%#@&#$$ Cars

TLNo one has ever accused me of being a car guy, not because I don’t like cars but because I am too cheap and too practical to actually own one of the dozens of upscale vehicles that roam the streets around our neighborhood in North Orange County California. It probably didn’t help that I was burned twice by fun but unreliable vehicles early in my car owning life, a 1966 Alfa Romeo Spyder and a Fiat (Can you say Fix It Again Tony?) 850. Beyond those it has been Chevys, Toyotas and Hondas, all kept until their odometers were well beyond 100,000 miles. I am currently driving an 11 year old Acura TL, which was my big (for me) splurge when our business was doing very well. It is the best car I’ve ever owned but as its odometer inches toward 150.000 miles it is having senior moments more and more often. As I do with my senior friends, I try to be tolerant of its signs of age, but as my Acura’s issues become more bizarre, my patience is waning.

In the last two years, the car has become a destroyer of batteries, requiring a replacement approximately twice a year. Periodically, after short periods ofbattery2 not being driven, the battery would be absolutely dead, and after a number of such incidents, unchargeable. My mechanic has checked the electrical system repeatedly. I resorted to carrying a compact jumpstarter with me so I wouldn’t get stuck anywhere. Such is senior love, I suppose. Last week, I replaced another battery … everything was fine until Monday when not only would it not turn over, there were no lights and not so much as a spark when I connected the jumper cables.  I searched the internet and found dozens of 2007 Acura owners with similar problems. The online evidence pointed to three culprits: a blown main fuse (also known as a fusible link); a bad ground connection from the battery; and a failed Hands Free Link Module (providing Bluetooth phone connectivity) draining the battery. The latter seemed suspicious because my Hands Free Link has not worked for approximately the same period over which my car has been eating batteries.

So today my car is in the shop and I am considering looking for a new car.  For months I have been watching cars go by, wondering what I’d buy when this day came. I don’t want a station wagon … er, SUV … and it’s always struck me that guys driving trucks are compensating for other deficiencies, usually in inverse proportion to the size of the truck. The assortment of popular sedans … Hondas, Toyotas, Mazdas, Nissans, Kias andprices Hyundais … are indistinguishable unless you are close enough to see the logo on the trunk lid.  And from there we crawl toward cars that cost more than we paid for our first house.  And that raises the prospect of going to a dealership, something I find to be only slightly more pleasant than leprosy.

Late report: My mechanic found the problem, a bad ground cable and an air conditioner relay stuck in the on position.  My baby will be ready tomorrow.  So do I stall a little longer or face the inevitable?  %#@&#$$ cars.

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One Comment on “%#@&#$$ Cars”

  1. barrythewiz Says:

    The only things inevitable are death and taxes. If you still love the Acura (a fantastic car), it’s always worth fixing it — unless it gets to be too big a pain.


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