One prediction (or wishful thinking) from a year ago has come true and there was a Chrysler 300 sitting in the DT Dobie showroom on Sunday. The car which has won numerous awards, and featured in every other rap video since it was introduced, can now be bought by Kenyan motorists (w/right hand drive steering) at a price of 5 – 6 million shillings ($85,000 after our prohibitive taxes are added up) [Chrysler site prices them at $25 to $36,000]
Unfortunately it shares the DT Dobie showroom with its corporate sister – the world beating Mercedes Benz E-class which is just about every other Kenyan’s dream car. Also, as with most American cars, the engine size does not make its fuel consumption pocket friendly at our petrol prices (~$4.3/gallon) even though Chrysler states that the 300’s consumption is better than that of a Subaru Legacy GT (common on Kenyan roads).
Is coolant necessary?
Over the weekend I had to top up a car radiator and found myself having to choose between water and coolant. In my experience coolant (aka anti freeze) is designed primarily for winter weather driving where water (in sub-zero temperatures) will freeze and damage engine systems.
Yet, most cars are imported to Kenya from winter countries (arriving with coolant already in the radiator system) – and while Kenyan drivers have always used water in in their car engines (petrol & diesel), many vehicle owners insist on using coolant since that is what the car is accustomed to.
But is it really necessary? Coolant is sold at petrol stations at prices ranging from 250 shilling to 500 shillings ($7). This is as much as what many drivers pay for fuel at the station. I have always used water, and while have occasionally bought coolant, I have never noticed any difference.
In searching the web, the best answer I could find, implied some benefit to some cars from using coolant instead of water.
Many cars overheat because dirty water is poured in to the radiator (usualy by petrol stations attendant). If car owners were careful about ensuring that onlu clean water is used, they can save some money instead of buying unnecessary coolant.
bullet proof cars
There was a story in the Sunday Nation about a company (Radar Danminar) that would soon be selling bullet-proof Toyota land cruisers for 19 million shillings ($270,000) . Alternately they could make your current car bulletproof in a few weeks time for 10 million shillings.
The article rightly points out armored cars are not the answer/will not prevent car jacking of motorists as their cost is too high and you can only arm huge, powerful cars like Land cruisers, Mercs, or BMW’s, and not smaller 1600cc Toyotas that most Kenyans drive.