfortunately, became a worse scenario. “It’s not a bad connection; your stereo’s failing. We took it out and checked it out, and one of the circuits just stopped.”

For roughly the same money, I could either get another version of the original factory radio or I could go to a local stereo shop and get a basic model installed. I went for the latter, because 2018 basic technology beats 2009 advanced technology.

Pretty much everything I looked at had the same basic options — Bluetooth so you could play music wirelessly and take hands-free phone calls, AM/FM radio and satellite radio so you can switch when you get tired of one, a USB port to charge and play music and the headphone-jack auxiliary cable that never goes out of style.

What did amaze me were how many of these were just stereo receivers now, when they all used to be called CD players. Half of them didn’t play CDs.

I get it, but it still amazes me; I don’t play many CDs anymore, but I want to have the ability? What if some black-ops government agency has chosen me to foil a jewel heist, but they give me the instructions via audio CD? For that reason, I chose a model with a CD player and waited for the custom fitting parts to come in.

Over those two weeks while my car went silent, I did not like it. It’s one thing to enjoy silence, but another to have it be your only option ... especially when making a solo trip to Lubbock. It’s like you’re being introduced to yourself at a party, and after a few minutes you think, “This guy’s kind of boring.” But you look around to see nobody else is at the party.

I tried playing my music through my phone speakers, but they didn’t fill the car like I hoped. I tried to add a Bluetooth speaker, but I couldn’t get the placement right. I have headphones, but if I’m going to wear those while driving I should just order the bumper sticker right now: “Pull this guy over now.”

Before I had to check myself into the loony bin, I got a call. My stereo harness just came in, and installation shouldn’t take too long. I dropped off the car, grabbed lunch and came back to a finished installation.

I drove into a nearby parking lot and skimmed through the instruction manuals so I could pair my phone, program my favorite radio stations and pick the first CD the new stereo would play.

Two weeks in, and no covert agency has sent me instructions. But the day isn’t over yet. Jewel thieves, be afraid.

Kevin Wilson is managing editor of The Eastern New Mexico News. Contact him at:

[email protected]


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