Thursday, April 19, 2007

Requiem for a Jetta

My car, Nikita, I think she died.

She's been in the shop for three days. I took her in on Tuesday and was told, "Oh, yeah, we'll totally have it back to you by tomorrow." I patted her on the trunk (hey, we've been through a lot together) and wandered back down the road towards home. That was Tuesday. This morning, I got a call from the same mechanic, who said he totally hadn't expected her to be, you know, so fraked UP!

Like, her transmission is probably coming to pieces, but the only way to tell for sure is to dismantle it. This comforts me slightly less than the original diagnosis, which was that the engine was about to drop out of my car. Oh, and also, the idle? The periodic burbling idle I noticed because it started resembling the last gulps of a person with congestive heart failure? Yeah, that's bad, too. And the broken sunroof? Still broken, he said. Completely screwed, if I wanted him to be honest. (Hint: I didn't.)

For Sale: 1994 Jetta. Excellent mileage (94K)! Charming exterior: that pesky antenna will never get in your line of sight because IT'S NOT THERE because some drunk-ass frat boy snapped it off when I was overnighting at my future husband's house four years ago. You see, I stupidly never imagined that parking on Greek Row might mean I'd pick the one block where every single car on the street lost its antenna on a Saturday night.

Oh, wait, this is a want ad. Anyway. Sunroof. Well, more like a moon roof, as you can't open it. You can try, if it would make you feel better, but don't worry: see, it started leaking when I was in England, but my awesome family didn't notice until I came home over Christmas and backed down the driveway, at which point the angle caused about four cups of water to spurt forth from the ceiling all over me, the dashboard, and my radio which is useless because I have no antenna. You get FM, though. But there is a sunroof. It's sealed shut with some kind of magical glue my Dad thought would be a good idea, and I think the last dealer I took it to actually ripped the wiring right out of the control box, but hey: it's there. This is more than I had in high school, so you'll still be the envy of your friends if you live in, say, Forks. Or maybe the outer Hebrides.

Did I mention the 94,000 miles? On a 14 year-old car? Now, how many cars can you find that have less than 100K on them and still manage to have mysterious idling problems and "could-be-on-the-verge-of-disastrous-but-maybe-not" transmission issues? Also, the trim above the driver's side door has come loose. Watch that -- it always seems to smack you in the head right when you're making a dangerous turn onto a major interstate. Oh, and the speakers? The right side doesn't work. Hasn't since I purchased the car. This generally isn't a problem, except when you have songs on your MP3 player that require full speakers to function properly. Or when you have a guest in the car who can't hear what's playing. Sometimes, they think you're singing along to nothing. Or arguing with a talk show host who isn't there. Could be a good thing, really, if you need cover for occasional bouts of insanity. But: 94K!

$1500 OBO. Hell, make an offer. Please. Would consider swapping for an office chair. Or a fancy teakettle.

Never mind, of course, that I have no idea what we're going to do if this car actually turns up dead tomorrow. I'm still waiting on the idle, since the last I heard was that the mechanics had "no damn clue" why it was running about 250 rpms below where it should. It's not like I have anything major coming up, like a possible job relocation or other pressing financial matters. A new car is just what I need! When I have no paychecks!

If I could just figure out a way to bike everywhere, forever, I swear I would. Some other day, I'll write a sentimental post about this car and all the memories I have in it (my first kiss with CB, driving to the wedding, surviving a hellish trip over the passes this winter)...Tonight, I just need to polish up my for sale ad.


Anonymous said...

Oh no, the Jetta is on its way out?! This is sad. Why is it that car problems seem to strike when MOST inconvenient possible? My transmission died on the car I had JUST PURCHSED from my aunt right before I needed to drive down to CA for law school. And, on the way back from Deanna's wedding (literally the day after I bought the car), N-A and I had to have the thing towed right as we exited the freeway to go back to her house. I think manufacturers somehow plan for these kinds of things.

And remember our frantic struggle with your old car freshman year as you were helpfully trying to drive me to the Amtrak station.

*Sigh* They may pollute, but cars can certainly liven up any day :)

~ Your Stanford Chum (who, incidentally, is planning on selling her car to her youngest sister before she moves to NY -- let's hope it doesn't require a new engine before then!)

Laura said...

Car problems are the WORST. I have definitely been through my share of them, which is why I now own a Honda (I know, I'm the devil) but am hoping Honda comes up with a new hybrid by the time I need to get a new vehicle.

Nice blog. Surfed in from Blogher. Used to live in Olympia, now I live in Cincinnati. Oy.

ecogrrl said...

SC, I had forgotten about my awesome BMW and its health problems. Maybe it's me...

Laura, thanks for stopping by! :) I am looking into a Honda myself, so I wouldn't call you evil at all. I can't afford a hybrid or anything diesel, so that's where I'm at right now. We're looking at moving to Chicago in a year or two (not sure I'm thrilled about that) -- how is the northern Midwest?