A Car Is A Big Metal Thing That Takes Money

I drive a Volkswagen Golf. When it works, I love it. I love it because I like hatchbacks. They aren’t prevalent on American roads and maybe that makes me feel unique. It’s fun to drive and it’s just very stylish.

But I don’t have much of an idea of how cars work. I want to turn it on, drive it, and not have to hear any weird noise that freaks me out. I mean, I know HOW my car works, but I don’t like poking around in there too much. I can change my tires, refill washer fluid and clean the interior and exterior. Sometimes my dad helps me out with some maintenance…although it makes me nervous when he does because usually the engine light comes on when he’s finished.

3 years ago I got into an accident on my way back up to school from Thanksgiving break. I hit some ice, slipped, and turned my wheel all the way to the right. I overcompensated. The car did a 360 and I hit the guard rail. Fortunately no one was coming from the opposite way. I remember I had just put in NiN’s “The Fragile.” I was driving (not speeding) singing (or screaming) “TOO FUCKED UP TO CARE ANY slips….(!!!!)” I was completely silent when I was trying to stop my car. When I hit the rail I remember sitting there for about 10 seconds and then yelling “FUCK!!!” Since then I haven’t listened to that album in my car.

So, had to get work done for that.

About a year after that I had an argument with an ex-girlfriend and on my way out I broke my right side-view mirror on a tree outside.

After getting that fixed my front washers stopped working. Instead of a nice mist of washer fluid I get a little spirt on one side. I was irresponsible and didn’t go back to the repair place to see if it was something they did. The rear washer followed suit after that. It just dribbles down now. During the winter season I used to stop at every other gas station just to squeegee my windshield. Anyplace I asked to fix the problem ended up shrugging their shoulders and saying “Go to a dealer.”

VW dealers are not all over the place. Seems like you can find a Toyota or a Ford dealership on every corner. In my area there are only 2 and they’re both an hour or more away. Under normal circumstances I’d have to take a whole day off to get a repair done.

And the engine light comes on all the time, and it’s always something about the O2 sensor. Years ago I drove about 2 hours to get my car serviced because I wasn’t pleased with the closer dealership. They said the problem was the O2 sensor and that it would cost $200. After some arguing (I barely had 15,000 miles on it if I remember correctly) they finally repaired it at no charge. On the 2 hour ride home it came back on. Some googling will tell you that VW O2 sensors are WAY too sensitive. You put the gas cap on a certain way and it’ll come on and not disappear for a month.

I had an appointment for an inspection in January of this year. On my way to the appointment the light came on. So, I wasted $20 for them to tell me that I didn’t pass inspection, but I also had a very damaged tie rod. About $300 later I had a brand new tie-rod and the old one in a plastic bag. The car actually drives better than it ever has. After my accident repair I had sworn that there was something up with my steering wheel, that must’ve been it. I should’ve gotten that taken care of back then too.

My windows would collapse into the doors. Apparently the car had come installed with nylon cartridges that carry the front windows. I got those replaced for no charge, they collapsed again months later. I went back and they installed ones made of somekind of metal. I’ve had no problems since then.

There was also some problem with my rear brakes a while ago. Whenever I made a turn there was this slight grinding sound. I don’t know how that happened. It’s possible I had my emergency brake on during some cold winter nights.

My battery died in December last year. Got a new one at a NAPA auto parts.

The glove box hinge is broken because it’s made of weak plastic. When it’s opened it just collapses.

Also, during February I got a headlight out. I’ve attempted to repair it on my own with some help from my dad, but whenever I go to an auto parts store they always seem to give me the wrong part, even after taking the salesman out to the car and pointing at the light that isn’t working.

So, after feeling like I’m endangering myself and every other person on the road and getting sick of returning parts and getting a steady paycheck, I’ve scheduled service for next week. I hate sitting and waiting for a repair, so I’m dropping the car off at night and picking it up 24 hours later. This will be the definitive repair. Getting the light fixed, the washers fixed, making sure the battery is in right, and an oil change. If I think of anything else (engine light is currently on, but it’s also the equivalent of some boy crying wolf) I’ll let them know.

I’m almost afraid of what they’ll say when they call me about repair authorization when I’m at work. It’s kind of like how if a person feels a lump on their body they’re afraid to go to the doctor because they don’t really want to know that it’s cancer. That, and I could end up feeling like how my parents must feel like when I’m trying to help them with a computer problem:

Mom: This icon doesn’t work! Me: Alright, we can fix it. Hmm…this is odd. Were you messing with the registry? Mom: What’s a registry?! Me: It’s just something that keeps tabs on applications and stuff. Were you in it? Mom: …no. Me: Because this can only have been modified in the registry. Mom: I wasn’t in the registry. Me: Are you sure? Mom: I guess… Me: Any new programs? Mom: …I played solitaire. Me: I see…

So, if all goes well I can go back to completely enjoying my car again. My next car (don’t even want to think about getting a new one for ages) is going to have a much longer warranty (this car only got 2 years) and will be a hybrid. I hate how dealers and car manufacturers do everything they can to get you to buy something and then forget about you right after the sale to move on to the next customer/victim. That’s part of the reason why I’ve tried to learn about my car as much as possible. But sometimes you just have to grin and bear it, and let the dealers take advantage of you just so you can feel secure…even if it’s false.

4 thoughts on “A Car Is A Big Metal Thing That Takes Money”

  1. It’s not really about being unique though. These problems could happen with any car. I have a friend who used to drive a Ford and that car’s engine light was on all the time.<br/><br/>Why did you get a Powerbook? Why did you tell your brother not to get a Dell and to get a Powerbook, even though it would cost him more money? Not so that you and him could be unique, right?

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