Monday, January 29, 2007

I hate cars

In my lifetime, I have only owned 2 cars, for a total of about 20 months. I even lived in L.A. for a year and a half without a car. Generally I walked or took the bus, or I have lived in cities with decent subway systems (DC, Berlin, London). I think it has saved me a lot of money over the long term.

I hate having to do anything dealing with cars. Both of the cars I owned were actually bought by my husband, who handled all the paperwork and dealings with the sellers. Just thinking about that sort of thing makes me feel like I'm getting an ulcer. So I explained to him a long time ago that anything having to do with cars is his area.

Only now he's in the U.S. and I'm stuck with a crappy car that keeps having problems.

It all started on the trip back from Zambia, where we hit a few bumps hard, and dislodged the battery. The piece of metal that holds the battery in heated up and melted the casing on some of the wires.

Our mechanic at the office fixed the wiring, but said there was something wrong with the starter. He re-wired the car so that it bypassed the starter until he can find us a new one.

It never really worked well - it takes a few tries to start the car, and it makes the most horrible noise. And now there's something wrong with the fuel injection, I think, because the car stalls when it's in idle. I had the mechanic look at it again, and he agreed that there was a problem with the fuel whatever. And he fixed it in a couple hours on Friday. I was elated. I was relaxed for the first time in ages.

Until I tried to start the car this morning. And it's worse now.

I wish I could just scrap it and walk everywhere, but Lilongwe is too spread out. I hate cars so much. I hate mechanics even more. I wish Jorge was here to deal with it.


Dad said...

So how do you start the car if he bypassed the starter?
What kind of horrible noise is it making. You should call Car Talk - they never get calls from Malawi! Do you want their number?

Gwyneth said...

I looked at the car talk website to see if I could figure out what was wrong. I had no idea there were so many things that could go wrong with a car engine.

Anyway, the fuel pump was replaced, which seems to have solved the problem of the car stalling in idle. There's a button that I press to get a spark for the ignition - it mostly works.

Now the brakes are soft - the mechanic says he can fix that today pretty quickly.

I wonder if he just messes one thing up when he fixes another.