The bane of the car

I’ve been meaning to tell everyone about the automobile I decided to aquire and the hassle it’s given me since so I may as well do that..

Presenting one glorious ’92 Subaru Legacy, All Wheel Drive (AWD). 118,000 miles, good for at least another 80,000?

92 Subaru Legacy Station Wagon

For the whole teary story..

Ain’t s/he cute? I was offered her/him/it for a measely $1500 from a friend of my father. It drove smoothly, had a lot of room in the back to lug my things around and it’s mileage was half-decent at about 23-27mpg general VT driving.

I was assured by the mechanic who looked it over that it was in fine condition mechanically and just needed new tires and a patch over the hole on the rear tail light cover in order to pass inspection.

“Excellent” thought I and proceeded with all the hassles involved with registering and insuring a car. I also set aside $500 in order to get the car in tip-top condition.

This was a few months ago.. As it happened I was driving the car to my guitar lesson (my attempt to improve on my jazz playing so I can jam with my father and friends!) when the car started jerking and stuttering as it tried to shift (automatic). Fearing that the car would stall entirely and die I promptly changed course and headed back to the mechanic. He was about to go pick up his daughter from school but because this was an emergancy he had a quick look and was able to determine that the transmission was ‘bad’. Oh happy days. I rang up my host Chuck and told him that I needed my father to come get me. Luckily my father was around and so turned up 30 minutes later.

I left the car with the mechanic and fretted over both missing out on a juicy guitar lesson with local jazz master Draa Hobbes and also the potential cost to fix the transmission in my car.

The next day the mechanic phoned me to inform that the transmission needed replacing and said that I will have to find a new one. Ouch. My father wanted to get down to NYC for Christmas before the weather took a turn for the worse so I promised that I would help out upon my return after Christmas.

Cue the extended stay with my Grandparents on Long Island which you can read about here:

Upon my return, I set about hunting down a used transmission in the area, used because a new one would cost about as much as the car itself did in the first place. Used ones ripped out of other dead Subies in junk yards would be about $300-1000 depending on how many miles they had on them.

Keen to keep the costs down, The first transmission I located was $300 and had 100k miles, I decided to risk it and told the mechanic to expect it the following Monday. However it never showed up, and then I got a call to say that in fact the transmission wasn’t suitable for my car as it was a manual not an automatic, thus I was back on the search. The next one I was able to locate was $400, it had higher miles but came with a months warranty. When this transmission was sent over to my mechanic, he installed it and discovered that it was just as bad as the one they took out in the first place. Joy. At least I got my money back for it hassle free, so kudos to ‘Ken’s Auto Salvage’.

What I won’t get back though were the mounting labor cost at $45per hour. A fun old game this.

Then I got called for the interview in NYC and so had to rush down on the bus in a bid to present myself as most definitely employable. I told the mechanic I would be back in a week and to see if he could find a transmission himself.

The mechanic duely did well, but located a fairly expensive one at $675, it had low miles and a good warranty though, so maybe it’ll be a safer bet. He installed it and called me when everything turned out to be working well. Thus I rush back up to VT to collect the car and pay the bill…. $1717.92. Ouch.. I can’t afford it really but luckily as I’m still not paying rent, I should be able to scrape by for the next few weeks and if I can’t find anything better, do menial labour (see the big yellow ‘M’ striking fear into out-of-work qualified professionals worldwide image below) until I do find something that pays fairly well for using my skills.

The big yellow 'M', striking fear into out-of-work qualified professionals near you.

Will I be flipping burgers? Please, say it won’t be so!

In the meantime, I have a car again but, the kicker is, it looks more and more like I will be settling in New York City for a while and thus won’t actually need the set of wheels!

What’s it gonna be?

2 thoughts on “The bane of the car

  1. A very good question!

    It’s a little sad to see so many holes in my story. I need to tidy up the lose ends. However the car was sold for $800 to cover a month’s rent and some bills early in my move to NY.

    I hope it hasn’t broken down too many times since then, I was pretty honest about the condition of the car and said that it had troubles but the guy said he was accounting for that 🙂

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