I took my car in for an oil change yesterday, and the mechanic comes running in with a very upset look on his face: “Your water pump is loose, there’s a big puddle of antifreeze under your car.. you should get that checked!” I shrugged it off, since I already knew antifreeze leaks from the gasket and figured it was just normal leakage..
So I drive to Subway, have a sandwich, and as I’m turning onto 130 to head back to work, I feel my steering wheel jerk a bit, and suddenly the steering just didn’t feel right. I didn’t think much of it, since 130 is pretty straight and I don’t need to turn.. I pull into the parking lot at work, the wheel is really stiff, like the power steering isn’t working? I turn off the engine… STEAM! I pop the hood open to investigate.. HOLY CRAP! LOTS OF STEAM! AND ANTIFREEZE ALL OVER THE ENGINE AND UNDER MY CAR! There’s a giant pool of it just flowing out from under my car, and steam is just going everywhere.
I’m a bit panicked at this point, my engine is continuing to make noise even though I shut it off (cooling fan, perhaps?), so I grab my backpack from the back seat and pack up everything important in the car (I had planned to visit the DMV / MVC / whatever after work to get my new digital license, since my current one expires in 2 weeks, so I had my social security card and a few other important documents in there), ran inside and called a tow truck. “He’ll be there in 45 minutes” the dispatcher says.. 3 hours later, he’s stuck in traffic. He finally shows up around 5:30PM, so I almost got a full day of work in anyway (I normally leave at 6:00). I attempt to pull the car out of the parking space so he can load it on the truck, steering wheel still seems unusually stiff. Finally get the car to Ford, they’ve closed for the day, so they’ll look at it tomorrow.
So today I drove my grandma’s 1995ish Saturn to work, power nothing! No power locks, no power windows, it’s a very uncomfortable car. And she’s got this stupid wool knitted steering wheel cover thing that slides all around while you’re trying to steer, you can’t get a good grip on the wheel. I dunno how she drives it. Anyway, stop at Ford during my lunch break for the verdict:
- Water pump
- Belt (that’s why the power steering died)
- Headlight out
Cost to repair: over $2000. Needless to say, I wont be getting the car repaired, and will have to go car shopping this weekend. I’ll also have to get used to an analog dashboard now. My car had a full digital dashboard, so I could just glance down quickly and know exactly how fast I was going. Now I kind of have to estimate how close the movey arm thingy is between the 50 and the 55 mark instead of just reading “53” in gigantic numbers.
I’ll probably be getting a Ford Fusion, since my caris already (and perminantly) at a Ford dealer, and the Fusion has most of the features my old car had, sans digital dashboard, so I wont be too lost driving it. I’m going to test drive one on saturday.
I actually had a revelation last week about how spoiled I was with the Sable while talking to Brian. I commented on how his car’s interior lights didn’t go on when he lifted the handle, to illuminate the keyhole. It’s a no-brainer to me.. lift handle, key hole glows (and interior lights come on) so you can see where to put the key to open the door. His reply was “Most car’s don’t do that. Only yours.” So we went around the parking lot lifting everyone’s handles to see if the lights would come on, only mine did 🙁 I’m kind of suprised nobody else thought of that.
The 2006 Ford Fusion does it. At least, I think it does. The feature list says “Illuminated entry system” so I assume that’s what it is. I’ll jiggle the handle of the Fusion when I test drive it 🙂 And Ford said they can install a keyless entry keypad on the door for me, which has also saved me tons of times on the Sable. I constantly leave my keys in the car (not on purpose, I’m just absent-minded) but it’s not a big deal, I just punch in the code and the door unlocks. I can even pop the trunk, unlock all 4 doors, or lock all the doors from the keypad.
The Fusion has an analog clock, though, which will be kind of interesting I guess. Not only are they making me adjust to an analog cluster, but an analog clock too!! damn you, gears! At least I have my digital watch if I really need it 🙂
Edit: After futher investigation, “illuminated entry system” just refers to the interior lights staying on for 20 seconds after the doors open or until the ignition is turned. I guess it’s not such a big deal with the wireless keyfob things they have now, though.