Baby You Can Drive My Car
July 01, 2007


I've had my driver's license since the age of 18 (a bit of a late bloomer in that department). That's roughly 14 years of driving. In that time, I've determined that me and cars...we just don't mix very well.

My very first car, an old used primer gray Toyota, I bought from my step-mom's sister. Not long after I had been driving it, the water pump went out and it over-heated on a freeway offramp. It had to be towed back to Santa Cruz, and have a good portion of its guts replaced. Once that was done, it ran beautifully. About 2 weeks later, I was in an accident which bent the frame of the car and put her out of commission.

My second car, coincidentally another Toyota (slightly newer), was bought shortly after I graduated from high school. I pretty much drove her into the ground (and the side of a mountain, a deer, and a couple of other cars - not on purpose). I think her radiator was replaced no less than 3 times and the hood replaced at least twice. She had a tendency to over-heat as well. The last couple of years I had her, I watched the temperature gauge more than the gas gauge. I finally traded her in 8 years later for my current car. The dealership gave me around $250 for her, which was surprising. I thought I was going to end up paying THEM to take her off my hands.

After I bought her, you may recall that I was a tad obsessed with driving my first new car. I've now had Vivian the Beetle for a little over 6 years and it's safe to say the honeymoon is SO OVER. She's had her share of minor problems which could be expected, especially as she got older. But she's over-heating. The temporary solution has been to check the water level, which seemed like an okay idea as I don't have an extra pile of money lying around for car issues (though you think I would have learned by now). But Saturday, despite me checking the water reservoir and finding it about half-full, she over-heated again. At this point, I'm not sure what to do. Maybe I'll add some more water and see how it goes. Maybe I'll take her back to the mechanic. Or maybe I'll get a second opinion from another mechanic. Or maybe I'll move somewhere with awesome public transportation so I don't need a damn car.

I've actually been taking the lightrail to work since all this over-heating business started, and it's not that bad. I ended up taking advantage of the lightrail a few months ago after my car was at the body shop due to a car accident, so I was familiar with the whole system. I walk to the station, which is about a mile from home (yay exercise!), and it only takes about 15 minutes to get to my stop which is conveniently located right outside work. The whole time, I've got my ipod on, and I'm happily not paying for gas or watching a temperature gauge, or yelling at people for merging onto the freeway at 30MPH. I think maybe I could get used to this.

Anybody want to buy an over-heating 2001 New Beetle?



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© Whitney Brandt-Hiatt: All writing, images, and photogrpahy are the property of Whitney Brandt-Hiatt unless otherwise noted.