Saturday, May 8, 2010

RIP: My little green car, 2002-2010

If you're a regular reader of this blog, you know that I have absolutely RAVED about my car, a 2002 Kia Spectra. Kittens, I am saddened to report that she has bitten the dust--and it was a sudden death to boot.

I was driving home from work Wednesday afternoon, cruising down the highway at 70, when all of a sudden she started revving funny. And she started losing power, fast. So as I'm pulling over to the side of the road, I hit the gas, and all of a sudden, she revved from 1000 rpm to 4000 rpm. I got over to the shoulder and killed the ignition, then pulled out my cell phone and called AAA. I then called my mechanic to let him know I was on my way, and requested arrangement for a rental.

I waited about half an hour for AAA to show up. As I waited, I started the car again to see if I could pull her further to the side of the road. She started up fine, I put her into drive, hit the gas--and she DIDN'T MOVE. At all. I knew this was serious.

So AAA comes to get me and we drive up to the dealership. I was devastated. Yes, my little Spectra had 147,000 miles on her, and I was hoping to get her up to 200,000 before I considered a new car, but I guess it wasn't meant to be.

We arrived at the dealership and the tow truck guy takes her off the flatbed and I hand my mechanic the keys. He goes out to move it; it won't budge. He said it was a transmission problem, most likely. Greeaaaaaaattt.

Enterprise Rent-a-Car picked me up at the dealership, and I made arrangements for my rental--a 2009, royal blue, Kia Spectra. Same car as I was driving, but a newer, redesigned model. Oh, the Universe has SUCH a sense of humor...

I knew when I got home that it was time to look for a new car, and fast. I knew that I wanted another Kia. I bought my little green car brand new, and got 147,000+ miles out of her. And that breakdown was the ONLY time she ever broke down on me. All she needed, before her death, was routine maintenance, oil changes, and as she got older, replacement parts. But she NEVER broke down on me until this week.

So when I got home I went to the website and looked at their used car deals. I found several, printed out the specs, called Papa Cat and told him we had something to discuss over dinner the following night (I was planning on having dinner at the 'rents house, anyway. It's as if the moon, the stars, and the planets aligned just for me).

The next day I'm on my way up to the Cat Family homestead when my mechanic calls--the transmission's completely dead, and I needed a new one. $1500. At 147,000 miles, it really didn't make much sense to invest in a new transmission. I said, "No thanks."

I arrived at the Cat Family homestead, and Papa Cat and I looked at the specs. We decided on a 2008 Spectra, used, for under $10,000. I called the dealership and got a hold of a guy in sales. That car was sold that day. My heart broke. However, there was another Spectra on the lot--the exact same car that I had for the rental, except it was gold.

Again, I felt that the moon, the stars, and the planets were aligning just for me.

We did the deal over the phone, and made arrangements to pick her up yesterday afternoon. So now I am the proud owner of a 2009 Kia Spectra. I'm thinking of calling her 2.0, since my last car was the 2002 version.

In retrospect, I had had some gut feelings for several months that my little green car was about to die. It was falling apart gradually--first it was the little things, like the rear defroster. It had trouble starting up in the mornings. And then the hazards got stuck and I had to call AAA for that one. And then--and this was probably the biggest tell-tale sign--my car, in the last month of its life, would lurch whenever I put it into drive, and sometimes I would have to shift it into reverse before it would shift into drive.

When I went to take care of the service bill, my mechanic told me that they couldn't even push the car into the garage. It wouldn't shift into drive at all,. I don't think it would have switched into neutral. He told me that the technician had to go outside and look under the car IN THE PARKING LOT to see what was wrong. The fluids were all good, and the engine was in fine shape, but something snapped in the transmission.

In spite of my little green car's tragic death, I must admit I really like my new one. 2.0 glides on the road. She handles very nicely. Even the stereo sounds a lot better. I finally have a CD player, and I've got air conditioning back.

I hope to post pictures soon.

4 comments:

Susan Campbell Cross said...

So sorry to hear about your car. Cars can really become a part of the family can't they? I hope you have many happy years with your new one. Happy (late) VGNO! Hope you have a wonderful weekend :)

--Susan (from Secrets of a Suburban Soccer Mom)

blueviolet said...

It did give you some good years, didn't it? Lucky you that you found another one too.

Jenners said...

Hey ... she served you well. And Kia got a lifelong customer out of you!! ; )

Serena said...

Sorry to hear about your car troubles, but it looks like it worked out for the best...sounds like the new car is treating you very well.