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Whatís wrong with it? Probably something simple

By Gloria Diaz

Check out Gloria's Blog — Edge of Gloria!

Fort Wayne Reader

2016-04-07


Iím having car woes again. Iím trying to get rid of my Geo Metro, and despite listing it several times on Craigslist, Iíve had no takers. It kind of reminds me of my dating profile: I get people checking out the ad, and I get an email, I respond, then nothing.

My main ride, my ancient Dodge Neon, is stalling out during inappropriate times, such as when Iím on the highway. Itís a little unnerving. So far, Iíve had it in to the shop four times. Despite my detailed description of how the car is behaving, everyone seems stumped, but my Facebook feed has listed possible solutions. One of them is spark plugs and wires. Another one was suggesting I put better gas in my tank. I donít know much about cars, but if the ďair bagĒ light and ďservice engine soonĒ light come on, then go off, then come on again, I suspect it doesnít have anything to do with the minimum octane swill Iím pumping into the car. Itís almost becoming a contest: figure out whatís wrong with my car, and youíll get a gift card to the restaurant of your choice. Iím that desperate. Oh sure, there are other things I could offer as rewards, but even I have standards.

As usual, the money situation is not great. For nearly a year now, Iíve been talking to a friend about buying her car. Weíve agreed to it, but life is sort of getting in the way, along with an unstable work schedule. I think Iíll have the car soonósheís cleaned it out and I think she is in the process of looking for the title. Itís a cute little car, and in terms of age, itís not close to being old enough to drive, or in the case of the Neon, nearly old enough to drink. I tend to drive my cars to death. Iíd love to be able to buy a new car once every two years, but I hold on to my vehicles as if Iíll never be able to afford another one again.

The Metro has nearly the same electrical problem as the Neon, come to think of it. If the problem ever gets solved with the Neon, I may have the Metro towed in and fixed. It would be worth more if it was running. But General Motors didnít invest any money into the Metro, so parts are hard to find. Thatís why I got the Neon fixed. Thanks, Dodge.

And I also have a sentimental attachment to these vehicles. The Metro was the first car I ever bought on my own. Iíve taken several trips to Canada in it. It got me to Memphis, Tennessee. To the Kentucky Derby. And for not a whole lot of gas, either. When I bought it brand new on my nieceís birthday in 1993, the sticker price was $7,540, and the estimated mileage per gallon was 46 city, 49 highway. Itís gotten me a lot of places. But it became unreliable, and no one seemed to know what was wrong.

The Neon was my motherís car. She bought it shortly after she totaled the first Neon she had. The eerie thing was, I knew my mom was going to get into an accident. My father had died that day, and my mom insisted on carrying on with what needed to be done. Both my brother and I offered to drive her where she needed to go, but she said she was fine. I just knew she was going to be in an accident. Later on that afternoon (I worked nights) I woke up to a silent house and a note on the table from my mother. She and my brother were at the dealership, figuring out how much it would cost to fix the car. The front end looked like a hippo sat on itóseveral times. Mom had a cut on her wrist, and that was all. But for the rest of her life, I teased her about offering to drive her that day, and how she refused.
But what was chilling to me was the fact I knew she would be in an accident. I was as sure of the fact as Iím sure Iím going to die someday.

Iíd like to keep the Neon as a backup vehicle. Itís handy to have a second car when your main ride is in the shop. Plus, I feel wealthy when I talk about my multiple vehicles. Never mind that the combined ages of both vehicles puts them at very early middle age. But Iíll be getting a newer ride soon. Iíll make memories with it, Iím sure. My friend told me the check engine light is on. I feel like itís mine already.

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