I’ve heard the old saying, “The happiest day of your life is when you buy a boat, and the second happiest day is when you sell it.”
I could substitute the word, “car” for boat and say that I’m very happy today to have gotten rid of my old car and replaced it with a Prius. I don’t know if I’m so happy because I finally got a car that is comfortable AND gets great gas mileage, or if I’m so happy because I got rid of my old car.
I’m not going to say the brand name because these are considered very nice cars and I don’t want to defame it’s character, but this car had one stroke of bad luck after another. First, it had a couple of flimsy cup holders that broke right off the bat. I asked the dealer about it and he said, “Yeah, they do that if you aren’t real careful.”
It had design flaws that made it extremely irritating. The dashboard cup holder, when pulled out, covered up the controls for the heater. I don’t know what genius came up with this idea, because women always have a cup of something in the car, and they are always too hot or too cold so they need to see, and adjust, the temperature controls every few minutes.
Not only that, but the car was made in such a way that it steamed up in a 360 degree circle that meant you couldn’t see out any window. I carried enough towels in my car to supply a motel. When I asked the dealer, he said, “Yeah, the windows do fog up in these cars. Best thing to do is just carry a towel.” I had kids in the back seat pulling shifts to try and keep a small hole cleared in the rear window. I asked the dealer a couple of years later, and he said, “You can try using the air condition at the same time as the defrost. That’s helped some.”
Well, it did help, but ran my gas bill up. Speaking of which, my car was supposed to get 27mpg highway and 22mpg city. I was very lucky to get 22 period. This frustrated the heck out of me because at the time I bought the car, before hybrids, these were pretty decent mpg numbers, and I felt I was being ecological. I ran tanks of gas through and did the calculations over and over but still couldn’t come up to the lowest sticker mileage, even on the open road.
These were nuisances, but the car also had bad karma. My son had his learner’s permit, and when I picked him and his friend up from Taekwondo, I climbed in the passenger seat, he climbed in the driver’s seat, and the friend was climbing in the back seat when my son started backing out. I yelled, “STOP, STOP, STOP!” so his friend could get his other leg in and close the door, and my son pressed hard on the brake, except it wasn’t the brake, it was the gas. We did a big arc at warp speed and sideswiped a new Toyota Camry from the tail light all the way to the front bumper.
Another time I parked my car in a grocery store parking lot and a lady rammed right into the front before I even turned the engine off. Just recently someone, possibly one of my kids, banged into the front driver’s side so that my door opened with a long grinding screech like you’d hear in a scary movie.
Plus I had it in the shop because it wasn’t running great and asked the guys to check out an oil leak I found under the front of the engine. When I took it back home I found it was still leaking oil. I went back and said, “You charged me $950 to fix a leak, but I still have a leak.” They said, “Yeah, that other leak will cost you $2,000.” With my mouth gaping wide and hands on my hips I said, “Why didn’t you call to say there was another leak? Maybe I wouldn’t have gotten the first one fixed if I’d known.” The manager said, as if I was dense, “You told us to fix the leak on the front of the engine, and that’s what we did. You didn’t say anything about the back leak.”
There’s another old saying, “Be careful what you wish for, because it might come true.” I guess wishing for precisely one oil leak repair was a pretty stupid thing on my part, but when I saw oil on my driveway, I thought, “Hmmm, I have an oil leak.” I didn’t think, “Hmmm, I have many oil leaks.” Silly me.
Finally, the reason I’m glad to be shed of this car is that every time I fill it up with gas the “Check Engine” light comes on. When I took it to the dealer, he said, “Yeah, these cars do that around 100,000 miles. You need a new catalytic converter – you won’t pass the smog test until you get it replaced for a couple thousand bucks.” I went online and found that this particular car has a gas cap that doesn’t seal completely unless it’s twisted just so; and when it isn’t, which is about 50% of the time, the light comes on. I had to get my license renewed so I gambled and put it through DEQ and guess what – it passed with flying colors. What’s a gas cap cost? Twenty bucks?
If you own one of these cars, you’ll know exactly what car I’m talking about – it was made in 2002 and the type of car rhymes with that year.
I have a good feeling about my Prius. It was getting 100 miles to a gallon while I was ambling down the street. I haven’t found anything to complain about, but when I do, I’ll be sure to let you know.