It's been an expensive week thus far, and not for lack of trying. My Fair Lady and I attended a black tie event Saturday night where I left our Canon A95 PowerShot digital camera in the car as we valetted it. Said camera was not in the car when we picked it up several hours later, thus requiring us to dig up a receipt so their claims can possibly send us money for it. Then my car dies on me for the last time, and I make a swap for my sister's old car since it won't pass the emissions standards in her new home of California.
Said car's power steering went out on me last night as My Fair Lady and I were driving home from dinner. I take it to Firestone this morning where after two and half hours of poking at it, I was presented with an estimate longer than my arm. The estimate, naturally, included dozens of supplementary fixes they'd "discovered" and recommended fixing right away. Even after automatically whacking half of it, the total came to around $700 to resolve my car problem.
And now for a little backstory.
My parents have historically purchased lemon vehicles with few exceptions. Whenever either my mother or father say, "I'd like to buy that car," said vehicle is the confirmed bad apple in the barrel. Were I to have the money for a brand new car, I would take them both shopping, tell them what car I want, then have them pick out the one for me. At which point I would select a similar model three ros back and four to the left as the one I would buy.
My sister's old car was an Infinity that damn near killed her on so many ocassions I honestly lost count. Then it was traded in for a 1997 Jeep Grand Cherokee, which soon required roughly $2000 worth of repairs to bring it to its current quasi-working state. My car was a 1995 purple Ford Explorer which my father won in a golf tournament, so one would believe it inherently immune to the "lemon curse." One would be wrong.
Ten years on, three transmissions later, the truck sometimes just wouldn't start. The punchline is how intermittent the problem was, culminating in the last three weeks where I would drive it to and from work and that was that. I figured, in my limited mechanical knowledge, that it was simply overheating. The fuel pump was replaced a little while back thus leaving me with a problematic car that might or might not start when I needed it to, but with a shiny new fuel pump.
Cause for celebration, that.
Once My Fair Lady is out of law school and ideally working for vastly more income than I presently bring in, we might look for a new car for myself. Having never had a choice in what car I actually want, I've thought extensively as to how I'll go about the purchase. The first step is about a month or two of research, followed by extensive test driving, followed by dragging my parents out so they can instinctively weed out which cars will die the second the 30,000 mile warranty is breached.