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Time for a thread about my car

Discussion in 'Anything goes' started by Smallpotatoes, Feb 17, 2015.

  1. Smallpotatoes

    Smallpotatoes Well-Known Member

    It's been a while. I know you've all been waiting for this. Time for me to put on the "Kick me" sign again.
    For two years and four months, I've had what most would call a reliable car, a 2011 Toyota Corolla. I bought it with 30,000 miles. Now there are about 77,000 on it.
    For most of the first two years there were almost no headaches. There was a little hit-and-run body damage and last summer someone stole the Toyota logo off the grille. Why someone would do that, I don't know, but I guess some people will steal anything.
    About a month ago, it stopped running in very cold weather. It needed a new battery and I bought one, no big deal.
    Thing about cars these days, just because something is fixed doesn't mean it's going to stay that way.
    As many of you know, we've gotten a lot of snow around here in the last three weeks and recently it's been very cold, with temperatures around 0 and the wind chill below that.
    On the way to work today, I made it about a half-mile before it stopped running again. I tried to start it again and get it as safely off the road as possible, but it wouldn't start again.
    I called AAA several times only to get a busy signal each time. Eventually, I flagged down a cop. With no other options, he called for a tow, which cost me $75. I'm told I could get AAA to reimburse me.
    The tow truck driver suggested trying dry gas. I bought some at the Autozone across the street from where I live. I poured it into the tank and after a few hours tried to start it. It started, but the engine light was on and after a few minutes, the engine died.
    If it matters, I have a little more than a 1/4 tank of gas in it.
    To get it towed to my mechanic, I tried calling AAA again and again, and again, getting busy signals each time. I don't even know how that's possible.
    Eventually I made a request for a tow online. AAA gave me an estimated wait time of 180 minutes. Four hours later, still no tow truck and the mechanic's shop was closed so I canceled the tow.
    I finally got through to AAA at about 10:30 p.m. and they told me to call back tomorrow morning. I yelled at them a little for having the line busy for so long. They said they were straight out all day. I still don't understand how the line could be busy for so long.
    I don't know what's wrong, but I know that paying for the repairs will be a problem. I really don't have much room for error financially right now.
    And if something like this can be as catastrophic as I'm afraid it might be, I'm on pretty shaky ground financially.
    And somehow I still have to pay for this car and the Dodge Neon, which I had to roll into this loan, for the next 3 1/2 years.
    When I bought this car, I figured I had something reliable, that I was going to break the cycle of owning cars that broke down frequently. Somehow, I have managed to fuck up even one of the more reliable cars on the market.
    I guess cars and I just don't mix. I'd say it's time to start looking for jobs I can get to by public transportation, but that doesn't seem to be too reliable around here lately.
    OK everyone, have at it.
  2. old_tony

    old_tony Well-Known Member

    A 2011 Corolla should have years and years of life left in it. Don't expect the worst just yet. They'll put it on a diagnostics machine and it could be something a lot smaller than you fear.
  3. ColdCat

    ColdCat Well-Known Member

    1/4 tank of gas in 0 degree weather could be a frozen gas line. Gas line antifreeze can help some, but not do everything. If the temperatures will be this low, keep the tank at least half full
  4. old_tony

    old_tony Well-Known Member

    By the way, Small Potatoes, if you're at 77K on miles and you haven't done it already, you need to be thinking about getting the timing belt replaced. Don't let it break on you or you're talking about bigger problems. Most manufacturers recommend it be replaced every 60,000 miles. They'll probably also replace the water pump at that time, too. They're not trying to rip you off. Those two items generally are replaced at the same time. It'll be a couple hundred dollars, but it is necessary maintenance. I repeat, do not ever let your timing belt break.
  5. trifectarich

    trifectarich Well-Known Member

    I was going to say something similar. Find out what the problem is, then you are better able to make a rational decision as to the vehicle's worthiness. On the surface, this car should have many good miles left in it.
  6. TigerVols

    TigerVols Well-Known Member

    Actually, the most popular engine variants on Corollas don't have a timing belt; they have a timing chain that doesn't need to be replaced unless it's snapped.
  7. cranberry

    cranberry Well-Known Member

    Sounds like you're just stuck in a financial spiral that gets compounded with every unexpected bill that comes along. You've done some desperate things just to get by and now you're paying the price. I don't know enough about your situation but my general advice would be to get some financial counseling.
  8. Boom_70

    Boom_70 Well-Known Member

    That's what I would look at first. Find a place that you can park indoors for a few hours and then fill the tank.

    You put 47,000 miles on your car in 2 years. No car is going to go from pillar to post without some maintenance costs
  9. Smallpotatoes

    Smallpotatoes Well-Known Member

    The line at AAA is busy again.
  10. doctorquant

    doctorquant Well-Known Member

    In the 2011 Corolla, the engine is the 2ZR-FE, which has a timing chain but is nevertheless an interference engine (meaning that when open the valves extend into the cylinder and can be hit by a piston if things aren't timed properly).
  11. RecoveringJournalist

    RecoveringJournalist Well-Known Member

    Toyotas have crazy warranties. I would go to the dealer and fully act like whatever is wrong with it is "surely under warranty"
  12. Smallpotatoes

    Smallpotatoes Well-Known Member

    Made the request for a tow online. Estimated time 180 minutes.
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