Thursday, June 14, 2007

The Trouble with Cars. . .

New cars are great. They look cool; modern, shiny and super clean. That distinctive new car smell. I personally like the peace of mind of knowing that almost anything that goes wrong with the car is someone else's problem to fix, and will only cost me some of my time. We have a new car, a Subaru, and I really like it. It has yet to give me any problems.

Then there's our not-so-new car, the Honda Civic. I really love that car. It is very well thought out. It's not perfect, but the engineering is impressive. We've had the car for almost four years, and it's lost some of its sparkle. In the past four years its been through a lot. It has many dings and two very large dents from falling ice and snow. It has been broken into to twice and in the first robbery sustained a broken window, torn seat and chipped paint, resulting in repainting of the rear passenger door. The windshield is currently a mess. Chip #1 happened within a month of owning it, followed by another a few months later. There is a crack in the windshield that has managed to make it through 2 inspections, which we have been psyched about. Rust spots are appearing left and right, and there is a scratches on the rear bumper, driver's door and trunk. In other words, there is an abundance of cosmetic imperfections.

On the day known as Easter, we received a giant, dime-sized, chip to the windshield, which quickly grew when (ahem) my husband pushed on it. . . and has grown slightly since. Today it grew some more, and is now peeking out from under the sun visor, indicating that we will have to replace it sometime soon. I noticed this new growth on my way for the 55,000 mile oil change, and was feeling a little bummed that our car wasn't as new as it used to be.

Then I ran over something on VanSicklen Road that made a horrible sound. It sounded like I scraped off the whole bottom half of my car. I looked in the rear view mirror, and didn't see anything of consequence, so I continued to drive. Then I started hearing strange noises. I quickly realized the noises were emanating from my vehicle, and I pulled over to check it out. I had a flat tire. Damn. (Using gmaps pedometer I discovered I drove over 3 miles before I noticed the flat.)

I figured I was on my way to the Honda dealer anyway . . . so I kept driving. I stopped a second time when the noise got worse. I was closer now, so I kept driving. I didn't think it was possible but the noise got even worse, the kind of noise where strangers stare at you. Then the car started acting strangely on curves and turns, and then I encountered a little bit of rattling as I approached the dealership. That tire did not smell good. I was stupid enough to touch it, it was hot! (In hindsight, I understand about the friction, etc., but I just didn't think about it at the time.) All said and done, I drove approximately 6.5 miles on that flat tire.

The nice people at the Honda dealership put the "donut" on my car and advised me to get a replacement tire, citing that my current tire was not repairable, but they put it in my trunk nonetheless.

I raced home (well, as much as you can race on a donut) and called Costco, since I had purchased my tires there. The man on the phone said he had my tire in stock, but his first appointment time was on Monday! I tried to impart my dilemma, and how I was driving around on a tiny tire and he did some checking for me. He said if I came right away, they could fit me in! I drove right over in 5:00 traffic and was out of there by 6:00, after spending the majority of my time sitting in a display patio chair and reading Mrs. Frisby and the Rats of Nimh. To my amazement, they didn't charge me for the tire! (It was a little more than a year old, and I use snow tires, which they gave me two new ones of in November, due to one torn bead.) Thank you Costco!

So, that was about four hours worth of my afternoon. Now it's time to replace that windshield.

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