Tuesday, March 30, 2010

The Docs of Hazard

It's time for an update of our beloved 1992 Honda Accord. I think the last time I posted pictures of this car, it was a year ago and it was missing a window and a radio. It's still missing a radio. I'm shocked the St. Louis police haven't solved that one yet. (You really should read that blog post.)
I figure the cost of ownership for this car is somewhere in the neighborhood of $0.12 a mile, which is pretty amazing. However, between age and living in St. Louis, it's not exactly the car it used to be.

In December, as I was leaving for the airport to go to Utah, I discovered that more local criminals had attempted to break into the car or perhaps steal the car. The was nothing in the car to steal as the radio had been taken the previous March, so perhaps they were after the vehicle itself. Good for me they're incompetent and the car was still there. What they did succeed in doing was breaking the lock on the passenger side. They hit the lock with something like chisel, and also tried to pry the handle away from the door. All they succeeded in doing was making the lock and handle inoperable. It was a two door car (already inconvenient), now it's a one door car. Because I was literally on my way to the airport, I didn't have time to report it to the police, not to mention I don't think I can take that much harassment again without doing something they'll arrest me for.

So we've meant to get it fixed, but really no one ever uses the passenger side so it doesn't come up too often to remind us.

A couple of weeks ago, the Honda quit while Nick was driving it as he was entering the intersection in front of Cardinal Glennon Hospital. He was the first car in the left turn lane, turning on Grand from Park, but the car just wouldn't go. Eventually he got the car restarted and was able to get it home. It seemed to be an electrical problem, but it wasn't exactly clear what the problem was.

So the next weekend he threw some parts and maintenance at the car, things we knew it needed but not necessarily things that would fix the problem. You'll notice our lovely new battery in the photo above. Things seemed fine for a few days, but the trouble with intermittent problems is you're just waiting for them to come back. Nick and Brigham went to the automotive store together in the Honda. Knowing the passenger door doesn't open, I was really curious where Brigham was sitting. I really expected him to be sandwiched into the back seat (which would be fairly comical as the seat is small and Brigham is really tall.) I watched as they pulled up to the house and saw Brigham seated in the passenger seat. I waited. I watched as Brigham rolled down the window (manually of course) and climbed out "Dukes of Hazard" style. Nick just had to roll up the window after him. It seemed all our car was missing was a confederate flag painted on top.

The electrical problem came back on Friday as Nick was headed to school. In fact, in came back as he drove on that same spot on Grand and Park. The problem was, this time he couldn't get it restarted, and had to back it down the hill, but there cars behind him. Poor Nick, he never made it to class. But I was really glad it wasn't me. The upside to this failure was it was big enough the problem was identified. We bought the replacement ignition switch at NAPA, and in a couple hours Nick had taken apart the steering wheel (including removing the air bag), put in the new part, and was ready to go again. He's pretty handy to keep around. With this maintenance and repair episode, we spent about $240, so that cost of ownership is creeping up.
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Jo Ellen/Toots said...

LOL. Love, Toots

Dallas said...

That POS has an airbag?!

Stacy said...

Wow! I can't believe you've made an 18 year old car last so long. Our 2002 only lasted until 2009 with only 77,000 miles.

Kara said...

Only 77,000 miles? I don't think I've ever driven a car with less than 75K. Did it explode or something?

Dallas, it's not a POS because it still runs AND has its hubcaps. Also, compared to many St. Louis vehicles, the body is in great shape.

The Hammer said...

Kara, honda has the best design on hubcaps. It is impossible for the hub cap to be removed as long as the wheel is bolted to the car. The lugnuts hold the hub cap on.
Not many hondas in the world with missing hub caps.