Runcible Blog

Car Trouble '06

After a couple of years of problem-free driving with my Civic, I was forced to take it to a mechanic when it failed its emission inspection because of cylinder misfires. The garage down the street from work said it needed a tune-up that would cost ~$225. Instead of shopping around for the lowest possible place, I dropped it off at Hondar House on Prospect Street today. I figured they probably know a thing or two about Hondas...

They ended up replacing the spark plugs, distributer cap, distributer rotor, and wires even though I said that I had already replaced those recently. The response was that the replacements weren't Honda equipment and probably weren't up to snuff. Who am I to argue? I am curious, however, about the distributer rotor -- when my father and I were replacing that stuff, that rotor was impossible to remove. We broke a drill bit inside the screw and really stripped the thing trying to remove the cheesy plastic rotor. We ended up just leaving it on, but I'm surprised the mechanics were able to replace it. I'm almost tempted to unscrew the distributer to see if there actually is a new rotor inside.

The more serious damage is a cracked catalytic converter, I guess. They quoted me $800 if the oxygen sensors can be removed easily -- $1700 otherwise. Yikes! I think I'll pay a visit to Low Cost Exhaust in Lawrence (so low-cost that their website doesn't work!) for a second opinion.

My monthly car insurance bill dropped by about $10 since moving from Lawrence to Cambridge, but my car costs have gone up in other ways:

  • Towed 3 times: $230
  • Tickets associated with tows: $70
  • Other parking tickets: ~$160
  • More gas required for commute: ??
  • More wear-and-tear = ~$300 so far, with more to come...

So, it's been at least $700 more expensive to commute from Cambridge, and I haven't even gotten a raise to make up for the added cost of traveling to work every day. I think I'm getting a bum deal here.