The Car Died

I went to the movies with Sib yesterday afternoon. On the way home, I was trying to pass someone when the engine suddenly lost power; just for a second, but enough to make me nervous.

Less than a minute later (at the top of the big hill at Finch & Don Mills, fortunately :-) the engine stalled. I tried to start it; no crank, just a feeble click. Sib and I pushed the car off the road, and waited for Michaéla and “CAA”: to come rescue us. I was hoping that I had just thrown a fan belt; this was when we discovered that the hood release is broken (the latch mechanism had rusted, and so the cable popped out under the extra strain :-). So Sib and Michaéla crawled around under the car trying to release the hood, while I made sure that they didn’t get run over by passing cars :-)

They finally got the hood open just as the CAA tow truck arrived. The fan belts were in place, unfortunately. Some quick testing with the tow truck’s battery proved that the alternator had died. This is probably because the leaky power steering pump right above it has filled the alternator with power steering fluid…

We had been planning to replace this car, but not for another year. It’s a 1990 Eagle Vista, but with only 150,000km, and it runs just fine. However, there is a crack in the exhaust manifold, and the body is starting to rust through in places; those are both going to be expensive repairs, so there isn’t too much life left in the car.

So now we need to decide: invest money in the repairs (alternator, power steering pump, hood release) and keep the car on the road for another year, or write it off and get the new car a year early. The complete repair list just came in:

| alternator | $360 |
| power steering | $448 |
| cooling sytem | $225 |
| rear brakes | $41 |
| rear suspension | $174 |
| front struts | $495 |
| alignment | $59 |
| drive clean | $35 |

We don’t need to do the front struts right away, but the rest is stuff that has to be done within the next year; we’re looking at $1000 to $1300 to keep the car on the road.

“”: has quite a few medium age, medium mileage hatchbacks listed in our price range, so I’m not worried about being able to replace the car without breaking the bank. Since I’m about to be “driving to work”:, we need a more reliable car at this point anyway. On the other hand, the HP deal isn’t final yet, and Michaéla is still on probation in her new job, so we’re not exactly financially stable right now.

So, off to car shopping we go…

posted at 9:23 am on Monday, July 21, 2003 in Personal | Comments (1)

1 Comment

  1. Allison says:

    If you enjoy AutoTrader, you would certainly like the information and features at Car Guide

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