Friday, February 27, 2015

Heavenly Planned Obsolescence

Over the past several months, the fickle gods of car problems ("Heavenly Planned Obsolescence") have had it in for me.

Just as my daughter's car finally--FINALLY--was fixed (a tragic, eight-month long experiment in stress involving the mechanic running from the law...a tale for a different day), the car guys in the sky decided to shower down more grief.

Not too long ago, my wife and I bought a new car, a Highander, purportedly one of the best autos on the road. We settled into post-car purchasing bliss. Then I made the tragic mistake of taking it to my mechanic for a final check AFTER I'd bought it. Turns out it IS a great ride. Except the engine sucks. Something about the blocks separating. "A flaw," the mechanic said with a million-dollar grin. A flaw? Dang engine was gonna' drop out. 
So we got it fixed. Then the engine started leaking oil. Back to the mechanic. "A manufacturer flaw in the fix-it kit," he said, this time doing a really crappy job stifling his laughter. There may as well have been dollar signs rolling in his eyes. How many flaws can a highly-recommended auto have in one life-time?

I love the car. It's great. Rides like a dream. Has a cassette player. A cassette player! Everything about it's sweet. Except, of course, the engine. Kind of a big deal, I think. If nothing else, maybe I can sleep in the Highlander like a docked boat in a driveway.

Three more trips to the mechanic. Each time the engine light came on. Still not fixed.

Meanwhile, my wife's car has its own headaches. Flat tires, goofy computer system, some piece of plastic crap dragging the road like cans on a newlyweds' car. I swear I've spent more time these last several months in auto mechanics' lairs than I have in church over the past ten years.

I'm in my own car circle of hell, a nightmare that loops round and round, where it stops, nobody knows.


  1. Well...what can I say? Personally, I've always bought cheap cars new because I figured people got rid of the old ones because they had something wrong with them. Then I'd trade them in after about six years, get a good price, and a new car. My present car was a lot more expensive. It's a Prius, but apparently it'll run forever. I bought it when my eldest son was 7. It will be his car to drive at 17. It's almost 8 years old and gives me zero grief. Mind you, it also gives me zero trunk space.

  2. Stuart, you need a "for emergencies only" car like mine. It always starts and the "check engine light is to be ignored because it is only a computer thing. It gets good gas milage I think. The gage doesn't work but a bell rings when the tank is nearly empty. It will be fun to take it in for the recall notice to replace the ignition switch and observe the looks I get. You might not enjoy the lack of AC and heat, but you are a writer. Just imagine you are taking a ride down memory lane