My Car Won't Start

So why am I not out there trying to fix it? Because it’s raining.

I guess I should expect this kind of thing now and then given the fact that I drive a ten year old car. But I really got lucky with this car. It’s a 99 Ford Taurus. I bought it off craigslist in June of 2006. I bought from this graduating college techy guy who got it from his dad - they’d taken great care of it.

It had under 60,000 miles on it when I bought it. I’ve put 60,000 of my own miles on it since then. I drive 35 miles to work and 35 miles back...a big, smelly carbon footprint, I know...but there were other compromises/concessions/loving decisions to make...long story. I wish I didn’t drive that far, but...long story...long drive...long story...

Cars have been the cause of much stress in my life (three car fires, numerous break downs, my share of wrecks(no injuries, thank goodness)). I’ve never made a lot of money, so I’ve never been willing to take on a car payment - never had a car payment. I’ve always had older cars. What can I say? -What I can say is that I’ve lived well within my slender means...and felt like an outcast doing it. My car is one of the oldest cars in the parking lot at work. There are people at work with BMW’s and Saabs and Hummers and so on. Sometimes I feel a little ashamed to have such an old car, and I park way in the back and shit. Ridiculous, huh? I think the only people who have old cars like mine are the accounting clerks. They drive some beaters too. But...they know how to crunch those dollars I guess.

Anyway, I’m thinking it’s the battery. It’s got a massive growth of corrosion that looks like something from a horror movie on top of the battery. I’ve named it BLOBTAR THE KING BEAST OF CORROSION. I think it growled at me when I lifted the hood.

The car did some weird stuff when I tried to start it. I turned the key, and it didn’t even try to start. I observed that the radio and the wipers still worked, but when I switched on the lights, that caused the radio and the wipers to quit working. WEIRD. But then I thought about it, and I decided not to overthink it. It probably just didn’t have enough juice in the battery to do all the above. I’ll get a jump. If it takes a jump and starts, I would be pretty confident that it was the battery or the connection to the battery. If a jump doesn’t do it, that’ll suck. That’ll mean something like a relay or a switch or something I’ll have no chance of finding.

I’ve had good and bad luck fixing cars in my life. I used to watch my brother and his friends fix cars, so I can do some of the minor stuff. But I usually don’t. I’m too lazy and too afraid the car will fall on me and kill me if I get under it...which is where you have to go a lot of the time to fix stuff.

So much information about fixing cars is available in online forums. You can just google your symptoms and your car make, and you’ll arrive at a discussion about your car where people may or may not be full of shit. The rule that I go by is to look for the posts with the worst typing. That means it’s somebody who doesn’t care much about typing, but who cares enough to get online and barbarically bang out a post in a forum about something he DOES care about and know about - FiCKSiNG cARs. If you see a posting to an auto forum with pretty typing like mine, ignore it.


laura b. said...

I have always driven used cars too and I don't feel bad about it! You shouldn't either. I drive a 97 Chevy Cavalier, seriously.
If it isn't the battery, it might just be the alternator. I'll send good car-karma thoughts your way :-)

Bobby said...

Thanks Laura B. Yeah, it was the battery.

NoRegrets said...

Every car before my current one was used and old. I learned so much from them breaking down. My best was my first one - $50, and could put your foot through the passenger floor. People got out of my way. I want a car like that but with a big engine. As long as I have the money to pay the speeding tickets. In the meantime I'll take my economical Matrix and put put along.