My First Car -- Caught In A Bad Romance
I just sold my first car. When I bought it, I thought I’d be so sad to see it go when the time came. But then I thought I’d go all these great places with my car and more often than not there was something wrong with the car so I never really enjoyed or trusted the car. It was like all the romantic fantasies you have about having sex for the first time and then when it happens it’s bad sex. In short, I found myself caught in a bad romance.
During the winter the town I live in has a parking ban, so I had to move my car before midnight. It was the first night I had it, and after I backed it out of the parking space it wouldn’t go forward. As much as I pushed on the gas pedal, it wouldn’t move. Turns out something came loose from one of the wheel and I had to call the police and have it towed.
After that was fixed I had a little brief pocket of time when it worked, however after what happened the first night I didn’t really trust it. When I started to trust it a bit, the blower went out. I had the great fun of having to drive with my window down to keep the windows de-fogged in the middle of April. Since it was a Volvo, the blower part cost more than if I had bought American. It was over $200.00 to fix that.
Then when I was checking the oil it was full of white foam. I needed to have the oil system replaced. That plus fixing something that had come loose on the bottom of the car during it’s yearly inspection took my entire $900.00 income tax return.
I had it back a day when the check engine light started blinking. Then when I went out to start the car and it had no power. This time it needed a new alternator. Since I’d been sucked dry of money, I had to ask my local church to pay for it. The alternator cost $300.00. Unfortunately, the repairman didn’t check to see if my battery was any good. But he did tell me he’d found anti-freeze in my oil, meaning the head gasket was going bad. That’s a $2,000 repair. He put in some sealant to try and patch it.
I had the car back for three days when I came out and it had no power, again. I called the garage and they jump started it and told me the battery wasn’t any good because of the alternator. The only time I was able to take this car for a joy ride was when I had to ride around town for a half hour trying to charge up the battery. It wouldn’t hold the charge. And when they slammed my hood they broke the latch on it.
The next time I tried to open the hood to remove the battery to see if I could get a replacement, since it had a two year warranty on it, I couldn’t open the hood. I had to have several men open it and I had to learn how to come up with a trick to open the hood with a broken latch. I had to call this garage five times to just get an estimate for repairing the alternator. I called them about the latch and they never called me back and I wasn’t in the mood to have to call them five times when they claimed the latch was fine when they opened the hood. Yeah, that’s because you broke it when you closed it.
I had a garage I liked to go but they wouldn’t give me an estimate before they repaired it and I was always afraid I wouldn’t have enough money to pay for the repair. Then I listened to a friend who told me her garage was better. The first time I got my car repaired my windshield wiper cap was missing when I got it back. And they were always coming up with new things wrong with my car that were going to need being fixed. The last time I got my car back the edge of the ashtray was broken off.
Anyway, I got a replacement battery and I installed it in my car, myself. Unfortunately, six months later it was losing juice again. I didn’t start the car up enough during the winter cause I didn’t have a job and had very little gas in it. I was able to get it to start with a jumpstart and ran it for 30 minutes but it wouldn’t hold the charge.
A few weeks after that, I was so disgusted by all the trouble this car had given me I smacked it with the palm of my hands and my hands were sore for a week. I didn’t even hit the stupid thing that hard.
Someone came to buy it and was going to give me $1,000 for it, but the car refused to start with a jumpstart suddenly. I had to settle for $400 and consider myself lucky. It managed to screw me out of $600 I could have had. And at that point, I never wanted to see this miserable thing ever again.
What have I learned from this experience? First, to trust my instincts. The friend who recommended her garage also went with me when I bought this car and I saw another car I liked, but she told me I was here to see the Volvo. If I had bought the other car, maybe I’d have had a good car. Secondly, not to buy a Volvo. Yes, they have a good reputation for being good running cars, but when they start going bad, they become money pits that suck you dry of every cent you have. Thirdly, don’t smack a car with your hands or you’ll have to spend a week constantly rubbing cream on your hands to make them stop stinging. Fourthly, that an alternator keeps your battery charged up. And last but far from least, to buy American. Yeah, they may not be as well-made as some European cars, but when they need to be repaired they don’t cost you an arm and a leg.