My Car is Dying

“He didn’t hold out a lot of hope.” This was my husband’s summary of our mechanic’s reaction to my 17-year-old Thunderbird limping into his lot this afternoon.

“Either it’s leaking coolant or the engine’s eating it. And he says he couldn’t find a leak before.” Presumably if one’s engine is ‘eating’ coolant, that’s not good. The car overheats to the point of steam billowing out from under the hood. This would lead, I believe, to the engine seizing. And that is death.

It is sickening. I love this car. It was a dream come true. And now it’s dying.

My husband tells me the mechanic was raving about a RAV4 Hybrid, how it gets 42 miles a gallon. I am aghast at this, the thought. Trading my beautiful car for a crackerjack box SUV driven by every Tom, Dick, and Harry on the highway. “I wouldn’t be caught dead in a RAV4,” I reply, looking out the window of our F150 as we pull away from the mechanic’s lot.

“It’s like your whole identity is wrapped up in that car,” he says.

Of course, my whole identity is wrapped in my car, I think. I GREW UP IN DETROIT.

We talked about cars, we bought cars, we admired cars, we knew cars, we washed cars on Sunday, we waxed cars by hand. We never let a wet chamois hit the ground lest it pick up tiny stones that could scratch the finish.

Don’t get me started on chrome.

My husband doesn’t understand any of this. He’s from Philadelphia. I don’t know what they did in Philadelphia. Ate sandwiches. He drives a truck and never washes it.

How did we ever stay married this long?

13 Comments on “My Car is Dying

  1. He probably ate Philly cheese steaks–like everyone else in Philly (my husband’s also from Philly). Engine replacement sounds like the best possible solution, although I very much liked by RAV4 before I totaled it by hitting a 14-point buck on the Ohio Turnpike at 70 mph.

  2. Made me laugh: Of course, my whole identity is wrapped in my car, I think. I GREW UP IN DETROIT.
    My father was an extraordinary mechanic. And he knew Fords inside and out. He’d replace the engine and whatever else needed replacing. And if someone told him he couldn’t find one, he would somehow find one.

  3. Garry was addicted to ragtop power cars and when finally, the winters really caught up with us — because we moved out of Boston and needed a car that could slog through the snow — he went into years of mourning. He has recovered, but it was a long period of grief. He LOVED his orange ragtop Challenger and after that, a red ragtop Mustang. I think he still dreams about them.

      • He used to tell me that his car was a bigger “star” than he was. 25 years on the challenger plus another 15 on the (next) Mustang. It was moving out here where you really NEED an SUV — and the leaky roof on the Mustang — that finally moved us into a Blazer (the early ones sucked gasoline but man, were they LIVELY) — and now, a Jeep which is really a Fiat 500 rebadged. It’s the same orange as the original Challenger. At least something remained the same!

  4. Ah… Does this member of the family have a name? If it truly dies will you have a celebration for it? You must have dozens and maybe hundreds of stories in which this important character plays a major part????

  5. Sorry to hear about your Thunderbird. Have a great photo of you letting your husband drive it. But RAV4 hybrid miles are good!

Leave a Reply