Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Alarming car update

I love my little car, but once it was no longer cute and low mileage I stopped putting in small repairs. gashes and dings in the exterior? I am ignoring them. Interior fabric coming off the ceiling and hanging low over my head? Whatever. Button for the remote on my keys worn through?  Pffft ---- I can use the manual lock. Shorts in the wiring for my speakers, causing some of the speakers to stop transmitting sound, or the sound to migrate from left to right or front to back? Eh, pounding on the dashboard sometimes helps, and making short car trips means that there really isn't that long I am suffering through tinny music. Glove compartment latch broken? Meh, I didn't need to get in there anyway.

But this? Mmm. The last two days, I experienced a truly weird and alarming situation when accelerating onto the freeway: I pushed the gas pedal to the floor and it went into full roar mode, then when I lifted my foot, the pedal stayed down. This, honestly, was terrifying, and involved me slamming on the brake (and hearing weird noises as it tried to simultaneously accelerate and brake) and me hyperventilating and generally freaking out.

Since it happened again today, I got home and looked all around and didn't see anything wrong with that pedal, so I very carefully drove to my dealership and told them my problem. "Where's your floor mat? Is it catching up the pedal?" asked the dealer guy. Feeling kinda stupid and abashed, I said I didn't know. We went out to the car.

So the floor mat is worn and has basically ripped where the latch holds it in place in one corner, and it is kinda creased in a weird way that holds up the corner that is near the pedal, and, yeah, it probably was catching the pedal when I floored it. So the guy put it back in place and used the point of a key to tuck it back into the latch and pushed really hard down on everything and said that it would probably be fine from this point on, and I, feeling really really stupid and incompetent at this point, said thanks a whole bunch of times and drove home. Tomorrow I will see how it feels when I get on the freeway again.

Now I am looking around on the internet, saying, hmm, do I need a floormat? Maybe I should throw away this one and not use a floor mat at all. Do I break my "don't bother repairing cosmetic bits on this car" promise and get a new floor mat? You bet I am going to be getting out and inspecting the placement of the floor mat very carefully from now on. After looking around on the web though, I feel like I am justified in my freakout as there have been the occasional accidents and deaths with people whose gas pedal has become stuck in the full-on zoom position. I hope I don't go back to having panic attacks like I did a few years ago and/or become unable to drive.

So now I am looking at the whole car replacement question with a new eye. Yes, nothing major is wrong with it. But, I really don't like the feeling of unsafety or unreliability. It is exactly 10 years old but only has 80k miles on it, so I could still use it while saving up for a new car. But, I might be paying in stress rather than money. But on the other hand, I have the car and about a hundred bucks.  That is my current car fund, if I even have a car fund. And I have no idea what kind of car I would want.

Whimper. Maybe I will give up sleep, and walk to work every day. It's only about 5, 6 miles by freeway. Whimper.


Bardiac said...

I'm glad it wasn't something worse! That's scary!

My car is in the shop today getting the 100K work done and a small oil leak fixed. Then I hope it will be good for another few years without too much work.

Susan said...

I am glad it was something so easily fixable! I am totally un-techy, so I tend to keep my cars 10-11 years, and then replace. Like you, I don't want to be worrying what comes next! I do the regular oil changes, and the big services, I just replaced the timing belt, against my brother's advice, because I'd rather spend $600 now than $2000 later.

undine said...

Very scary! You don't need a floor mat. My was jettisoned in the big Prius speed-up scare a few years ago, and I don't miss it.

Anonymous said...

That's scary! I agree with undine-- ditch the floor mat.

Notorious Ph.D. said...

That sounds terrifying. Yes, get rid of the floor mat.

But what about getting rid of the car? I live about four miles from work, and while walking would take a long time, biking has been a great alternative. I get my exercise, I don't have to worry about parking, and if I've had a stressful day at work, all that stress is blown out by the end of a brisk ride home.

As you can tell, I'm a bit of an evangelist on this subject, so drop me a line if you want to talk about it.

And in the meantime: replace the floor mat, and be safe.

Unknown said...

Good to know that it wasn't something serious. How's it now? Cars need care and proper handling in order for them to function for a long time. What I would suggest is that you bring your car in trusted repair shops for maintenance check-ups. Thanks for sharing! :)

Nannette Henriquez