A First for Me: My Car Died. While Driving.

Fun morning
Jerk

So today was a fun day.

Leave for work.
Fill up my gas tank.
Get a few miles from home.
And … my car died.

In the middle of a kind of busy road.

Yay! Luckily I was able to get to the median before it pretty much stopped.

Called my parents and left a message on the answering machine (knowing they were asleep – my Dad works evenings and my Mom was off today), then called for a tow. By the time I got off the phone, a cop showed up and offered to push me into the nearest parking lot. And I was able to reach my parents. They (both of them – like a field trip) showed up after the cop left, but before the tow truck arrived. I told them I was just going to get a tow to their mechanic, who has been the family mechanic forever. (OK, maybe just for 37 years … since they got married and started this family.) My parents (and possibly my brother) have even bought used cars off of him. My Dad asked if I had called to let him know my car was coming, and I hadn’t, so I did.

Well guess who finally retired? And closed his shop altogether, and sold the building it was in? This is all according to an automated message. Came as a surprise to my parents, they were just there a few weeks ago.

Of course then it’s like … well we have no idea where else to go … we’ve been going to the same guy for 37 years. Ended up going to a mechanic that’s been open forever. (Almost literally … since 1914, so pretty much for as long as there have been cars.)

Anyway, all morning my parents kept guessing that it was my fuel pump, because both of them have had cars die while driving, and in both cases it was the fuel pump. (And their stories sound horrifying – this was pre-cellphones, and both had their cars die on the expressway.) Well, turns out it was the fuel pump. When I told my mom, she said “I was right – I love being right.” (Shocking!!!)

So add this to the list of crap that has had to be repaired on my car within the past year. I assume it’s because for the first 5 years I had my car, my commute was always pretty short (at first I was taking the train to work so I only had to drive a mile and a half to the train station, then I got a new job and my commute was 12 miles each way, then I moved and my commute was less than 3 miles each way).

But last year we moved and my commute became 29 miles each way. And my car hit 100K miles. And that’s when stuff started falling apart on my car. New tires (expected), new fan belt, new alternator, the exhaust system still needs to be replaced, then one new tire (nail), I know I’m forgetting other stuff. And my brakes are still squeaking (last mechanic said they were OK though, I’d like another opinion when I can afford the possible consequences).

Now my commute is 12 miles each way (again … because I moved back in with my parents) so hopefully this pace of car repairs slows down. Because we’re still paying off The Sailor’s car and I really don’t want two car payments at the same time. My car needs to at least make it to next spring. Maybe I should start driving The Sailors car to work. He takes the train.

And I can only imagine how much fun it gets when you add home ownership to the mix.

How’s your car? What do you drive, and do you like it? Can you make it past 100K miles with a long-ish commute and not have everything crap out? That seems to be the true test … 

One comment

  • 9 September, 2011 - 10:11 pm | Permalink

    Booooooo!!!! I have a 2004 Saturn Vue Redline with 92000 miles on it and I PRAY that all those weird noises it's making are just arthritis and not cancer. No mechanic can tell me what they are, and I've been to three of them. My commute for the last four years has been 50 miles a day, or so. I love my car…..but…. I mean it's PERFECT for hauling bikes inside, and I can't find a good replacement….so I need for it to just keep on truckin'.

    Good luck Maggie!

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