When I turned 16 I was given the option of either having a large birthday part or getting a car. Always one for practicality and not all that social anyway, I of course chose the car. It was a teal 1995 Ford Escort. It was a great first car in terms of gas mileage and reliability. In the 7 years I had it I only ever needed to replace the timing belt. I tried to make it as cool as I could… swapping out the wheels for ones from another Escort model and putting my Miami Dolphins license plate on the front and flame-designed seat covers inside.
It was far from my dream car though. That had always been a Ford Mustang though those were always out of my price range. Given my friend Josh’s inability to drive his in the slightest bit of winter weather, it wasn’t a practical car for me anyway. A year after I graduated college, living at home and still hoping the few interviews I landed would merit a “real job”, I began to consider buying a newer car. I figured while I didn’t have any rent or mortgage payments it would be a wise investment. I longed to buy a Scion TC but unfortunately given the newness of most of them, they too were out of my price range. I was torn between a Ford Focus and a Chevy Cobalt. I should add here that my family is a “Ford Family”. My dad has driven nothing but Fords as his dad did. He had 2 Ford trucks most of his life, my mom has both a Ford Explorer and Fusion and my sister’s first car was a Ford Explorer as well. I should’ve known to stick with tradition, but the sleek appeal of the Cobalt just made me want one. Flipping through an Autolocator one day I found the perfectly priced 2005 silver Chevy Cobalt. My dad, likely cringing on the inside, and I went to test drive and sealed the deal on it that day.
To me this was the closest I was going to come to my dream car for a long time, and I felt awesome driving it. Like my Escort it was great on gas mileage though had much lower mileage and power everything. I had gone from manually cranking my windows up and down to being able to control the radio on my steering wheel. Yes, this car rocked in my eyes.
Then I moved to northeastern PA in fall 2011. While only 3 hours from my former south central PA does not sound like much, the weather is definitely colder. Winter starts earlier, is chillier, and lasts longer into spring that I ever realized winter could. I wasn’t the only one to notice a difference though – my car apparently did too. Ever since I moved north I have struggled with car issues that I never encountered before. Only in the cold weather does it decide to not start at times when I’m leaving for work. I have googled this issue many times, finding many who share my pain, but none who has uncovered the secret to fixing it. I’d go with the idea that it’s just faulty manufacturing but 1-it never happened until I moved and 2-it only happens in the cold.
The other issue my car seems to have with this area is the numerous potholes in nearly every town as well as on highways in spots too. While I try to avoid as many as possible, new ones that I’m unaware of tend to spring up as well as those masked at nighttime by the dark. I firmly believe these treacherous ditches are the reason that I have had to replace my turn signal light bulb on the passenger side at least 3 times. This wouldn’t be a big deal if my car was normal and allowed you to pop off the headlight to reach the bulb. No, my wonderful Chevy requires basically the entire front end to be removed in order to reach and replace it. About a month ago my driver side bulb decided to go out on me. I’ve been holding out until Nov. to get it fixed when my dad or sister’s mechanic boyfriend can do it for me. On my way home tonight my passenger side bulb decided it wanted to join the club and went out as well. Mind you this bulb was just replaced in Sept.
My thought is that my Cobalt hates northeastern PA. It longs to be back closer to the MD line when spring comes when it should and winter doesn’t have quite the same bitter biting chill to it. It wants to cruise down roads that while not always pothole free, aren’t nearly as frequent. Either that or somehow there’s a secret family curse bestowed upon those in my family who choose to deviate from the Ford tradition. While my dad had taken more heat than I ever did for this (many guys at his work were like you let her buy a Chevy?!?), I have learned my lesson. My next car WILL be a Ford… or maybe a Scion TC.