Back in 2009, I bought a 2005 Nissan Altima. It took me a little bit of deciding to actually bite the bullet and get it, but it turned out to be a great purchase. I drove that car around for just about a year and I never had any trouble with it at all, which was a real relief after my last few years with Bela Corolla, who I was always having to take into the shop, for brakes and new tyres and starters and back wheels falling off and leaking oil (which never did get fixed) and all kinds of things like that.
The only thing I ever had to take Brown Altima (poor car–never got a name) into the shop for was oil changes. It was great. Then I smashed it into the back of a Silverado, you may remember, and got Kermit (plausibly also called “Green Altima”).
I tend to anthropomorphise almost everything (thus the car names, for example), and I have to say it really does seem like some malignant force in the universe just took notice one day and said, “Hey! Why does she have a car that actually runs without sinking money into it? That’s just crazy. She’s supposed drive almost-lemons. Quick! Kill it!” I don’t know why there would be a rule in the universe like that, applicable to only me, but it feels like it, because in the six or so months that I’ve had Kermit, the routine is starting to feel a lot like the familiar Corolla one.
As you know, he was making weird engine noise from almost day one. He also had this weird issue where, when the engine was warm, it would take him a while to start up. I took him to my mechanics. They couldn’t find anything wrong. I took him back to the dealers. They fixed the window that was messed up, but they claimed nothing was wrong with the engine, and anyway, if it were, the check engine light would come on.
A few weeks later, the check engine light came on.
The diagnostic for the light was saying that the catalytic converter was messed up, and apparently, since the car is still (though not for much longer) under factory warranty, a Nissan dealership should have fixed it up at no charge. I took it to a Nissan dealership. They said nothing was wrong either, except a factory recall of the computer chip setting off the engine light. They reset the chip, the light went off, and I drove home. But my personal inner check engine light was still on.
Over the last month or so (besides nailing a pothole and having to replace two tyres) Kermit’s start-up troubles have been getting more extreme. And then last week the engine light re-illuminated. Great, I thought. I sure hope this is a warranty-covered issue. Like it was supposed to be the first time. I took it back to the Nissan dealership.
It was not an issue under warranty. I don’t have a buffer for these sorts of things. Why couldn’t I have just not crashed Brown Altima? I’m told I’m going to need to get my brakes redone this month, too. That may not be happening. Let’s hope I don’t crash Kermit, too . . .