Tuesday, August 6, 2013
I've had a tomato soup orange VW since 2003. The drawing on the right shows her parked by the ivy and the forsythia bush and under the pine tree that constantly drips needles and pine goo onto her roof and hood. She's been a trouble-free car, has never actually broken down and has needed only occasional repairs. But lately her nearly 100,000 miles have been showing up: for one thing, her irritating check engine light has been on steadily for three years for no reason that anyone can discern. For another, her window seals have been drying and cracking and separating a bit in places from the window glass, leading to flooded foot wells and soggy seats after the rains of this summer. And then there's the business with the trunk, which has quit opening when I press the trunk latch, and it takes a tag team to get the trunk lid up-- one person to press and the other to stand in the back and pry the lid up before the buzzing noise stops.
And then there's the dead key, shown on the left above. A few years ago the buttons on it stopped working, and VW doesn't replace batteries in these keys; you have to buy a whole new key to the tune of around $115. So I decided to just use a manual key, which I've been doing for several years, but there's no way to unlock the trunk without the push button key or the dashboard button, and now the dashboard button isn't working. So when I learned earlier today that the reason the check engine light came on 22 miles after I had it turned off yesterday in preparation for the state inspection on Wednesday is that the car actually needs a new catalytic converter, something whispered to me, "This does not bode well for a trouble-free car future."
So that was the state I was in, reluctant and sad, when my friend Fran said to me "I saw a Smart car for sale at my mechanic's yesterday. Isn't that what you've wanted for a long time?" I almost didn't go by there, thinking I should just trade in the orange car for another VW, but I decided to swing by, just to check out the color. As I turned onto Coxe Avenue I spotted the yellow and black car two blocks away. It was perfect in every way! And after talking to the owner, a mechanic who took great care of her, I was sold. So the drawing on the right shows my new little lemon drop Smart car.!