I will never love my car.

I bought my car in 2004, used from a local Ford dealership. I think I paid about $6500 for it. It’s a 1999 Ford Escort ZX2, and at the time it had about 60,000 miles on it. Right now it has about 110,900 miles on it, and luckily enough has no major cosmetic damage (excluding some scratches near the keyhole on my trunk, and uhm, this dent in my bumper from a friend…)

But I’m just had so many problems in the 4 years of owning this car, that it’s caused so much financial burden on me (and my dad), that if I could sue it, I would.
2005 – $1530
2006 – $3000
2007 – $900
2008 – TBA (I’m going to guess around $200-300)

The first problem I had with my car was in November of 2005. I was driving my boyfriend-at-the-time’s brother to work at 3AM, when my car made this huge bursting noise. I thought it was my tire exploding, so I pulled over to investigate.

I then tried to put my car back into drive (from park) and next thing I know it sounds like my car shit out a baby. Pushing it forward you can see transmission fluid all over the place, and pieces of broken gears amidst the fluid. To repair my transmission cost $1500. It took them forever and a year to get it fixed the first time, but I was lucky to have the place only a few blocks from my house.

I got my car back a few weeks later, only to have it slip out of drive a “little bit” at the time. By the time February came around, I was hitting close to 5-6RPM (7 being redline) while under 50MPH. With a working trans, I should have been around 2.5/3 RPM at that speed. So one day I was on the way to a friend’s apartment, driving up a large hill/intersection when my car decided it just did not want to go anywhere. So my car went back into the shop, but since it was under warranty I didn’t have to pay. Resulting in getting dicked over and being carless for almost 1.5 months. Oh yeah, and somewhere in between there I also had to buy a new battery, but it wasn’t that big of a deal. It was what, $30 and maybe 20 minutes of my, er, Chris’ brother’s time. Oh, and let’s not forget the time that my alternator belt slipped off. Had my roommates and a neighbor put it back on for me, after searching Google for hours for the graphic picture of it.

So fast forward to June 2006 when I’m getting ready to drive 1000+ miles to Houston, TX. I’m in Hope, Arkansas on I30 at 10:30pm at night. My car’s lights start to dim, and I’m no longer able to tell what speed I’m going, how much gas I have, or hell, use power steering. So I immediately pulled over, and of course, had my car towed that night. The next day while I was at the little podunk auto shop (which ironically enough, was on the same exit where I had pulled off in front of–I didn’t make it any farther since my car’s headlights were off and there were no street lights) I find out that my alternator is bad and will have to be replaced. That was about $600 to get fixed. And it was an obvious must have because A.) I was in the middle of nowhere, B.) Where the fuck else was I going to go? LOL.

I’ve already been home for a few months, and it’s maybe November, and my car starts to slip out of drive randomly, whenever the fuck it feels like it. I’m leaving work to go home, and but instead I took a different route home. A route that has two left turning lanes, and of course just happened to be uber-busy at that time of night because of the high school football game just ending. I’m in the left hand lane waiting to turn when, what do you know, my car doesn’t go anywhere! So of course we get my car towed, and find out the transmission is still as fucked, and that the previous shop broke some important pieces (aka: my car’s computer, the trans case itself, and god knows what else.) The cost to get that fixed? $2500.

But this it the amazing part. The day my car was ready (which was a few weeks–it takes time to take apart the entire transmission!), was another bad day. I pick it up, and I drive not even 3 blocks away to the gas station (and for some much needed cigarettes.) I go to pull out of the station, but my car keeps shutting off. So I called my dad who was still at the shop, and had the shop owner come out with a battery to charge my car thinking that could be the issue. Nada. Car still won’t start. So he leaves the porta-battery on, and just pushes the hood down as far as it would go and has one of his guys drive it back. I’m with the shop guy in his car driving back, when all of the sudden I see my hood fly up and into my windshield, and I hear “FUCK!” from the guy driving my car. Well, not only do I have a car that won’t start, but now I’ve got a shattered windshield and a banged up hood.

The shop replaced the windshield for free, and then told me that my alternator (that I just replaced not even four months ago!) was bad. So I had the choice to have a pretty new hood installed, or a new alternator. Yeah, hi, I’ll take the alternator! So a few months pass by and things are going great. Hell, they’re going perfect. But in July a new problem started occurring. Sometimes my car would not reverse immediately, and would jerk into gear once I gassed it a little bit. It was random enough that I called it a fluke, and went on my merry way. By the time May came, it was enough that it was a problem. I tried to reverse out of my best friend Amy’s driveway, but I couldn’t go anywhere. I turned the car off and on, went there every gear, did everything possible, but nothing would work. So of course my car went to the same shop, and they worked on fixing it. I believe it was still within warranty, so this time I didn’t have to pay for anything. Although once I got it back, my front right tire exploded on me, resulting in paying $300 for a new set of tires. Bah!

So now it’s September, and I’m thinking things are fine, but wrong! I was no longer able to truly reverse, so I made careful when parking. I only parked if I could pull out of the space, because if I tried to just pull into it with another car in front of me, I would most likely end up getting stuck in that spot. How the fuck could this happen again! But I was still able to drive my car, so I didn’t bring it to the shop right away. The icing on the cake was when I lost power steering, and realized that either my alternator belt slipped off, or something worse. My dad came to my rescue (as he always does) to see if he could put it back on, but he wasn’t able to. So it was brought back into the shop, to where I was told it was the alternator casing the cracked causing the belt to break on me. That would be $500 to fix, but the transmission issue would be fixed for free.

So fast forward to Tuesday night, and I’ve been issue free with my car. It’s freezing outside, and the weather channel said it was about -2F with windchill, and my car decides to putter on me when I gas it, only to have it die on my as soon as I pull into a parking lot. I thought maybe it was just low fuel so my dad came out there to bring me some gas, and to help assess the issue. Well, the car still won’t go on with 1/4 tank, so he decides pour some down the main valve, and that allows my car to start up. We let me car idle for awhile to heat it up and then start revving the RPMs, and doing this causes the car to shut off. So finally after 3.5 hours in the freezing cold, we call it quits, and decide that it’s out of our hands. At this point he thinks that it could either be the fuel filter that’s bad, or the fuel pump.

I’m opting for the fuel filter, since that’ll be cheap. I’ve already spent $65 just to tow it, so if this problem can be uber cheap, I’m all for it. If it’s the fuel pump, I’m looking at spending at least $200. NOT COOL CAR, NOT COOL.


  1. My dad has a 2000 ZX2, and he’s had similar problems. Especially with the hood! Right now he has it bungee-corded down, since the latch underneath it broke. His power steering’s shot (I honestly don’t know how he still drives!). His heater doesn’t work, either. It drives me crazy to dive with him, since it’s a.) cold as hell and b.) incredibly loud since the hood is rattling the entire time we’re driving.

    Hopefully the fuel pump will be okay! It sucks that you have to put so much money into your car.

  2. Dude, we have the same car. Mine’s silver. I’m sorry you’ve had so many problems with it. Last february (LOL) I went to get cigarettes at like 5am, and tried to back out and got stuck in the snow. Due to lack of being able to fix it, it’s been sitting in my driveway for over a year. I miss my moonroof and my cd player and my cute car, and not having to drive my dad’s pickup truck with a cowboy hat rearview mirror ornament. 🙁

    I hope everything gets resolved!

  3. First of all, no offense, it’s a Ford. Ford’s are good for one thing only: leaving you along side the ride. I think it’s time to evaluate whether or not the costs’ of the repairs outweight the cost of the car, and if they do. Get rid of it, and if you’re looking for a good car. Honda or Toyota. It has been proven the engines last longer than the bodies on the car do. So foreign is the way to go.

  4. I will never own a Honda or a Toyota. That’s all I have to say about that.

    And yes, I’ve already thought about owning a new car; I’ve already blogged about it. I just don’t have the money, nor the credit score to even think about that at this point.

  5. Hmm. If you won’t go for a Honda or Toyota, I’d probably go with Chevy then. I’d probably go with a Cavalier then. Not only is it American, but you’ll get good gas mileage, but I’d stay away from the 4-Cylinder (there are very few 4-cylinder’s that I would recommend).

    We’ve had nothing but bad luck with Ford, so we switched to Chevy and Scion.

  6. What a familiar post. I’ve had the same experience. Before I bought my current car, I had a 1990 Buick that my parents let me drive.

    First, the tires. No big deal, I went and just got used because at the time I couldn’t afford new.

    Then, my throttle body kept slipping. And whenever you shifted into gear, you had to wait a minute before the transmission actually shifted. You could feel a -click- whenever it was all good to go.

    After that, I kept hearing a thunking. Like a rattle inside my engine. Then it decided to go, then die. Especially if I was at a stop sign or a light. My dad decided to take the car around to see what I was talking about. It always worked for him. When I finally broke down into tears about, he took the car off my hands and let me drive my mom’s car until he figured out what was wrong.

    Next thing I know, my dad’s calling me up. The car is stuck. It won’t move at all. I get there and there’s this trail of oil from where he had been parked to where he had stalled. And through the oil pan was this thing sticking out. Turns out, I broke a rod in my engine.

    I used some of my college refund money to pay for a new engine and then the fuel pump went out. It’s still out. The car won’t run unless the tank is half-full.

    So, I went out and bought a car and gave the Buick back to my parents. I’ll never buy another Buick.

    My dad’s always has good luck with Chevy. And I have a Saturn right now and I love it.

    Good luck on the car situation!

  7. Same story here. Gets to a point where it is cheaper to pay $500/mo for a new car instead of $2000 every six months on repairs.

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