Car Trouble

May 3, 2012

I’ve had this love/hate relationship with cars for the past several years. I’ve always enjoyed driving and have always been a bit of a racing fan over the years.  For our first few years in Albuquerque, my son and I were track officials for a local racing club.

Nick would work Start/Finish and actually got to wave the flag.  I worked in Race Control tracking laps, timing and guiding the race.  It was like being an air traffic controller, but at a race track.

We always had fun, but gave it up a couple of years ago.  As my bone cancer worsened, it was harder for me to climb the steps at the race track;  we were both tired of getting up at 6am; and we were tired of playing referee between two other people who seem to enjoy fighting more than racing.

So the categorization of cars changed from passion to practical, and I found myself craving a new minivan to replace our 2002 Toyota Sienna, rather than replacing the Sentra with a new Challenger.  The van was much easier for me to get in and out of, and had lots of room for my wheelchair and crutches.  The Challenger I thought I’d wanted; not so much.

So imagine my chagrin when last Friday, as I lifted the hatchback door of the Sienna open, and heard the door latch snap in two as I pulled on it.  Since the brakes had been squeaking, and the front right wheel was making a grinding sound, I knew it was due for a trip to the shop.  The busted door latch just sealed the deal.

I made the appointment and dropped the van off.  As I thought about the work it would need:  new brakes all the way around and a busted door latch, I began to wince.  It was close to needing an oil change and tire rotation as well.  More cost…the fun never ends.

And as it turned out, I was right.  Beside all of the mentioned problems, it also needed a transmission flush and fluid replacement, and an oil change.  Great, I thought.  Just great.  When all was said and done, the total was $1147.00 give and take a few dollars.

But now, the van runs; the brakes don’t squeal and stops are more sure-footed.  Since we may or may not get rid of the van this year, it was good it was repairable.  That will help it sell.  I can’t imagine dealing with all of this AND trying to sell it.  We’d probably end up junking it.

So after two days of bumming rides, coordinating schedules with my wife, Sarah, and throwing $1100 down the hole, I have the van back. And I’m grateful.  I still think about what vehicle I’ll get next.  Whether it’s a van or not remains to be seen.

But one specific fact holds true after a week of dealing with repairs…cars suck.  I don’t know what else to say.  Sometimes, cars just suck..