As far as love for inanimate objects goes, this girl is my baby. (Please ignore the rust on the front fender...I'm hoping to have that fixed next year.)
Stella Luna is 22 years old and this Christmas, I will have had her for 6 years. For the most part, she has served me well but since sitting 1.5 years in a family friend's barn (while we were metzing around), she has begun to show her age.
(* On a side note, a man at a red light asked me a few days ago if I am the original owner of the car. WHAT??)
She made the long drive out from PA early in the year with no problems but the problems began not long after.
It all started with some sputtering and stalling when I first started her in the morning but by the time my appointment rolled around, she refused to start at all. After lots of tries and a push down the hill, Michael and I finally managed to start her up and get her to the shop.
Their verdict: faulty fuel pump. So we had it replaced (for a pretty penny...ouch!) and all but a lingering fuel smell, she was running great!
Of course, this isn't to mention the fact that my key somehow got stuck in the ignition and would not, no matter how much turning and WD-40 we tried, come out. Unfortunately, the shop was unable to fix this before we left so Michael and I were stuck locking the keys in the ignition with the spare key and unplugging the batter every evening when we parked it (since some of the auxiliary lights stay on when key is in). A little goofy, but it worked.
We hit the road the next day for the wedding in Ohio and soon realized that the fuel smell wasn't just lingering. But since we weren't noticing any leaking fuel, we weren't too concerned.
All was well until we were heading back from the wedding on the highway and the gas gauge suddenly fell to the bottom. Did the fuel gauge sensor die? Did a hold suddenly form in the bottom of the gas tank? Did the entire gas tank fall off? We had no clue but Stella seemed to be running fine so we kept going until the next gas station where we filled up the tank (just to see how much gas we really had) only to see gas come spilling out the bottom of the car.
We weren't far from our first pit-stop at Michael's Grandparents' house so we kept going despite some safety concerns. And thankfully, Michael's wonderful Aunt had phoned up her mechanic who agreed to take a look at the car (even though it was a Sunday).
Thinking we wouldn't be able to take our car back, the initial plan was to take Michael's Grandparents' car back to Saint Louis and return to trade when Stella was back in working order. But after a quick look, the Mechanic said that there was a simple gasket leak in the top of the fuel tank (meaning no safety concerns with driving her) where the fuel pump had been installed and the fuel sensor was simply broken, so we would just had to pay attention to how long we were driving. Did I mention though that my odometer is broken? It's been broken for years (I probably shouldn't be publicizing this but since I stubbornly won't sell her, I'm not concerned) and hadn't been a real problem until now, when I needed to be paying attention to the miles passing by so I could calculate how much gas I was using. Amazingly enough though, there's an App for that! No, really. After a quick search on my phone I found an odometer app that uses the phone's GPS to track your miles. Using that app (and with a safety 2 gallon gas can in the trunk), we were able to safely (and without spilling gas everywhere) make it back to Saint Louis by using a few gallons, then replacing it.
After returning home, we dropped the car off and they immediately fixed the leak in the top of the fuel tank.
To recap though, the following things are broken in my car:
Ignition switch (the key is stuck)
A/C (did I not mention this? That car ride to and from OH was the hottest, sweatiest time of my life but $1200 to repair is a bit much at the moment)
Oh, and I'll probably need a new clutch by the end of the year
I know it seems crazy to keep her around. I'm sure our families question my sanity at times but Stella really is a great car and in a few short years, she'll be considered a classic. That has to count for something...