In several previous blog posts, I wrote about the ongoing saga of my car. At the time, it was a 2002 Dodge Neon.
She’s finally gone to the great big boneyard in the sky. Basically, I reckoned up the cost of a few repairs, and came to the conclusion that if you’re going to spend fifteen hundred bucks in repairs, you’re almost better off to find yourself a slightly newer piece of crap and start again.
A vehicle from a used car lot, one with an e-test and a safety check, might be a better option.
I paid about $2,700 for the PT. The Neon only cost $1,900 at the time. I owned it for two years and nine months.
The Neon needed exhaust system work. The front tire bounced, as a belt had separated, and the front end needed an alignment. The thing even needed wiper blades…the power steering was out and so was the air conditioning.
What I did was to buy a Chrysler PT Cruiser, a 2004 model. It’s got a lot of miles on it, and yet the comparison was pretty stark: this one goes down the road straight, it’s clean, quiet, the air conditioning and power steering work. In fact it’s loaded up with all kinds of goodies, including a fairly nice stereo, a compass, external thermometer, cruise control, fog lamps even.
Seriously, it’s been decades since I had fog lamps.
The car has a five-speed manual gearbox. The power is adequate for what is more of a boulevard cruiser. The Neon had more power and better handling, but you can’t have everything, can you?
Besides, I’m getting a little older. It wouldn’t hurt to slow down a bit, drive like a little old lady and try not to, uh, drive this one into the ground.
A month after buying it, the thing died on me. The engine light came on, she started to bog and die on giving it throttle. The thing was to shift up into another gear, use torque, work it up to fifty kilometres an hour (at an idle or minimal throttle settings) and get her home.
That turned out to be the crankshaft position sensor. My mother has CAA and we got a free tow. The thing was fixed.
Imagine my surprise a day later. The car did virtually the same thing again. I barely got her home from half a mile away. We got another free tow—the value of that premium membership I guess.
That one turned out to be the camshaft position sensor.
I don’t know what to tell you, ladies and gentlemen, but at least we’re fixing something worth having.
It’s a used car. It’s got a lot of miles on it. I’m working from home these days, but reliability is still important.
Thinking of it as a kind of hobby, something to have a little fun with, might be the right attitude under such circumstances.
I still like the car, and it’s still a hell of a lot better than the old Neon.
So far, it hasn’t broken this week and that’s always good.