Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Car after car

We are a teensy bit hard on our cars.

It dates back to the first car of Hubby's that I knew, a '92 Thunderbird. Actually, it wasn't just us, LIFE was hard on the T-bird. It had 180,000 miles on it by the end. Every part that could break did, at least twice. It was a two-door red boat and the doors weighed more than the rest of the car, so the hinges regularly failed. The passenger side handle was broken, so when the hinges went, Hubby had to lift up and close the door from the outside for me. Of course, it had automatic seat belts, so if the door didn't close tight, the seat belt wouldn't engage. My seat vibrated unnaturally for the 6-hour drive from Milwaukee to Indianapolis when gosh-only-knows what was broken and Hubby wanted his dad to help fix it.

I regularly cursed that car. I wanted it to come to a swift and painless end. I was close.

The weekend of his college graduation, Hubby and I were returning from signing our new month-to-month lease on an apartment when some yahoo decided to ignore oncoming traffic and turn left into us. We were fine, but the T-bird was far from it. The car was fixable, but since the odometer made the insurance adjuster's eyes bulge, he totaled it. 

Now I mentioned the month-to-month lease because Hubby didn't have a real job yet and I did. (Technically) So we were planning on living on my reporter's salary (HA! and savings) until something panned out. A new car was decidedly NOT in our budget. After years of wishing for its demise, I needed it to survive two more months before Hubby got a job and we moved to Indiana. 

Stupid T-bird. 

The T-bird's replacement was a Mitsubishi Montero Sport. We didn't hurt that one too badly, although my father-in-law DID forget we were parked in the driveway once and back into it. Think that one hurt his checkbook more than it hurt us.

I got my soccer mom mobile, a Subaru Outback, not long before I got pregnant with Nathaniel. I loved that car. When Leah was on the way, we sold the Mitsubishi and bought a mini van. Hubby got my Outback. I loved the van, but I had no problem taking his car when I'd go to work or out with friends. 

That is, until one night when I was running late to a meeting. I wasn't as cautious or observant as I should have been and it got me this: 

But I walked away with only bumps and bruises. Anybody who gives me grief about owning foreign cars, see above. That new commercial where the guy says, "A Subaru saved my life"? 'Nuff said.

So we borrowed my in-laws truck for about a month while we sorted insurance things out and car shopped. Hubby wanted a car that we would both like, but since we couldn't wave a  magic wand and bring back my Outback, there was no pleasing me. So he settled on a Mazda CX-7 and amazingly enough let me drive it. Brave, brave man.

Now my van has 67,000 miles on it and is acting a little squirrelly. The motor on the rear seat failed once, and was "fixed" under warranty. Allegedly. It failed again this summer and wouldn't go back to a seat after being stowed. The extremely helpful people at the dealership told me I needed a new motor and then failed to actually have the part when I dropped it off for an all-day fix. 

I got the van back, seat still broken, and put off calling another dealer because I knew it would be a headache to get fixed. In the meantime, I put a cooler into the back (with the seats stowed) and forgot to put the plug in. Water seeped EVERYWHERE. We dried it out the best we could, but once the next dealer took the seat apart to try to check the motor weeks later, he found that the inside was corroded and covered with mold. 


The same week of the water incident, Hubby backed into the dumbest stop sign at a local grocery story in his car.


So we procrastinated some more. 

With our history in mind, I took a look at my van. I can count on one hand the number of times it's been vacuumed out in almost 3 years. I started feeling guilty. So I took one layer of dirt off with the shop vac this afternoon while the kids played. If the car is still running in the morning, I may wipe down the dash, doors and seats too. 

Hubby would like our cars to last more than two years, so I need to keep her happy.

My FIL suggested calling our insurance to see if they'd cover new seats, so instead of being out like $4,000 for JUST my van, it's only our $500 deductible. Times two, of course, for the new bumper on the Mazda. 

I think we might have a rate increase coming our way...

1 comment:

  1. I hate to rain further on the vehicle parade, but in my prior life I worked for an insurance company for 6 years. I don't think they'll cover the seats for mechanical failure/water seepage. If they do let me know, because I'll be switching companys!