I’ve been meaning to get on here and do an update for the last several months, but I’ve had trouble getting my words together. Things have been going really well, I’m just haven’t felt like writing.
But the last couple weeks have been challenging, so I figured I’d come in and share. Because misery loves company, you know?
And as I write that, I realize that this isn’t nearly so challenging as what’s happening with Luke and Krista right now and I feel really badly about that and I wish there was something I could do to help there. But until I can figure out what to do there, this is what’s been happening here.
The morning of September 14th, our little blue Nissan Versa started making a weird noise. It sounded like a weed-whacker. Really annoying BbbbzzzzzzZZZZzzzz noise. I drove it to work and mentioned it to one of my coworkers, and he suggested it was the steering fluid. We took it to the mechanic’s on Tuesday and they didn’t hear the noise — it stopped making it by the time we got it to them. But they did get a weird error from the computer. They asked that we bring it back another day when they’d have more time — they diagnostics report they got was 12 pages long. Also, we have electric steering, so it’s not the steering fluid pump.
So we brought it back Thursday night so they could have it all day Friday. It was being more troublesome now — it had trouble climbing up the slight hill to go over the interstate. The engine stuttered and the speedometer stopped working. We stopped, turned the car off and on and the speedometer came back on again, but it definitely was not accelerating properly.
The following morning, our mechanic called to tell us that there was a sensor failing, which they needed to order from the dealer and get shipped in. They still hadn’t heard the sound, but they figured they’d replace the sensor and see if it still being weird. The sensor was something that talked between the computer brain of the car and the transmission, so hopefully fixing that would fix the weird acceleration problems.
If you recall, by the way, we are a one-car household. We sold the second car ages ago and we’ve only had this one. Fortunately, we’ve been car-sitting for Jessi’s car while she’s doing her internship in NYC, and we’ve been driving that around.
Friday, by the way, and this will come up again later, I complained to Justin that my ear was hurting a little. I figured it was nothing, just annoying, and that it would go away soon.
Saturday, the sensor arrived, they plugged it in, and then they finally heard the noise. And as far as they could tell, it was something inside the transmission. And they do not do transmissions.
You know, in my limited experience with cars, it seems like we have two basic groups of car mechanics: those who work on transmissions and those who do not. It’s the only one huge difference I’ve found.
So we thanked them for the work that they were able to do and drove the car home. Monday I went to work and did an impromptu survey asking my coworkers if they knew any reliable transmission mechanics. I came up with 5 different places to call and passed them along to Justin. He called them to find out if any of them would look at the car and give us a quote on what it would cost to get the transmission repaired.
He called all five of them and all five of them said that the Nissan Versa has a CVT transmission — a continual variable transmission, I think. And they do not repair those. None of them. But the last one said that he’d look at it to confirm that it really is the transmission.
We drove it to their garage at the end of the day Tuesday so they could have it first thing on Wednesday. All day Wednesday, they didn’t call. We weren’t feeling very good about things. We looked up the Kelly Blue Book value of our car and determined that if the work was anything more than $1200, it wouldn’t be worth the money.
Also, my ear still hurt.
Thursday morning, they called and confirmed that yes, the transmission is the problem.
I just want to break for a moment and say that this car has 122,000 miles on it. We’ve taken good care of it. Done proper maintenance to it. Never been really hard on it. We got it new, as I’m sure you recall, back in 2008 when my Buick died. Also of transmission failure. WHAT AM I DOING WRONG TO THESE CARS?
The mechanic’s garage was so wonderful to even call and see if we’d purchased an extended warranty on the car when we bought it. We did! Guess when it expired? 120,000 miles.
They gave us a quote on what it would cost to replace the transmission, because that’s apparently all you can do when the CVT fails. You either replace the whole transmission or replace the whole car. There is no other option, apparently. The quote they gave us was $3700.
So we said no, thank you for checking into it for us, we’ll come back on Friday and pick up the car.
And Justin told me to accept that my German tank of an immune system was not going to clear this up and to just call the doctor and get an appointment for whatever is wrong with my ear. Which I did.
And that brings us up to today. We went to the garage to pick up the car after I got off work. Justin tried to drive it away, got as far as the stop light down the street and turned back around because the car would not get out of the lowest gear (or whatever our silly transmission has) and would not go more than 4 miles an hour, even with the pedal all the way down. Whatever ails our little Baby Blue had well and truly taken effect and we were not going to get her back home. He drove it back to the mechanic’s, who said that they’d let us park it in the back of the lot and leave the keys with them, so whenever we could find a way to get it moved, we wouldn’t have to drive out there.
And then we drove to my doctor’s appointment and was told I have a minor middle ear infection, to be treated with amoxicillin and flonase. The most wonderful part of that story is that it only cost $2.18 to get my prescriptions filled.
The not so wonderful part is that I’ve probably seen the very last of my blue Versa and I loved that car. It was a great car. I learned a lot of things about how NOT to buy a car. And it’s seen me through some really wonderful times. And I really wish we didn’t still owe like $1100 for the new tires we put on it back in June and the $200 we paid for the new sensor last week and the oil change and the other work we’ve had done. But at least we’re paying that off on a card with 0% interest and should have that whole card done shortly.
THAT actually, is the annoying thing — we were right on track to have all the credit cards paid off by Christmas. And the last of the current school debt paid by March or April. And then we would be completely debt free. And we’re not looking forward to needing to pay a car payment. For now, we’re good using Jessi’s car — through we are going to get it an oil change and maybe some other maintenance since we’re going to be driving it so much more than expected. And we don’t really know when she’s coming back to town, so we might be able to use her car for a while yet.
And we’re not totally up a creek. We have a great option on the table that we’re considering and I’ve been asked not to talk about. But it might be our solution. Hopefully I’ll be able to share more about that soon.
I was really hoping that we’d be able to trade in the Versa and get some money there, but I don’t think we’re going to get much for a car that doesn’t run.
Anyway, other than that, things here are fine. My ear infection should be cleared up in a couple days, the doc said. Work is going fine. Being just the two of us in the house is STILL not getting old. It’s wonderful. It’s so clean.
And I think I’m going to go back to binge watching NCIS.