i have spent the last week searching for a vehicle to get me to work and back. there is a bit of a time crunch, starting work on the 14th, and no big city pool to draw from. nanaimo is the closest bigger town, and there are few cars in my price range (less than 5000) that are hatchbacks and with low mileage. it’s funny, i’ve noticed, i would have not much of a problem driving 1/2 an hour across winnipeg to go pick something up or check something out, but to drive half an hour to another town feels like toooo muuuch. mentally i can’t handle doing it too many days in a row without the possibility of fruitfulness, so perhaps that led to a bit of a naive decision when purchasing a car.
we had gone down to nanaimo one rainy night to test drive a mazda 3, on the way down i was convinced i was going to get it, it looked so good on paper. but we got there and the check engine light was on and the trunk had a leak and there were no service records. i was still pretty for it, but it was more of a meh feeling. i figured it was good enough, but i wasn’t excited about it. we went home planning to come pick it up the next day to take it to the mechanic for him to check out. in the morning i felt about the same, but dad having even a little bit of a doubt managed to talk me out of it. back to the internet i went. being in a time crunch i decided to open up my search to allow sedans, even though i really wanted a hatchback for the versatility. i found a whole bunch of toyota corollas and a vw golf. i had also previously only searched for japanese made cars and fords (looking for a 4cyl ford ranger for island purposes). one toyota had low mileage (150000ishk), but one was over 300k and the golf was 280k. i lined up two corollas and the golf. i had texted all of them asking about issues and anything else i should know that they hadn’t included in their ads. seemed like all of them had no or minor issues. the first corolla was a write-off, literally. good thing dad was with me b/c he diagnosed a blown head gasket. it was cool to see all of the gunk shooting out of the tailpipe. the second corolla was great it seemed, but it was a sedan and the guy was really full of himself and unwilling to budge on the high price and i wasn’t excited about it. oh. but then the golf. i loved driving it. it shifted dreamily and was a hatchback and cute and the brakes were just done and it had a great sound-system and didn’t seem to have any issues. also, the guy seemed nice. so i got it!
9km into the drive home the check engine light came on. then nearing home when i was at a stop, it felt like it was shuddering every now and then, like a misfire. then, upon starting it up after stopping somewhere, it made a noise after ignition. when i went to lock it that night, i noticed the trunk doesn’t lock. the next day i moved it to have more access to all the doors while cleaning it out (smells stinkily like air freshener) and when i went to start it again, the battery was dead. when i checked the oil it was black and below the min mark (my dad had checked the oil when we were looking it over before purchasing, but he was running on lack of sleep at the time). the day after that i noticed the brake fluid was also below the min mark, and so was the coolant. i had another look under the car and noticed a leak at the rear drivers side brake. the day after that i found the floor on the passenger side was wet. also, there is no owners manual and only one of those really expensive keys. so, one must ask caroline, why did you get that car? i must have at least been wearing partial rose-coloured glasses. i definitely wasn’t thorough enough in the test-drive phase, and i was lulled by what a nice guy the seller seemed like. it was also only 2500$ so i suppose not so bad for that price?
in the end it seems like it just wasn’t a very well taken care of car, but maybe i can turn that around if it will let me? dad’s neighbour came over this morning and it turned out he had a code reader so he checked out why the light was on. sounds like it’s probably either the catalytic converter or the oxygen sensor, and the engine coolant temperature sensor. so not such a HUGE deal. i filled up the brake fluid, oil and coolant yesterday, along with the empty cell in the battery (and charged it), and drove to town and back. all the fluid levels stayed the same, so that felt positive. i can buy a new battery. dad couldn’t feel the misfiring, and said the ignition noise is the starter but isn’t pressing. so, i will take it to the mechanic this week and see what else he can find, but maybe it will be ok?
on the plus side i went for a run yesterday morning and finally smelled the damp earthy air here. breathed in the forest. felt the moss. got veiled in mist. rejoiced. *dad found in his research that the “check engine” light is also jokingly called the “volkswagen light”. you can probably guess why.