Hey, it’s a great little car…when it runs!!!
Friday night, I pick up the kids from daycare and pick-up Justin from our house so that we can go pick up his truck from the shop. He had a bunch of well-needed maintenance work done and the shop we go to are great about letting us pay over the phone and pick the car up after-hours (since I usually don’t get home until around 6:30pm).
Justin gets in the car, he’s in a great mood. Gavin’s happy to see Daddy and Cooper is sleeping. We go to the shop, pick up the truck, Gavin jumps in with Justin, and we head out for the 6-mile or so trip back home. While waiting at a light, my car stutters a second. I think “hmmm…that’s weird” and put it in neutral until the light changes. I then put it in drive and gently ease it through the intersection. About half-way through, it starts stuttering and shuddering and stops responding well to my increased pressure on the gas pedal (hey, just wanted out of harm’s way). My traction light comes on (tells me that the fancy traction thing that keeps me from sliding all over the road in bad conditions is not working) and my yellow Check-Engine light starts blinking. I throw on my hazards, call Justin (who was, by now, 1/2 mile in front of me), and tell him I’m breaking down and I’m pulling into a Burger King. He’s very calm over the phone, which was a good thing, since I was panicking because I was starting to lose my power-breaks. As I’m waiting to turn left into the restaurant, the car continues to get noisy (like it lost its muffler or something) and shuddering worse. I see a big break in oncoming traffic and prayed a little prayer to get past safely. As I hit the gas and turned, I felt the car shudder again and I lost my power-steering, too, and had to nearly stand on the gas to not only make it through two lanes of traffic, but to also give me more leverage to turn the silly car so that I didn’t hit the curb instead.
So I get into the parking lot of the Burger King and was literally rocking back-and-forth in an effort to will my car to continue forward towards a parking space (and not the driving areas of the lot). I rolled into a space…well, over a couple of spaces…and couldn’t get the silly thing any farther. So I put it in park, turned it off, sent up a prayer to God for keeping Cooper and I safe while I tried to cross that busy traffic, then promptly burst into tears.
I’m not exactly sure why I started crying, although I know I was annoyed when Justin asked me. I guess I was scared because it broke down while I had one of the kids with me, scared because we REALLY don’t have the money for what seems like another costly repair (we’ve already sunk over $2500 into the silly thing since April), upset because we’re really budgeted tightly right now with our giant increase in daycare expenses, annoyed because I really try to make sure I take care of this car so that it will last us a while because we’re not at a point where we can afford a car payment right now (it’s paid-off) or the increase in insurance that a newer car would bring, and sad because I really do like my little car but I just cannot trust it as much anymore, it seems. So literally, that entire paragraph went through my head and out it came as tears and steering-wheel beatings. Also, nasty oaths about leaving it in a bad part of town where someone who won’t love it as much will take it and defile it and put a really funky-huge non-manufacturer endorsed spoiler, like this one.
So really, if anyone wants a little car to putter around to-and-from the grocery store, or for short commutes (less than my 60-mile/day commute), just contact me. According to Kelley Blue Book, it’s worth about $4,600 once I have it repaired. I’m willing to sell it at $4,000 because I know if I try to trade it in, the Dealer will screw me big-time even though the car is in excellent shape (besides the silly non-running thing right now). Here’s a list of all the great attributes of my little car:
- it is a 2001 Chevy Cavalier LS, 2.4 L sport engine, four doors, good paint, indigo blue, clean grey cloth interior with a rear spoiler (extra sporty!), and that increased traction control thing I talked about earlier
- it’s got a CD player and a cassette player, power windows, power locks
- about 84,500 miles (highway miles, baby!)
- tires are 2-1/2 years old, but are in EXCELLENT condition…we’re stunned at how great the tread looks on the tires considering how long they’ve been on the car
- brakes and rotors done last fall…still in great working condition
- new water-pump, timing kit and belts, and new battery in April
- new body control module (aka electronic computer thingy) in July…three days before I gave birth to Cooper
- it parks nicely into small spots
- has working heat and a/c
- when I don’t have all my crap in the car, it comfortably seats four adults (or two adults and two car seats, or any variation there-of, although not three car seats cuz then one would be in front and that is just bad, bad, bad)
- uncomfortably seats five adults (or three adults and two car seats, or four adults and one car seat)
ignition module (aka ignition computer thingy)nope…back to square one…new ignition module doesn’t make a lick of difference…going to return useless ignition module and hit Plan B–tear the thing into five bazillion trillion and ten pieces and see what else it could be
So everyone, be sure to go out to your garage, your assigned parking spot, or wherever you park your vehicle, and be sure to give your well-behaved car a hug. And prayers for my problem-child car would be greatly appreciated (as well as a bake-sale or candy-sale to raise funds for repairs…I also wouldn’t mind some wine right now so that I am prepared for the shop calling me with the repair quote).