Our Volvo, which we bought when Vince was less than a year old, has been dying a slow, expensive death. Two years ago, the check engine light went on and refused to turn off no matter how much money I gave my mechanic. Because the check engine light was on, the car could never pass emissions (nor could Nat use it to take her driving test). But I kept getting extensions on the emissions testing and hoped that one day the check engine light would magically turn off on its own.
Then my mechanic mentioned that if I spent more than $450 on repairs to get the car to pass emissions, then I could get an emissions “waiver”. After hearing this information, I went with my repair receipts in hand and got my waiver and kept driving the car with the check engine light on – never really “passing” emissions testing. No matter that Jeremy spends his professional life trying to tighten emissions regulation and get cleaner cars and fuels on the roads so we can all breath cleaner air and stop that small thing – global warming.
Then about two months ago, the muffler/catalytic converter failed and the car sounded like a Harley motorcycle. It would have been $1500 to repair with my mechanic cautioning that it might be another $500 on top of that once he got it all apart and could see the guts. It was so loud, our neighbors thought we had converted the car to diesel. Now I could smell that the car was spewing exhaust – a “high emitter” in the parlance of car regulation.
OK, now it was truly embarrassing I was driving this broken, exhaust spewing car around. Finally, we traded the car in this weekend for a Honda Civic hybrid. It’s very quiet and does not smell like exhaust and the check engine light has not yet turned on. We drove a Civic before we had kids and it feels so much the same, we can imagine like we are kids again. Edda is having a tough time napping in it as she slides over.