Tales from the Cultural Wilderness - Journal

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2001-11-12 Entry: "Car Paranoia"

I'm definitely paranoid about my car - having not used it all weekend (I was lazy and stayed in almost the entire time - barring a brief trip down the High Street), I was convinced this morning that it was handling funny. Of course, considering the haphazard way in which I drive, there may be nothing wrong with it. But it worries me nonetheless.

This is odd, considering I try not to worry too much about other things going wrong. But then, as the only thing that has a tendency to is my PC, and I can fix that, there may be an indication of where my worry lies - I haven't got a clue how to fix my car, and I'm required to pay somebody to tell me that it's going to cost a hideous amount to get running again...

Running an older car (it's an F registration, so mid eighties by construction) is definitely not something I intend to do in future (although, I should really caveat that with the fact it isn't exactly a high priority if money is short). It's only had to be repaired twice in 18 months of running (alternator died on me, then a wheel bearing went), and the dirt seems to be holding the rusted bits together, so I shouldn't complain too much.

So why am I worried? Not being able to fix it is one (although having a father who's an engineer and vaguely knows his way around a car at least helps give me an estimate of how bad the problem is); not trusting other human beings is probably another - how do I know these repair places are reputable? Are they telling what's really wrong or just padding their work schedule (and pay packet)?

I've ended up trusting the place I went the first time - they're reasonably fast, and haven't done any work I'd say was completely improbable based upon the diagnosed fault - and the fault has aligned with the ailment suggested by my father in both cases, so they may be reasonably reliable.

Of course, if I'm States-bound in April, I may not have to worry about it much longer (although I'll then just have to worry about driving on the wrong side of the road...).

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