Something terrible may be about to happen… The Mustang may be about to die.
Granted, the car is twelve years old, and it’s done its duty. I’ve driven that car from Rockledge to Orlando and back several times a week for over a year (thanks, UCF!), to New Mexico and back, between Florida and Charlotte a half-dozen times in three years, and to malls and movie theaters up and down the east coast.
I’ve nearly been moved to tears at the majesty of driving with the top down at night, across bridges, through the desert, and between skyscrapers. I’ve loved that car ever since Will found it listed for sale on the side of the road.
Sadly, I worry that it may be limping its way towards the Great Parking Lot In The Sky.
It’s got more miles than I can even tell you — because the odometer stopped working over a year ago. For years, the parking/emergency brake has served no functional purpose other than to enable the automatic convertible top. The AC has stopped working on anything other than full blast, and only half-heartedly at that. The cars drips a steady and embarrassing bit of oil, unabashedly displaying its pain to my entire parking lot at home. All of these things were tolerable though, since I literally only drive 3-4 times a month.
On the way home from Florida last month, I noticed that the car was struggling to shift gears. Just a little, nothing to panic over… But since then it’s gotten gradually worse. At first it just seemed like it needed to warm up a little before it would kick into gear. Then it started taking longer and longer, and slipping out of gear even after I got it going.
By yesterday it was hiccuping in and out of gear while in motion, shuddering each time and making me white-knuckle the steering wheel. I was seriously worried that it might keel over and die, right in the middle of the street. I actually skipped some of my errands and rushed home, desperate to make there before it was too late.
And as I pulled into the parking lot, the little symbol of doom popped up on my dashboard: “CHECK ENGINE”
I’m going to have to take ‘er in to the shop this week, and see how bad this is… I know the oil leak is getting worse, but I’m hoping I can get by without that. I’m REALLY anxious about the transmission — pleasepleaseplease let it just need some transmission fluid.
If it turns out this is going to require some major repairs, I may very well be looking to get rid of the car. It’s just not worth putting a huge amount of money into this, especially considering my lifestyle here. I basically only drive to the grocery store, dry cleaners, tanning salon, and hair salon on a regular basis. Usually when going to eat, drink, or see a movie, if it’s not walking distance I catch a ride with whomever is going with me. I can’t imagine having a car payment for as little as I drive. Frankly, it would be cheaper to take taxis.
Then consider the fact that my goal is to move to NYC in the Spring or early Summer, once the dust has settled with work. It’d be ridiculous of me to get a new car less than a year before moving to a public-transit city.
Besides… I love my poor, beat-up, aging heap of a car. I hope she’ll be okay 😦