Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Driven to Distraction and Round the Bend


On another day closer to the lunatic asylum, my very good friend from AAA informed me my car was finally repaired and it would cost a me a mere $1,900 to be again driving on the open highway a dream vehicle that, I recently discovered in a poll of 33 small cars was ranked number 33.

The news made me choke due to the box of mints I was forced to swallow in the absence of something stronger РCr̬me de Menthe in the cup I used for my tooth brush, perhaps,

“Sure this isn’t AA,” I spluttered, mints flying across the room and hitting unsuspecting colleagues. “I could use your services.”

The car fiasco proved to be such a Catch 22 that I considered just junking it and getting something else. But every time I landed nervously on a parking lot, I got collared by a representative who would come sprinting out of his representative box like a greyhound from a cage and try to get me to sign a deal for a car I had never seen before asking my name. I got to the stage of driving by the car lot slowly, leaving the engine running and sprinting back into my car before the rep. showed up or prowling the parking lots at night, a practice that carries its own peculiar risks.

So after a day or two of dithering I found myself agreeing to the repairing of all the twisted valves caused by the shattered timing belt, that was replaced about a year ago because I didn’t want it to shatter and twist all my valves.

Twisted valves is never a pleasant topic of conversation, especially if this information is imparted by an old lady while you are waiting at the doctor’s surgery flicking through some of the arcane magazines they have there. Baku Weaver’s World – that kind of thing.

I thought of getting heavy with my mechanic but he’s kind of heavy anyway so I guess I’ll slip away quietly and find another mechanic and stop boasting to people about how I’ve found a guy who’ll fix my car on the cheap.


Sadly I have been driving a rented Toyota for a week and notwithstanding some of those telltale signs of a rental car (why do people who rent cars see fit to stub out cigarettes on the seat?), it has been so great to drive a car that’s Japanese and has no discernible American parts. I know there are a few worrying stories about Toyotas and gas pedals but this Corolla seriously rocks. It even has electric windows.

11 comments:

  1. I'm very sorry to hear this news. It made my stomach drop when I read the amount. I hate car problems. HATE THEM.

    Your car doesn't have electric windows?! What year is it again? Is it a vintage car? That's so strange!

    Toyotas do rock! I have an '03 Camry that I love to drive. I just got so paranoid during that whole brakes not working thing and all. Eep!

    Good luck...

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  2. We've had many car woes over the years. There's no way around it. Cars are expensive to own and maintain and repair. At least you have the rental car in the meantime. Hope your car is up and running again soon.

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  3. This reminds me of my first car when I was in college, especially the timing belt scene. I switched to a Japanese (Nissan which is made 100% in Japan) car after it refused to budge even for the cheapest and smartest or heaviest mechanics. The next twenty years was bliss. (OK I am not that old but you know what I mean).

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  4. Wow. Clunker car stories, that could be a whole blog in itself. I had one with a rusted out trunk - you could see straight through - but that was back in the good old days when all teenage boys worked on cars, so a guy welded sheet metal over the holes and it was all good. A week later I was driving down the interstate when the muffler dropped. Dragging on the pavement, sparks a' flyin'. So I stood by the road for 15 minutes trying to kick the damned thing off entirely (too hot to handle). Some guy stopped, got under and rehung it with a metal coat hanger (which we kept in cars cuz you could pop the locks if you locked your keys in the car). These days, lock the keys in and you're screwed.

    Got sidetracked. That's a steep bill, especially since replacing the timing belt LAST year probably cost you a large chunk of change too. All I can say is, at today's prices that $1900 would amount to maybe...5 total car payments on a new car, leaving 3-4 more years of payments. So maybe you're still ahead after all.

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  5. Whenever I pass a car with its hood up and occupants standing idly by, looking pathetic and vulnerable, I always say a little prayer for them lest the vengeful car gods tinker with my valves.
    I hate that you're having troubles and I'm saying a dutiful prayer;)

    BTW, I drive a Toyota Corolla and love it!

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  6. I tend to drive my cars into the ground because I cannot stand the thought of shopping for a car. Actually, the last two cars that I got I didn't even look at them before the purchase. I asked my my husband to take care of it, and he bought them without me. He did alright, too. Glad he's OK with doing the dirty work! ;)
    Hugs to your car.

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  7. Did you check to see if there was a recall on your vehicle for the timing belt? My BIL has a SAAB and it just stopped on the freeway. They towed it and the repair for the fuel tank was some awful amount. I did research and contacted SAAB USA (they live in Australia) and there was indeed a recall. The SAAB Australia peeps didn't get the memo. Either that or they still have their criminal genes. Anyway, it is worth a shot.

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  8. Sorry to hear the news. My car just packed up, and no mechanic knew how to start it up again. Anyway, I had it towed away for good and got a few hundred dollars for it, which payed mechanic for all his efforts. I decided I had pumped enough money into it.

    Good luck!

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  9. I am so sorry to hear of your car woes. A shattered timing belt no less. Your way of relaying the awful news is light hearted, even amusing. I hope that one day soon, with the whole incident behind you, that you will be able to smile too.

    Cheers!
    Julie
    Julie Magers Soulen Photography

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  10. hey Jen - sadly no. It was new in 2005 but was a 'base model' thanks Daisy, it's as no win because of you trade it in you have car payments. I know Shopgirl -time to do the Japanese thing.

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  11. wow Li - your clunker stories would make a blog on its own. on wow Leah - i could use a Toyota. oh yeah Jayne, let your husband do the dirty work. for sure - worth a shot Lidia. That sounds like a plan Jacqueline, thanx Julie - appreciate it

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