I’m So Bored with the (cars built in the) USA
I write today in a mood of victory as I have just won an important victory over my arch nemesis, a 2001 Ford Focus ZX3. We’ve been fighting for a few years, and while I am confident of ultimate victory I can’t help but wonder: “at what cost?” It wasn’t always like this. We were like brothers once. That all seems so long ago…
The conflict was inevitable, and if only I wasn’t so naive I could have seen it all coming. Looking back, the fuel pump skirmish of spring ’05 was the opening volley of this conflict, and I can’t say that it caught me by surprise. My car certainly didn’t try to hide its buildup; I just assumed those times when my gas pedal faltered were some internal labor dispute my car would work out on its own. Still, when it inevitably happened, I was caught completely off-guard and if it wasn’t for the timely intervention of AAA I probably wouldn’t be here typing this post. I always suspected my car would turn on me, and even though our warranty treaty had recently expired, but I just didn’t think my car would have the gall to strike so soon. As luck would have it, though, my car had violated a separate recall treaty and the retribution was swift, deadly, and absolutely free.
We had reached an uneasy peace, but now I was on my guard. Was the fuel pump just a feint, probing my lines for weakness? I soon had my answer as it was only a matter of days until my car, or its ally the Ford Dealer (we may never know the truth) began to hit me back with a series of guerrilla attacks. First, there was a leak in the fuel line. Small at first, but soon unable to ignore, this was my car’s first miscalculation. Although not quite dangerous, it definitely swayed the fickle public to my car’s side. Everywhere I drove, they let me know that it was not acceptable to leave a trail of deadly, explosive petrol.
It was also around this time that my car began staging hit and run attacks on my tires from its base in the parking garage neighboring my building. Of course, the parking garage denied any knowledge of the attacks and assured me my car was operating unilaterally. Tellingly, they either could not or would not explain the birthday clown flier I found under my windshield wipers the day of the attack.
And so a pattern emerged, my car would harass me with small, painful attacks, and then retreat whenever I tried to engage it in open battle. And yes, mistakes were made. Maybe I drove the car too hard. Maybe there was a lot of city driving and on-street parking. I am willing to accept that.
But such behavior does not justify my car’s next action, which was to disable the blower motor resistor controlling my interior fan and thus robbing me of air conditioning, heat, and the ability to put my fan on any setting other than “off” or “full blast”. Inhumane, you might say, and you would be right. Christ, I can still feel the sweat on my neck as I inched along the freeway in my metal coffin…
Everyone has a breaking point and by this point the public had spoken, flat out refusing to ride in my car. Enlisting the help of the brave partisans of focushacks.com, I was able to replace the blown resistor and restore A/C. Oh, what a joyous day that was. As the cool air blasted my grease-stained face, I vowed to never again let my car subject me to the cruel whims of nature. But, like André Maginot I underestimated the skill of my enemy.
Time passed, I started to do less city driving, and I bought a new set of tires. It seemed as if my car had given up its tactics of terror and decided to work with me. I lowered my guard a bit and installed a nice new K&N air filter. I decided to use brand-name oil. I finally figured out how to correctly stow away my spare tire and jack.
It only the calm before the storm… (stayed tuned for an exciting conclusion tomorrow involving ratchets flying through the air, several differnt Torx screwdrivers, Styx, and innovative usage of sewing needles!)