Yes, everyone, you guessed it: it’s the return of Car Woes (with pictures!).
This time around, instead of a singular, pricey repair, it’s a list of pricey repairs and they’ve put my poor car out of commission until they get fixed. Let’s see…the rundown in rank of “Most Dangerous, Must Be Fixed Immediately” to “Annoying, But It Probably Won’t Kill Me”:
Front lower control arms: these things basically make the front wheels turn and make sure the wheels don’t just plop off. They’re kinda important.
A lower control arm, in bits.–>
Oil Cooler Seal: so every few months, I notice my car is leaking oil, so I bring it to my mechanic who says, “Cracked oil pan.” I go, “Goddammit, again?” and pay for it to be replaced. BUT, as it turns out, it’s not the oil pan leaking oil (maybe the first time, but not the other three), it’s the oil cooler and that would be due to the corroded little rubber seal. So, new seal needed, else I’ll keep spilling oil everywhere.
Struts: you hit a pothole or one of those monster speed bumps, your car goes up and comes back down. The struts are the part in the front that cushions this force and are a single metal tube with two other metal components that slide up and down the tube when you hit bumps. In the middle is this rubber bellows that contracts and acts like cartilage in this metal joint. The one on the left side of my car is damaged, but functioning. The one on the right is missing the cartilage completely, so every time I hit a bump, these metal parts of the wheel and shocks slam into each other.
It’s those big coil things up there.–>
Shocks: the giant metal springs that cushion your car and stop the bottom from slamming against the asphalt every time you hit a pothole. Mine are pretty much shot, front and back.
<–The left is you driving. The right is your car on stilts.
Aaaaand—drum roll, please—the thing you’ve all been waiting for, the thing that drove me to bring my car in because it sounded like it’d suddenly assimilated a diesel motor cycle under the hood:
Catalytic Converter: part of the muffler system, it makes the harmful, choking gases put-putted out of the back of the car slightly less toxic. Without one, you can’t pass the emissions test and your car sounds like an angry, hungry bear whenever you accelerate.
Oxygen Sensor: and in tandem with the catalytic converter is the oxygen sensor, which was knocked out when the cat converter went and died. The oxygen sensor basically scans the exhaust from the catalytic converter and tells the car’s computer exactly what’s getting exhaled out the muffler whenever the car is running.
In addition (and not being repaired until I win the lottery) are the brakes, the tires, the side mirror covers, the lights under the doors, the rear right door handle, and the trunk carpet (which has turned toxic and corrosive) all need to be replaced. PLUS, the left side of the car needs to be sanded, the rust removed, and repainted. ARGH! This car costs a bloody fortune! But, it’s resale value is in the toilet ‘cause of the three rear-endings it’s been subjected to (the frame is warped beyond repair).