Poor Car, Poor Me

January 9th, 2008 by Potato

Well, the weather’s been quite blustery here today, and that lead to a rough night of sleep for me. Every time I woke up with a jolt to something banging outside I’d panic and think someone was breaking into the house. Finally at 5 am I just got up and started my day. It’s kind of sad how getting broken into can make one paranoid. Oddly enough, it wasn’t our gate banging and thumping out there (it usually is, it’s quite noisy if it gets unlatched), so I don’t know what was so loud. I haven’t slept well in over a week now :(

Over the holidays, the check engine light on my car came on. I remember getting all freaked out and pulling over the first time that lit up on me, but a few years ago it started going off every few months due to a sticky solenoid valve of some sort, so I’ve become a little more liassez-faire about it. When I’m in London, I usually take the car in to Westgate Honda for service: they’ve been a pretty stand-up dealership for me, with repair rates that are fairly competitive with independent shops (they charge more for labour, but some services are flat fee, and they’re very good about explaining things to me and giving me written quotes for big things). If I had something else that needed to be done, such as an oil change, then they’d pull the code off the OBDII for the engine light for me for free. Not this time — they dinged me for $90 just to read the code. Ouch.

While in the past that light has meant something happened in the car but its not really a repair issue (a cylinder pinging, or a valve getting temporarily stuck), this time it indicated that the oxygen sensor in my exhaust system has failed, which is over $300 to repair. D’oh. They also pointed out that my radiator is in rough shape. I knew that already, it’s leaking about 1 L of coolant per year. That’s such a slow drip out of the system that I’m not really worried about it, and it still keeps the engine cool, but it must be getting bad if they noticed that on a quick visual inspection. Another $375 repair. While I don’t like driving around without the oxygen sensor working properly, I think I’m going to defer both repairs until the spring (and probably defer the radiator until it becomes a bigger problem), just to see what the rest of the winter brings. I don’t like having my car in anything less than perfect mechanical condition, but it’s just been such a money pit this last year or so…

Oh, I think I found the source of the noise that woke me up:
A fallen rain gutter

One Response to “Poor Car, Poor Me”

  1. Ben Says:

    O2 sensors go all the time, and at this stage in your ownership of the car I don’t honestly think it’s worth the investment in repairs to replace it(them). While it(they) could provide you with better milage, the cost to repair it(them) would likely outweigh any benefit you would see in gas savings within the next two or more years. I’d say leave those, and if you’re rad is only leaking a L a year, leave that too, and just make sure to top it up at regular intervals (which will cost a LOT less then $375!)