Smelly New Car


I had my old 2005 Toyota Corolla in to have two new tires put on because one tire had a hole in the sidewall and there was no fixing it. My dad always told me, “If you have to replace one tire, replace the one opposite it too.” When the tires were installed, I thought the car sounded mighty noisy, which I attributed to the tread on the new tires.

I made a trip to Mobile, Ala. the next week. When I got to Atlanta, the sky opened up and doused the roads with rain. Every time I had to go up a hill, I’d hear a high scream from outside the car. It took a couple of times for me to realize it was my old tires spinning on the road making the noise. When I would slow down, the tires regained their traction and the scream stopped. I made up my mind I needed to replace the two tires on the front too.

As soon as I returned home, I made an appointment and had the two tires on the front replaced with new ones, thinking that would solve all my problems. It appeared to compound the noise issue. I was still thinking it was the tread on the new tires, so I took the car in to let the folks who installed the tires hear the noise and see what we could do about it.

I was told the bearings in the front wheels needed to be replaced, so I left the car at the tire place for its surgery. When I went to pick it up, the noise was less, but still there. “You need the bearings in the left rear tire done as well,” they said. Another day without my chariot was impossible so they loaned me a car to drive.

I picked up the car the next day and was much relieved that the noise was gone. I packed up Zippy (That was my car’s name.) and trundled off to the mountains of Virginia to create a Sweat Lodge and have Ceremony. On the way home, a noise and slight shimmy began to grow as I drove along. Most of the highways home had speed limits of 70 mph and I slowed to 55 mph just in case the wheel decided to go flying off.

I made it home safely and called the tire place the next day. I was told to bring the car right in. Their diagnosis- the bearing in the right front was defective and needed replacing, yet again, and at no charge to me.

I picked up the car that afternoon and drove it home. It didn’t have the noise anymore, however, when I applied the brakes there was now a whumping and screeching. I called them right back and took the car in again the next day for assessment.

“You have rust on your rotor so the pads are scraping when you apply the brakes. It’s not a driving hazard, but you will need to have the rotor replaced for an additional $242.00.

Like hell, I thought. I decided Zippy had been a great car, but was finally at the point in her life where she was going to start costing me money and being without a vehicle on a regular basis- it was time to trade up. And I wasn’t altogether positive I wasn’t being jerked around by the tire place. Maybe the wheel bearings went when they put on the new tires. Maybe the bearing was defective on the right front, or maybe they didn’t install it correctly. I am positive there was no rust on the rotor.

I started looking for a new car. First I called a friend who has a Chevrolet car dealership in a town north of me. He was willing to give me top dollar as a trade-in for my car and a deal on a Chevy Cruz. He drove the car down to my house for me to test drive. He told me when the Cruz needed servicing, he would bring me a car and take the Cruz in for its maintenance visits, which was a great offer. He told me to drive a Honda Civic and Toyota Corolla before I made a decision. He told me I could call him if I needed any advice.

The Honda place loves their cars a lot and had no deals at all- even at the end of the year and the end of the month. Before they knew what I had been offered for my car, they were only willing to give me $1,000.00. They decided they could give me more for my trade-in since the Chevy place had offered more. The Honda Civic is an awesome car, and the salesman was a nice but the price was too high.

So off to Toyota I went right before closing time. They were willing to dicker and had incentives. The car drives beautifully and they had one that didn’t have too many gizmos to drive me crazy. They have free oil changes and tire rotations for the life of the car- can’t beat that.  I called my Chevy dealer friend and discussed Toyota’s offer. He told me it was a sweet deal and I should go for it. So I did.

The only complaint I have- Toyota scotch-guards the outside and inside of all their new cars with a new product that stinks and until I left it parked with the windows down gave me a raging sinus headache. They really should ask if the buyer wants that done. They have special insurance you can buy that guarantees they will re-stink it every year. You can bet I didn’t go for that. After a month it finally has the normal new car smell I’m used to.

Two days later I drove my new car to South Carolina and it handled like a dream. I haven’t named her yet- we’re still in the getting to know you stage. While I’m not thrilled to have a car payment again, I am happy to have a reliable car for all the road trips I do.


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