Tuesday, September 14, 2010

God Bless The U.S. But I Hate My Damn Ford



We are a three-car household.

The first car is the one my husband drives to and from work. He's an engineer in the sustainable energy industry and, suitably, drives a Honda hybrid. Much more appropriate than when he used to go to work in a honkin' pick-up truck.

The second car is my Honda. I love my Honda. It's cute and reliable and get's decent gas mileage.


19-something-something Ugly-Ass Green Windstar

The third is a used mini-van.  We have two kids so, naturally, we have a mini-van. We got it so that my mom would have a reliable car with which to drop-off / pick-up my youngest at pre-school and get my oldest off the bus. "Why do you need a car to get a kid off the bus?" you say? Well, because you might be able to walk down my driveway but you would need some crampons and a few sherpas to get back up safely.

But, I digress. Did I say RELIABLE? HA! I should start by saying we bought it used from a friend and only paid a few thousand for it so I really a have no right to complain but when has that ever stopped me before?

It's a 19-something-something Ford Windstar Mini-Van in ugly-ass green. I think that is actually the name of the paint color. We've had it for just over 2 years now. Last winter, we had this vexing problem where a fuse would blow when starting the car.  Before the repeating issue was identified, it had become a compound problem because the driver would try to start the car numerous times, thereby draining the battery. The kicker was, the fuse would blow after the driver had already started it up and gone somewhere and then tried to start it again. Of course it never happened in the convenience of our own driveway.

I spent most of last winter answering calls from my mom who had gotten the kids to pre-school, only to have the car refuse to start again. I would leave work, drive there, change the fuse, jump start the car and go back to work.

We have a great mechanic. He's awesome and honest. Really. It's not a myth!

I brought the stupid van in twice and he knew that the fuel-pump fuse was blowing but couldn't find out why. I did some research on the interwebs and discovered that many of the these crappy vans, particularly the ugly-ass green ones, had a problem with the fuel-pumps sh*tting the bed, so to speak. I told my mechanic, who said he didn't want to change the fuel pump until he was absolutely sure because it was expensive (see - honest!) but decided to change it and -- YIPPEE --- it worked! For a brief moment, I thought I'd miss the mid-day, GoToWork-LeaveWork-ChangeFuse-JumpStart-ReturnToWork Game, but, alas, I didn't.

That was last winter.

It's barely September and I got that fateful call from my mom yesterday. WTF?!?! What is this car's problem with impending winter!?!? Is it a frickin' senior citizen and needs to "winter" in Boca Ratton or something?


Battery Charger Thingy
We have this battery charger thingy (I'm certain that's what it is called) at work that you could use to jump start a car. I grabbed that and a borrowed a set of jumper cables. I was explaining the fuel pump / fuse scenario of the Winter of '09 to my coworkers and I really sounded like I knew what the hell I was talking about. I felt like Marisa Tomei in My Cousin Vinny "It's a limited slip differential which distributes power equally to both the right and left tires. The '64 Skylark had a regular differential, which, anyone who's been stuck in the mud in Alabama knows, you step on the gas, one tire spins, the other tire does nothing." 

Unfortunately, I'm only an expert on this particular problem with this particular ugly-ass green Ford Windstar.

Anyways, off I went with the battery charger thingy and cables. I'm sure I was quite a sight with my manicured nails, in a skirt, stockings and black patent leather heels.

I spent the drive there thinking, 

"That is it! I am done with this damn car! IF I manage to get it started, I'm driving it straight to the Honda Dealership and getting a new car! Sure, we can't afford another car payment but I can't afford to leave work every time the car thinks it's a little chilly out!"

When I got there, I checked the fuse it was NOT blown. Phew. Not the fuel pump again. Still channeling Mona Lisa Vito, I called my husband and said "Yeah, I think it's the starter." Turns out I don't know squat about cars and it was just a dead battery. I don't know why it was dead or why it started up, let my mom drive the 10 minutes to school and then wouldn't start again but my husband bought a new battery and that will hopefully be the end of it.

Somehow I doubt it.

And if this happens again, well, God Bless the U.S. but I'm buying another Honda!

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