Wednesday, September 22, 2004

Would it Help if I Got Out and Pushed?

Frustration, thy name is automobile.

The last media release date I looked forward to with as much anticipation as I did yesterday for Star Wars and The Dark Tower was July 13, when NCAA Football 2005 was released for PlayStation 2. I stopped at Best Buy after work that day to buy the game, and you may recall that my car's engine light came on as I drove home from there. Thus began a series of frustrating episodes in which I tried to get my car fixed, to no particular avail.

Oh, how history repeats.

I never did get the car fixed to my satisfaction. Before the engine light came on, I was having trouble with occasional stalling, and after the light came on it got pretty bad. When I took it in that day (to Midas), they replaced the ignition coil. That caused the engine light to go off, and seemed to take care of the stalling for a little while. Eventually, though, the stalling started up again, so I took it to a Dodge dealership earlier this month to hopefully get it taken care of. It wouldn't stall for them, of course, so they didn't do any work on the car. The car also stopped stalling for me after that, so that was fine--it seemed like a temporary problem that had finally just gone away on its own.

Yesterday after work I stopped at Best Buy to get the Star Wars trilogy on DVD. On the way home afterwards, my car's engine light came on. The car didn't stall, and nothing else happened, but the light came on. Being already into the evening, there was nowhere I could take it, so I decided to just go with it for a while to see what happened. As I drove around later that evening, it stalled again. I had trouble starting it this morning when I left for work, and the engine light was still on. I decided then and there to take it to the dealership again on my way to work and leave it with them for the day.

As I got on the interstate, the engine light shut off. When I got off the interstate and stopped at the light at the end of the ramp, the car didn't stall. I saw no point in leaving the car at the dealership if it was going to hide its symptoms once again, so I just came to work. I'll see how it acts when I go out for lunch today.

At this point, the car is making me absolutely insane. I have no idea what to do about it. I can't get it fixed if it doesn't act up when the technicians have it in their possession, and it seems to have the perfect timing to keep from doing so. I don't want to keep pushing it when there's obviously something wrong with it, but I also can't just stop driving.

The perfect solution, of course, would be for me to get a new car. My beloved Neon, although it's only a 2000, has over 103,000 miles on it, and it's obviously going to need to be replaced sooner than later. Getting something new is an option that, honestly, I'm going to have to start looking at more seriously. I don't know how I'm going to afford it if it comes down to that, but the same can be said for an expensive repair on my current car. In the long run, buying a new one makes more sense than keeping the old one on life support.

UPDATE: On my lunch break, the car ran flawlessly. No trouble starting, no engine light, no stalling. While that's good news, it still drives me crazy. I wish it would just go one way or the other.

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