Sunday, November 09, 2008

Auto Killer Aura

I've owned a lot of cars in my time. Of our household, my car is normally the least used, its main function to ferry me to and from school/work. And most cars I've owned have actually performed marvellously with very little problems. However...

When they go, they go BIG! It's almost as if in order to serve me and give me the least amount of problems, they save up all those little bits and let them grow and grow until one day - WHAM! Major issue, kaput, done, gone, money-pit-if-you're-crazy-and-really-want-to-keep-it bad.

My first car was a used Mustang I drove back and forth to UTA. One day on the way back home I hear this gigantic BAM sound and was forced to pull over to the side of the freeway as the car would not go anymore. I'd thrown a rod. It was but the first Auto Death I would suffer.

I've destroyed transmissions, engines, assemblies, if its big I've done it in. And every time it has been totally out of the blue. No warnings, no little hints, just utter and total death.

Friday found the latest victim. My poor Black Ion... Halfway to work I went to shift gears and got nothing. Tried again, got only engine reving noises. Pulled into a parking lot on momentum realizing something was totally amiss. Got a little freaky when I parked and could move the stick shift without using the clutch in any direction I wanted. Oh dear!

Over three hours later, hubby and I had the car at the Saturn dealership. Knowing my killer aura and the fact the car was now paid for and out of warranty despite the low miles, we're having to weigh how much cost we want to absorb before just giving in and getting another car. Already we know the damage is related to the transmission, never a good sign. They have to do diagnostics on it and will take a while -- just to look at it is $100. So starving by this point, we go have lunch and run errands, the day pretty much shot by this point. In comes the call - the gear shift assembly casing fell apart. At least it wasn't the transmission. The price to fix it is below the threshold we'd calculated so we give the go ahead. Should be Monday/Tuesday before they get the part and can fix it. Awesome! Curse averted!

Or so I thought...

Saturday we're scrambling to get to a rental place and get a car before they close at noon so I have wheels to go to work in Monday. Got that settled and the car home and are about to go to lunch when in comes a call from the dealership. They got the part early, fixed the problem, took it out on a test drive and shifting into first and second gear is a little difficult. Did we have a problem with those two gears before? Uhm, no? Could be a piece of the assembly went into the second chamber of the transmission, but to find out would be a whole lot more cash and that's just to take a look. Or you could just take the car as is now. Could drive fine forever or could have the same problem again tomorrow -- no way to tell. Ever get that horrible sinking feeling in the pit of your stomach? Sigh...

So off we went to look at cars! (Hubby gets very paranoid about me being out and about so no way was he going to let me drive a possible breakdown tomorrow car - I wasn't feeling too great about it myself. And of course we'd already spent over $1k so far. Grrrr) I'd actually spent a couple of hours the day before doing some research on cars I'd been wanting to do trying, thinking of possibly getting a hybrid and looking for some cheap wheels. Hybrids are cool and depending on the one you're looking at, quite fuel efficient, but the price tags are not on the cheap and that's just for the basic model. One thing we learned yesterday was that the basic price is never one you will find when you go to buy. As multiple places get a hold of the car after it leaves the factory, they do stuff to it, and every time they do something, the sticker goes up. I wanted to check out the Toyota Yaris which starts at $12K. (Would have loved to check out a Smart Car, but with their waiting lists, I knew there was no way I could get one that DAY, so that was out.) All the Yaris's in the lot had been souped to $17K minimum. Dang! And since I needed a car NOW it wasn't like I could order the base model and wait for delivery. Grrr.

Drove a couple of used models as they were pushing those pretty heavily and the warranty for the POT is 7yrs 100K miles which is a lot longer than the standard warranty. Also with my aura of death, sounded like a smart thing to have. Still we looked at new and used - the used ones he was showing were low mileage 2008's. Didn't feel comfortable in the Yaris so the guy had me try out a Scion. Oooo pretty pretty metallic red! Felt strange, but I liked. (I kept trying to shift. Have been driving manual transmission for 20 plus years, so automatic is taking some getting used to.) So...many hours later, I ended up with a car. Didn't get lunch till about 4:30PM eek! (Surprised I didn't eat someone's arm. But then I was freaking enough as it was.) And I have wheels again! Woot!

Now to find where all the buttons are... Ugh... :)

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