Car Wars Episode 6 – The Breakdown

My car is now over 12 years old.  And in car years, that's no spring chicken.  But, it's lived a sheltered life, either in a car port or in a garage.  And talk about pampered!  It only has about 62,000 miles.  But it's made it very clear in the last month that it is hitting a (hopefully) mid-life crisis.

So, as I was feeling the car acting a little funny in low speed corners, so the evening of the zoo trip, we took it to the mechanic to get looked at:

  • Engine mounts (The cause of the steering issue)
  • Rear shocks & struts
  • Brakes
  • Rear tires resealed.  (Aluminum rims = Slow leaks)

We pick it up the next day, pay our $1,200 bill, and get in the car.

It won't start.  Battery will turn it over, but it won't catch.

  • Timing belt.  Mechanic says if it had broken while driving down the road, the engine would have seized up and I would have been looking at a replacement engine.  That's another $400.

Then, 2 weeks later, we are driving around on a Saturday when I try to turn on the air.  It's blowing warm air.


So, we go to the calling hours for the husband on my mom's best friend from high school trying not to sweat in the car or get too windblown from the open windows and sunroof in the process.

  • A/C condenser.  That's another $875 into the pit.

So, on the drive home, we turn on the air, and it's blowing cool-ish air.  No way I'm dropping that kind of coin on cool-ish air.  For almost $900, I want the freakin' polar vortex coming out of my vents.  So back to the shop it went.

  • Gasket on new AC leaked out coolant – Free!

So far everything's working, but I'm keeping an eye on it.  With a book value around $3,000, I've basically bought the car again in the last month.  (A tank of gas made up the difference.)  With a daughter heading into college in a year, I'm really going to need this car to hang on another 5 years or so.

So, Memorial Day weekend, we drive down to Southern Indiana for a cousin's graduation.  We're 300 miles out of town on a hot weekend, and guess what?

The AC goes out!  AGAIN!

That was a looooong drive home.