Wednesday, August 5, 2009

The Continuing Saga of the 1995 Ford Taurus

It's been a good car. The 1995 Ford Taurus came into my life via a friend. He asked if I could put up some fliers at my work and I'll be durned if the car he was selling wasn't loads better than the one I was driving. So I bought the car for a cool grand, a bargain for the mere 67,000 miles on it! Perfect also for the long distance relationship that would develop into marriage. I had to immediately put $300 or so into a fuel pump and then another $300 into tires. $1600 for a car in great shape with only 67,000 miles on it? Prior to this the lowest milage I had purchased was 92,000 back on my way out of college, the very car I had driven to bits.

Now it's six years later and I've managed to put a whopping 35,000 miles on it (tis only a mile or so to work). I've since put in another $2000 or so in repairs over the years but overall it's been good to me. But last February it shredded a belt on one very cold day. Fortunately it happened AFTER I had dropped off my son at school so I walked to a pay phone, waited until when they opened, and called my mechanic. One tow and $400 later (the belt broke due to a siezed steering pump) I was back on the road. But things had changed in our relationship. It had left me stranded and was now on probation.

A couple of months later I had to come to a quick stop and a pop sound came from the right front wheel well. Then when I started driving again it made a giant CLUNK sound. Then nothing for a few weeks until I had to make another quick stop. Later I took off the wheel buy my non-mechanic eyes couldn't see anything. Over the summer this sound happened with less and less provocation but it wasn't until I hit a rather large bump that a new sound started - a dinking tink in the engine compartment when I'd start to drive it, just once or twice and then done until the next time I'd drive. Two weeks ago I admitted that it was time for my mechanic to take a look.

A mere $20 later and my car is on life support. The parts that need fixing are structural but would be expensive. "It's safe to drive but I'd start looking for a new car." Hmmm... no need to change the oil? No need to fix anything? Just drive it until it leaves me stranded or the tink or CLUNK becomes a CRUNCH? FREEDOM!

But today there was a slight grinding noise from the right front wheel well. I'd hoped to maybe drive the thing well into the fall when this Cash for Clunkers nonsense was over but perhaps it won't let me. I barely drive it lately as I'd rather bike to work but some days, like when I take the water buffalo to work, I have to drive. Since I don't drive much and my cars seem to wear out from age rather than high miles my strategy is to find a newer car with high milage, preferably cheap and neon green. CRAIGSLIST TO THE RESCUE!

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