The warranty on my car expired last October. Two weeks ago my CD player began eating CDs, beginning with a loaned CD from my voice teacher. Because it was so freshly out of warranty the local Ford dealership offered me the repair/replacement at the “half price” of $200 if I would deliver it directly to the Ford-authorized radio repair shop people (hint: not local). The shop did not accept credit cards or personal checks. They are geared for insurance payments and warranty reimbursements. Hence, cash only. Ouch.

DH recently had the 30,000 mile maintenance work-up done on his car which is very nearly the same age as mine. It cost him an arm and a leg and that was BEFORE he went to the gas station to fill up his CR-V. One of the issues was that the “needs maintenance” light kept coming on, even though the diagnostic machines said nothing was wrong. The reset button must be reset by Honda mechanics. The reset doesn’t _stay_ reset. It flickers on and off from time to time. Annoying, but not fatal.

Some time in the past month my car developed an awful “CLUNK” noise that sounded like a spring going bonkers in the right front wheel area. It scared the daylights out of me when I first heard it. It was a buried, rain-filled pothole on my way to work, I think, that did it. The rims for the low-profile Ford Focus ZX3’s are *very* ouch-expensive. If I had known they were going to be $400 to replace, I might have looked at another car! Anyway, back to the original tirade: the sound was very similar to the time a tie-rod broke on a previous car. But…I could still steer (unlike the past experience), and the noise was intermittent and at first, random. I couldn’t reproduce it when I tried, which is my litmus test for “is this serious enough to deal with NOW or can it wait?” philosophy.

Just recently it began making those noises a LOT, so I mentioned to DH that I was planning on taking it in to be looked at, out-of-warranty or not. The idea was I could borrow DH’s car. The man telecommutes to Chicago from home. He doesn’t need a car to get to work, just feet. (I don’t begrudge him his fortune, honest I don’t…much.) He insisted on driving it to check it out and freaked at the potentially serious consequences of driving any car making noises like that. He insisted I take it to be looked at immediately and use his car. (Umm…isn’t that what I just said I was planning on doing? Such a guy!)

As I left the house this morning, the “needs maintenance” light came on about a block from home and stayed on.


There is a positive ending to this report, however. The dealer called back to say the coil spring was busted (just like I thought! yeah, me!) and there is a blanket one-time free replacement from Ford for it. Another yeah!

Now that just leaves his “lit” issues to deal with…