If you’re new to my blog, you don’t know about The Car. If you’re familiar with my life, the Saga continues.
Assuming you’re new, here’s what’s been happening. I was driving a 12 year-old Taurus with 214,000 miles on it. It recently tried to commit suicide. I really can’t blame it. If I was the vanilla pudding of automobiles, I’d want to die too. So one day I started it in the Sam’s Club parking lot and there was a loud explosion and the car sounded like I’d put a screwdriver into the engine.
I faced a mix of happy and sad thoughts as I assumed the car was dead. After all, I was 18 months away from handing this totally paid for automotive joy to Snarky Daughter and getting myself a reasonable mid-life crisis (Mini Cooper, anyone?). I had a Plan. But, it was paid off, and The Plan involved paying down debt first. So, while waiting for an hour and a half for the tow truck, I thanked God for smart phones and cruised the local dealerships online.
And then my ex-husband fixed the car. Which had literally blown a spark plug out of whatever they sit in. Yeah, that’s not scary. But he fixed it, for which I thanked him profusely with meals for the day and a half that he worked on it and a homemade apple pie.
But the mileage was never the same. When I realized it had dropped to 20 mpg highway, I pulled out my high school algebra, did some calculations, called the ex again, and determined I needed a new-to-me car.
And I bought a car that night. No, it’s not as crazy as it sounds. Remember, there is a mid-life crisis in my future. All I need is a car that gets wicked-good mileage for that lovely 92-mile commute to the day job. Because in 18 months, I’m handing over the keys to Snarky Daughter, who will say Thank You, and be thankful that I chose the car that is Ferrari red and a lot more fun to drive than the Taurus. Hard to believe a Sentra can be fun, but I’ve been driving a Taurus for a long time.
And now I have a manual transmission. At least I would have it, if I didn’t keep taking it back to the dealer. Problems started 12 hours after I got the car, and the issues have been small in the scope of issues, but issues nonetheless.
I took it back to the dealer yesterday because my fuel-injected car required me pressing the gas in order to start it, and rumor has it the point of fuel-injection is that you’re not supposed to have to do that. So, while the warranty was still in place, I wanted them to check it out.
According to them, the throttle plate was sticking, so they de-gunked it (their technical term, not mine), and we were off to the races again. Or not. On the way home (after the service desk was closed), I realized all was not well. Not bad, but off. For instance, I still needed to hit the gas to start the car.
But on the way to the day job the car was idling high, reving and dropping. Odd. So, I ping the ex (there are benefits to working at the same place), and invite him for a test drive around the company compound over lunch. He came back with this to say:
You need to call them. Now. They didn’t fix anything and now the check engine light is on.
At this point I think, OK, I’m done. It’s cute, and it has a stick shift, which has been really fun, and it’s Ferarri red but Japanese so it should run, but I can’t keep taking time from work to take care of this. And the dealership doesn’t offer loaners for same day fixes, so I am taking time off to deal with it.
More importantly, I am now missing drinks with a friend after work. I have been looking forward to that beer since, no lie, Tuesday.
But I am a mature, responsible, pissed off adult so I place the call and talk to Management, and they promise me a loaner. I show up early and throw the fit of all fits with the service person I have been working with. Who is really nice, and this is not her fault. I know that, but I have hit my limit.
I talk to Management some more and say, “Look. I don’t want to see it again until you’d let your wife or your 16 year-old daughter drive it. In the middle of nowhere. Without a cell phone. If you can’t do that, tear up the sales slip and let’s walk out there and I’ll find something new. Seriously, I’m not that hard to please. I’ve been driving a Taurus* since the last century.”
Now Management tells me all the things I already know. They probably did something to a sensor yesterday. This should not be a big deal. Which I already know since I brought it in and asked them to look at the spark plugs, which they didn’t do. And he promises me that if they have bought something they shouldn’t have and sold it to me, we will find something else. I am mildly appeased, but dreading the piece of shit Chevy Cobalt (think Fisher Price car) that they’re going to give me as a loaner because that’s what they gave me for visit number one.
Make note: apparently if you hold two additional car purchases in the next four years over their heads, tell them your four car history with them is at an end now, and then point out they’ve had your new-to-you vehicle almost as much as you have over the past two weeks, they throw you a bone on visit number 3.
A Nissan Altima with leather interior, one of those funky automatic-but-you-can-shift-like-a-manual transmissions, and heated seats (right where my back hurts most). It’s like piloting the space shuttle, assuming the shuttle doesn’t need a key.
I looked at the nice service chick and said, “Um, I love the car I bought if you can make it run. This is not helping me love it though. Heated seats, really?”
And they’d already turned them on. Which almost makes up for missing out on drinks after work. Almost. I’m pretty sure I was going to get some great writing inspiration out of that!
Tune in next week when we’ll solve the mystery of What Did They Loosen/Break When Fixing It.
*Please note: The Taurus is a really good, responsible, reliable family car. I have had three (if you include the Sable, which is the same body style, etc) over the past 14 years. It holds me, two kids and two large dogs, as well as our luggage and two dog kennels. But nobody should have to drive one for 14 years.