Tuesday, August 08, 2006


I should not be allowed to own a car. It's not that I'm a bad driver or have been in multiple accidents. It's simply that I'm cursed when it comes to cars. My problem is two-fold (at least).

(1) I always seem to choose the sickly, runts of the litter. Growing up in Texas, I inherited my mom's Mercury Lynx when I turned 16. It only left me stranded in the parking lot of HEB on four separate occasions, and the air conditioner managed to last up until one scorching July when I was driving back from Big Bend National Park. When I moved to the metro DC area, I left this car back in Texas and purchased my vehicle, a 1999 Ford Escort. I loved this car but will be the first to admit that that love didn't always translate into TLC. We hurt the ones we love the most, right? Having grown up with a grandfather who managed a Goodyear Automotive, I wasn't used to having to take care of my own car. When the brakes started to go, I rode those bad boys 'til the bitter end. Right before I got them fixed, I would drive and scope out soft things to run into in case it came to that. And when that check engine light finally came on, I couldn't bring myself to find out what was wrong until my transmission died. I promised my next car would be treated properly and with the utmost care, so a couple of years ago I bought a 2001 Volkswagen Passat. This car I loved even though I knew it was way too nice for me. I kept it gassed and the oil changed...the whole nine yards. Everything was going smoothly until the day I got the urgent "STOP ENGINE IMMEDIATELY" message. A quick tow to the nearest dealership and I learned the engine my sweet, expensive (for me) car had imploded. Who do you know who gets a hole in their oil pan that shoots metal into their engine? Evidently mine does. Perhaps the car's original owner was Republican, and the car simply could not stand one more day of the humiliation of a Kerry sticker. When I finally buy that new engine, I'm going to be damned sure it comes from fine liberal stock ; )

(2) My second set of car issues seems to be related to the legal intricacies of owning a car. When I first moved up here I had never heard of a yearly car tax or county stickers. That resulted in loads of fun the first couple of years. In later years, I must have wound up on some tow truck pin-up calendar because my car got jacked by the tow companies more than the average Honda Civic sitting on the street. One too many metro parking tickets...gone. Flat tire...gone. My favorite was when my car got towed at the metro parking lot for being "abandoned". Little did I know it was car abandonment to park it in a metro-regulated parking facility at 8:00 am that morning and come back for it at 11:00 pm that night (well before the last metro train runs). My most recent run-in with the towing company involves them taking my car from my apartment complex because my safety inspection is expired. Maybe it's just me, but I find it hard to get a car inspected when it has an imploded engine and hasn't been moved for several months. I was even prepared for the this time having called the state highway patrol, Fairfax County government, the DMV and even my apartment complex before the inspection ever ran out. I wanted to know what I needed to ensure my car remained in the spot it called home. Evidently the tow companies are the new redneck mafia because, despite all of my efforts, my car has once again been towed. I'm tired of being a doormat though. This time I'm going to win in my battle with the tow company.


  1. My first 'out on my own' car was a Pontiac Grand Prix. No one told me about this transmission fluid stuff. Or that the transmission itself wouldn't take kindly if it ran dry. It blew. It lasted a good while first though.


  2. I can't believe you said that car's previous owner must have been Republican! Tsktsk.

    I am lucky to have my dad who used to do most of the word on my car and now reminds me what needs to be done. Plus, he helps so I don't get screwed over when I take it in.

    You'll beat them, though!

  3. sometimes i am pleased that i don't have a car...whenever something goes wrong, i know i don't know enough about it so i end up inevitably feeling like i am going to get screwed. the same sensation comes whenever electronics - read "computers" - bite the big one as well.

  4. samantha1:54 PM

    Oh Lord. They are a little 'tow happy' there, aren't they? It's so ridiculous! I went for almost two years without getting a new inspection sticker - it was bad, I was ashamed. Here it only takes about five minutes, they just make sure the blinkers and windshield wipers work, no lights out, etc.

    You go kick those towing people's ass! You need your car!!

  5. maybe they're using your car to run drugs over the border.

  6. Buffy - Yikes!

    Scarlet - Having your dad around definitely has its perks : )

    Amanda - Yeah, I know what you mean. Normally, I can't even make myself bother arguing. Not this time though.

    Samantha - Kind of makes me miss Texas. I know I wouldn't have had this kind of trouble in TX.

    Connie - Oooo...there's a thought. Ha!

  7. i guess one thing remains the same since i left da big BN: serena and her car troubles :(

    feelin' your pain,

  8. The Mercury Lynx? I thought I was the only person who had that kind of car way back in the day.... I finally separated with mine in 1993. It had a tendency to do a cough-cough-cough a couple seconds AFTER I turned off the ignition. Oy!

  9. If my car was towed for not having a valid inspection sticker, I'd be losing my temper. Good for you for taking a stand.

    Good luck with the mafia.

  10. Stephanie8:42 PM

    I still extend my offer to drive you around to junk yards to look for engines, even though you blamed republicans on your broken down car!

  11. Stephanie8:46 PM

    Honey you will get no where with the towing company, blame your apartment people for hiring them to tow you. Also do they have parking spaces you can rent that are covered? You might be better off to rent one of them and move the car there, they probably wouldn't tow from there. Lastly talk to your complet manager and see what you can get done. If you rent the space will they tell the towing company to back off.
    Towers get paid for towing, they won't stop unless they are told to by who hires them.