You’ve met Bessie in the past. I’ve told you about how wonderful a car she’s been to me. She has lasted through one North Dakota winter, an entire year in Albuquerque, and over five years here in the Valley of the Sun.
Bessie has been such a good little car, and I feel very blessed that my Dad drove her to Grand Forks almost seven years ago to hand me the keys before he retired to Mexico.
Since I was upgrading to this 2002 Ford Taurus from a 1993 Pink Plymouth Sundance, I can’t even begin to describe how luxurious it felt to climb into the leather seats for my first drive. It was pure heaven, even though her tachometer read 194,000 miles!
Bessie now has over 232,000 miles under her belt. And, other than the air conditioner not working at the present moment, she has been a dream machine.
So it was bound to happen eventually that something would happen to her. A few weeks ago, since Hubby swapped me cars thanks to the slightly-noticeable-in-115-degrees lack of air conditioning, he came home to tell me that he had been in the parking lot at work for the past ten minutes trying to get Bessie to start.
The next morning, I took her in for a battery check-up. It was practically dead, but it was also just inside warranty and therefore free to replace! Talk about a great day!
Bessie started up just fine with her fresh, new battery, and I drove her home to swap cars with Hubby once more. I promise the swapping-of-cars was his idea. I’m not that mean, but he insisted. Especially when I insisted that it was time to replace Bessie.
There are lots of things broken on her that we haven’t gotten fixed…all four struts, brakes, and the air conditioner, just to name a few. These repairs would cost over $4,000, but as soon as I do them, the transmission will die. I’m not crazy by thinking it’s time to retire her and make the replacement. She has lived a good life, fought a good fight.
The battery replacement became just a temporary fix. A few weeks later, we were in the same situation. Bessie wouldn’t start. Luckily for us, this time she was in our garage when she decided to not be a contributing member of our family team.
With a referral of a good mechanic from our neighbors, we finally coaxed her into starting. I drove her to the repair shop with the windows down and the Oldies blaring on the radio. I
hoped wondered if this would be the last time…
We got a call the next morning. Just like Hubby and I thought, it was the starter motor. And he said there may be more wrong, but replacing the starter would help him diagnose the other problems.
We lucked out when I got the call a few hours later. Bessie was ready, and nothing else had to be replaced! Turns out that the starter motor had impacted with the fly wheel assembly. In over forty years as a mechanic, he had seen such a situation only twice. It was a miracle that she started at all to let us take her in.
I feel honored that Bessie, even when breaking down, did it in a unique and impressive way.
Though I decided a few years back to stop pumping money into a car that could die at any moment, it made sense to spend the $280 for a new starter to squeak out some more time from this wonderful car.
The downside? My plan to get a used car of my dreams was thwarted. Oh well. There’s always next month! I’m just glad to have Bessie back with us in the meantime.