My current car can be described as "formerly white." From that, you should deduce that I give not a crap when it comes to my vehicle other than it gets me from point A to point B and you don't reset my radio stations.
My parents recently told me I'll need to get a new car soon. I laughed. I hate driving, and I plan to always live in a city where I can use my own two legs and/or public transit, so someone's flying a bit too high in Colorado if they think I'm buying a new car.
However, I do try to keep up with the "mandatory" things when it comes to my current vehicle. This is more to keep my dad's stress levels in check. I'd rather not be the reason he has a heart attack.
For example, I know that every three months or 3,000 miles my car needs an oil change. It doesn't hurt that my local auto shop sends me a $5-off coupon every 90 days. (It's asking too much to think I look at the sticker in the corner of my windshield.)
I get super self-conscious whenever I go to an auto shop. I imagine the mechanic can see right through my Frye boots and sunglasses to the ignorance that is me. Like, I can't even figure out how to open my car's hood. What is steering wheel fluid?
Last fall I took my 2000 (or 2001, who knows) Toyota Camry to get her oil changed. It had been three months after all.
The mechanic: "You've only driven it a thousand miles since the oil was last changed." (I told you, I don't drive my car much.)
Me: "Don't you get it changed every three months?"
Mechanic: "Not in newer cars." (I think that's what he said. Is 2000/2001 considered "newer"?) Anyhow, I wanted to ask if I could take my car back; I no longer wanted to pay for an oil change. Too late, though.
Mechanic: "Is it four or six cylinders?"
Me: " . . . Mmmmm . . . umm . . . " Where does one even look to find out these things?
Mechanic: "Do you want to replace your air filter?"
Me: "How much?"
Me: "I'll ask my dad for that for Christmas."
I waited for the 3,000 miles for my next oil change. At this time, the mechanic informed me that the "rack and pinion is leaking, and the right front lower control arm bushings are tearing."
Car people always throw out some jargon, which is gibberish unless you majored in vehicular anatomy, and I'm left trying to sound just as knowledgeable: "You mean my car needs dialysis?"
What I really want to say is, "Does this need to be addressed immediately, and how much will it cost? Does it matter if it's the kidney or the brain as long as it's dire and you're gonna fix it?"
Mechanic: "Oh, and you also need new tires."
There, you're speaking my language!
Either way, my dad wanted a second opinion on whether my car needed breast implants, so I took it to another auto shop. This auto shop had seen my car the year before when I had brake issues, but they drastically over-quoted us, so we, I mean my dad, had taken it somewhere else. Unfortunately, the mechanic remembered me: "I see you got those problems from before taken care of."
Me: "Yaaa, I did."
Mechanic: "We fired our old mechanic. He didn't know what he was doing."
Me: " . . . It happens." How is one supposed to respond to that?
This mechanic agreed I needed new tires. "What type of tires do you want?"
Me: (There are types? Maybe A positive?) "I'm not positive."
Mechanic: "What's the model subtype?"
Me: "Ah, I just can't remember right now."
The next day I picked up my car. I saw on the paperwork that I have in fact a Toyota Camry CE. I then noticed the "CE" on the back of my car that's been there for the last fourteen (or fifteen) years.