November 19th, 2003

Now, This Is Just Annoying...

My 1996 Mercury Sable has been pretty reliable, even with 92K miles on it. Normally, I start looking at replacing a car in the 60-70K mile range, but things were up in the air when it passed through that zone and then Ford announced plans for the Ford Five Hundred (loosely described as "a tall Taurus") which is exactly the sort of car that I'm looking for. (When you're six foot tall with a 30 inch inseam, headroom is everything.)

On Monday, I noticed the car was behaving funny. As I would gently brake to approach a stoplight, the car would jerk forward before stopping. I was pretty sure that this was transmission misbehavior, which is never a good thing. Later, I tried a hard stop and had to manually shift into second gear to get the transmission supply any significant power to the wheels. Not good.

I asked Gretchen to check with a friend at Meineke to see if he could recommend someone. The recommendation came in, I called and made arrangements to take the car in on Wednesday. And then, on Tuesday on the way home, the O/D Off light on the dash started flashing. Also not good.

I grabbed the manual from the glove compartment and paged through it at various stoplights. It said "Take the car to the dealer for servicing". Well, yes, I knew that. But a failure to shift correctly in and out of overdrive would account for every symptom I was seeing.

Under the circumstances, I decided to take it directly to the tranny shop and drop it there last night on the way home. This morning I got the call. It's time to rebuild the transmission.

*sigh* So I'm having the transmission rebuilt, because the alternative is buying a new car which isn't the car I really want to buy right now. OTOH, with any luck (knock on wood), that'll keep things running nicely for another year or more.