Friday, July 17, 2015

I Hate My Car, Part 12

This week my car was in the shop.

It happens. Quite frequently, in fact. I believe this is the eighth time so far this year that I've dropped it off at a mechanic. Don't ask me why I haven't bought a new car yet. I don't know. Probably for the same reasons abused women stay with their boyfriends. This time he's really sorry and he won't ever do it again, I'm sure of it.

I met my car four years ago, two months out of college and a fresh job offer in my hand. I was ready to be a Real Adult, and Real Adults drive themselves places instead of hitching a ride with nine other people in their friend's mother's old minivan. I went car shopping and came back with what my friends would eventually come to call the Truthmobile (the journalist version of the Batmobile), a 2007 Ford Taurus (Insert Ford joke here. I've heard them all by now.)

The next morning it wouldn't start. If my life were a movie, Taylor Swift would have been singing "I Knew You Were Trouble" in the background while I blithely ignored the warning signs. There was no music, however, because my life is not a movie. Also the battery was dead so the radio didn't work.

After the dealership apologized and gave me a new battery for free, life was good for a while. And by a while I mean for two months, until some lady came into work one day and told me she had hit my car in the parking lot. I went out expecting a small dent and instead found out my entire front passenger door was smashed inward. To this day I cannot fathom how she worked up that much speed in that small of a parking lot. Or how the state of Oregon granted her a driver's license when she was so blind she could not see AN ENTIRE PARKED CAR.

She had insurance though, so it was all good. And by all good I mean my car worked fine for about three more months before I had the quintessential car repair experience for every American who doesn't know anything about cars: I told a mechanic that my car was making a funny noise, they told me a part was broken, and the name of the part sounded plausible so I gave them a bunch of money and the grindy squeaky noise went away.

Life was good again, at least until about six months later when my air conditioner would only work on the highest setting. I probably would have just lived with that one, but my mom did some research online figured out how to fix it.

Next came the infamous Cardboard Box Incident of 2013, in which I backed over an empty cardboard box in the alley behind my office and it somehow ripped off the exhaust pipe that runs the length of my car.

2014, however, was the golden year for my relationship with the Truthmobile. My car worked the entire year, minus that one time the engine randomly shut off while I was driving down the road. Cars will be cars, however, so I let that one slide.

The whole random engine shut-off thing came back with a vengeance in 2015, however, at the same time the passenger side of my car started flooding every time it rained. The mechanics at the dealership were baffled by the stalling, but they did order me a new rain cowel to stop the leaking and I brought my car back I to have it installed. Then my car flooded again. Then they took an entire day to decide that the part they had installed was faulty. Then the new part came in. Then my car flooded again. Then they told me the same part but on the other side was broken. Then that part came in. Then I decided maybe it was time to get a new mechanic.

The new mechanic told me I had water in my gas tank and I just needed to use a combination of HEET and premium gas for the next month or so. The stalling got worse, though, until this week when I took it to yet another mechanic who cleaned out the throttle body and it has been working fine for two whole days now so I'm optimistic.

I should probably get a new car, but breaking up is hard to do. We have the same friends. It would be awkward if we ran into each other around town. Plus, how do people even meet new cars these days? Tinder? I'm not sure I'm ready for that type of thing.