Car Purgatory

Tonight, I cleaned out the car and got it ready to be towed to a local dealer for diagnostics tomorrow. My dad and I both have spoken with the car company and while they did tell us to bring it in, they also are throwing in the standard "If you didn't get it serviced by the dealer all the time then we can't guarantee it" song-and-dance.

To which all of us say--are you kidding us? This car has been properly maintained. It is my sole means of transportation to and from my job, and has been so for the past seven years. It doesn't even have 80K miles on it yet. I got bounced around from dealer to dealer--as a matter of fact, my car has no dealer markings on it because they were about to send it over to another car dealer as they were switching makes, and then that second dealer stopped selling them and yet another dealer took over--and service at the dealer was too expensive and time-consuming (for me as a single person with a full time job). I have been using the same mechanic to service my car for years, ever since the third dealer rigmarole got to be too much. So the only people who have worked on my car are dealers 2 & 3 (headed up by the same man, I'm pretty sure), and my local mechanic.

This time last year, I was shelling out over $1200 for a new axle. If the dealer points to that and says that affected the engine, I'm going to have a fit.

What might help me a little, I'm hoping, is a car-company-related connection I made with someone affiliated with the company over the summer. He was not available to speak with today, but my call did get me moved up in priority, I think, with customer service. I'm usually not one to name-drop or demand special treatment, but I'm just stunned that this happened on such a well cared for car that was expected to have a much longer life by even their standards. The only thing I wish I could have done differently is to have kept it in a garage, but apartment life doesn't really allow for that unless a tenant is really lucky.

I don't know what will come of the diagnostic stuff, but at the very least I'm hopeful I will have enough information to make a decision as to the next step.

Right now, though, the whole situation just makes my stomach hurt. I even got teary-eyed when they handed me a form to fill out to get a parking hang tag for school. I don't know what car I'm driving! (School went O.K., BTW. Met most of the other faculty/staff and everyone is nice. Getting my bearings and starting to see the teachers who really *heart* the library.)

Tomorrow night I'm going to have dinner with my great-aunt & great-uncle at their retirement community. Rumor has it the food is very good. They haven't been getting out very much lately, and in fact one of them had a bit of a time with a health issue recently, so I'm happy they invited me and I'm hoping it's good for them to get down to the "clubhouse" (swanky, eh?).

Car news and food review to come!


Cullen said…
Have you made any decisions about your options yet, Kate? I'm with Dave E in that a complete rebuild is probably the way to go. What is the make/model of your car? Losing a cylinder before 80k sounds like a manufacturing error to me (as long as you've been driving normally). I would search the webs to see if there were any recall notices or if anyone had any similar experiences. I mean, losing a cylinder head is odd enough, but at such low mileage - that's just too bizarre.
Ashley said…
That's awful!

What kind of car do you have? I agree with Cullen, with that low of mileage, this should NOT be happening!
Kate P said…
Well, here's the disclaimer, since both of you asked what kind of car is it: My family has been buying this make for years. We retired one car at over 100K miles, and my parents have two with more mileage than mine, that run fine. It's an '02 Subaru Legacy. My previous Legacy saved my life in a freak accident. I think they drive great and I don't want to drive anything else if I can help it.

Cullen--we're waiting for the dealer to run diagnostics to see if rebuilding the engine is even an option. Not to mention if they'd do it, how much it'd cost, if we could get a guarantee, etc. Naturally, they didn't look at it today. Ugh. The only outstanding recalls were about rustproofing the underside. I thought I'd done that already, but whatever.

Ashley--yup, we're all pretty much in shock that this happened. I think even the company is. Which may be why they're trying to pin the fault on me. . .

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