Monday, March 19, 2012

Mechanic's Special

I bought my Hyundai in August of 1990 and it died September of 1995. It was my first brand new car.  It had 118,000 and some odd miles when the transmission went out.  The mechanic said $1500.00 to replace it.  I had kept it in good repair.  I didn’t understand why it hadn’t run longer.  

A friend checked with someone he knew - about why it had died so young.  They were surprised I had gotten so many miles out of it.  Most of that make during those years only got around 88,000 before the transmission went.  He called them throw away cars.  Today cars made by Hyundai are well built and have a great warranty.  

My next car was a mechanic’s special. It was a 1982 two tone Plymouth Horizon.  It was white and orange.  White with speckled rust spots, except for the right front panel. That was orange.  It had a Volkswagon engine (original).  The turn signal lever was made from a screw driver.  I upgraded the screwdriver with a manufactured model.  A friend helped me take the steering column apart to replace it.

One door would only open from the inside.  I later replaced the latch system.  It always worried me when I had to take doors apart.  When I finally got done there were always left over parts I didn’t know what to do with.

I bought the car for $100.00 and it had 250,000 on it at that time.  I ran it for about 5 years and put another 150,000 miles on it.  It would be some years before I bought another brand new vehicle.

I had been driving the Horizon for about 4-1/2 years when I noticed that it had begun to wander down the road.  I figured it needed to have the tires aligned.  

I had planned a trip to Kalispell and wanted to have the car looked over before I left.  I took it into the KMART automotive shop to have the tires aligned.  The mechanic told me to come back in a couple of hours.  

When I returned a couple of hours later I asked the mechanic how much I owed him.  He told me there was no charge.

“No charge?”


“Why isn’t there a charge?”

“I didn’t do the alignment.”

“Why didn’t you do the alignment?  

“Lady, there’s nothing left to align it to.   You’ve driven the wheels off that little car.”

I cancelled the trip to Kallispell.


  1. Oh, you and your cars. :)

    I love it -- "You've driven the wheels off it!"


  2. Nothing left to align it to...he was honest.  It was probably a good thing that you canceled your trip!  These are great car stories!  You need to compile them in a "Car Owner's Manual"!

  3. Storykeeper FerrisMarch 20, 2012 at 9:36 PM

    I like the title.  I think I might use it.  Thank you.


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