Chronicles of the Corolla

Ohhh, my Corolla.  Where to begin?  I have a love/hate relationship with my car.  I drive an '06 Toyota Corolla which I bought brand new back in August of '06.

Love the gas milage, the fact that it works and has AC and heat, & gets me from point A to point B!

BUT, I bought it brand new when I was in dire need of a car!  Mistake 1.

My first car, Peter (pronounced pee-tuh in your best British accent), was a '95 Saturn I inherited in from my dad in 2003 upon turning 16 (and learning how to drive stick!) since he was getting a new Saturn (cause he sold them! Ha, not really. Inside joke!). It was 4 door and navy and was a nice little first car to have since it was free!!

Fast forward to blazin' hot August 2006 and poor Peter's clutch was giving out and his AC wasn't so cool anymore.  I was in college, had a job, and figured I could afford a new car instead of the alternative - sinking money into ol' Peter.

So my mom & I went out and scooped up my brand spankin' new, shiny black Toyota Corolla, complete with a stick shift and manual locks and windows!  Obviously, the whole package ;) Mistake 2.

Hindsight is 20/20 & if I could go back I definitely would've sprang for that power package!  (Although, by the time I have kids big enough to roll down a window, they probably won't know why it's called "rolling down a window" in the first place.  All you do is press a button right!?)

Anyways....I was excited to have a brand new car with AC and a working clutch :)

Sadly though, my Corolla has been upon some hard times during our ride together!  You can't really call her a lemon (I guess my Corolla is a girl - she never got a name, though) because lemons have loads of defects. And my Corolla does not have defects to date.

Well, except for maybe the driver. 

Incident 1 - In September or October of '06 (my memory fails me), not long after my big purchase, my roommate at the time was following me to dinner in order to head to her night class afterwards.  As we approached a stop light, I put on my blinker to merge to the left lane and then immediately noticed a State Trooper in that lane.  I didn't want to cut him off, so I did not merge, turned off my blinker, stayed in my lane, and stopped for the light.

Did you hear the crash!?!?  That's right, I got was rear ended and then pushed into the car in front of me!!  By my poor roommate!  Needless to say we didn't make it to dinner and she didn't make it to class!

There was over $6,000 worth of cosmetic damage to my new Corolla!  :(  You do remember me saying it was stripped correct?  So, had the damages been just a little more, it would've been over 1/2 the value of my sweet car and it would've been considered totaled.

But it wasn't!  So I drove around a Dodge Charger for 6ish weeks and got my brand new, fixed car back in early December.

Incident 2 - Just several days later, I proceeded to get my very first speeding ticket!  Ughhh...I drive a black car!!  How did they pick me out!?

At least the ticket didn't hurt the car, though!  And I got a prayer for judgement, so all was well.

And all stayed well for the next 8 or so months.  I drove around incident free, until August 2007.  You guessed it - Incident 3!  When leaving from a friend's parking garage (that I now happen to live in - well not the parking garage, the building attached to it!) I was backing up to my right and did not realize the closeness of my front left end to the large cement beam.  FAIL.

Scratched up bumper!!!  More cosmetic damage.  But only cosmetic damage!  Repair time this go 'round wasn't nearly as long.

Incase you weren't counting, by August '07 in just one short year, my car was now on it's 3rd bumper.

Whoops!!  Are you seeing how the lemon might actually be me!?

Just one month later, in September 2007 while on the way home from Mac's BBQ (YUM!!) with my fam, I was in a less familiar part of Charlotte and was not aware of the speed limit or my speed at the time.

Incident 4 - That would be speeding ticket numero dos.  Cue tears!!  The cop didn't care.  But the insurance people did!!  Especially since I had had that prayer for judgement less than a year ago.  Mom & Dad weren't too excited either!

After that, I took a vow of geezer speed and I'm ok with it.  It's working well so far (knock on wood!) so I'm gonna keep it up!

Fast forward 3 months to December 2007 - I am once again leaving the same parking garage from incident 3, but this time I was parked on a lower level and in a middle spot to steer clear of those dadgum beams!  I was in a bit of a hurry (again, my memory fails me as to why) but I didn't' have time for any of that reverse/backing out nonsense since the space in front of me was open.  So I popped her in first and was just going to pull through to save myself 3.5 seconds!

Well - Incident 5 - there was a low cement wall (I hate you cement!!) right in front of my car, preventing my quick exit.  GINORMOUS FAIL!!!  Broken bumper AGAIN!

Ok, clearly I'm the lemon!

Luckily, my bumper was still fully attached and although some of the grate (or whatever you call it) was broken off and there were some scratches, etc. it did not need immediate fixing.

I really didn't want to tell my parents so I decided I could live with it for a bit.  Again, it was only cosmetic.  I kept in on the DL (down low) and my parents didn't notice until the next March ('08).  At that point they figured it would be coming out of my pocket so it was my prerogative as to when I wanted to fix it.

Needless to say it remained that way for some time!  Hah, and somehow over that time I managed to lose a hub cap.  Ughh....always something!  I wouldn't deem a lost hub cap an "incident", but it definitely contributed to the ghetto look of my car!  Wrecked bumper, 3 hub cabs to my name.

I've hit a few curbs in my day as well (probably how I lost that hub cap!), but none like the one in June of 2008 on stinkin' South Blvd.  Incident 6 - Eating and driving (stick shift) don't mix so well and that curb just kinda hopped up and then my tire just kinda blew out.  Funny how that happens!

I was in a bit of denial though and drove it about 100 more feet to the next turn off the road.  Big mistake. Instead of just my tire, I damaged my rim as well.  That was expensive!  And a bummer!

I had them throw in a hub cap while they were at it.  I didn't end up getting that bumper fixed, though, until August 2009!  Bumper number 4 for the count!!

Since then, I've been pretty much incident free except for a random nail in the tire here or there, and those were just plugged right up.  Incident-less until this August, that is.  (There's something about August and my car I'm noticing!)

I was visiting my family in Virginia to go wedding dress shopping with my cousin, Erin!  My husband was headed to Charleston, SC that weekend for a bachelor party and we thought for sure he was the one headed into Hurricane Irene!

Wrong!  Incident 7 - Irene struck the coast of NC, VA and inland VA waaay more than predicted!!  Turns out I was the one in the torrential down pours, heavy gusts of wind, loss of power, etc.

A few heavy branches decided the roof of my car would be a good spot to land!  Really there were just a few good dents, nothing too outrageous, but since it was due to a natural disaster (and not me!), and my premium is manageable, I got her all fixed up!

No more dents, some new paint - good as new!  Well, good as 5 years old with a few previous cosmetic procedures, anyway!

I've been living in my apartment building going on 19 months now and I've been driving in and out of my garage (yes the afore mentioned garage!) that once was my nemesis, not once, but TWO times before, without incident!

I was overdue apparently.  Last Monday, while pulling through the second gate, another car was coming around the curve.  I pulled to the right to allow them some more room and wait for them to get fully out of my way.  Incident 8 - I pulled a little too far to the right and as I began to pull forward, the back right side of my car, just around my tire, scraped another huge cement beam :(  Oh how I loathe you cement!!

I was slightly afraid to spill the beans to my husband.  If you recall, I just had some painting done (although not in that area), so I knew he would be less than thrilled with me, the lemon.  Since he travels, I had a few days to work up the nerve.

My prediction was correct, he was definitely less than thrilled.  But it's just a car so he got over it rather quickly.  We know of a guy, so hopefully he'll be able to buff that baby out, slap some new paint on her, and we'll call it a day.

Finally, the moral of the chronicles of the Corolla, ever long as they may be, is that - As it turns out, I'm definitely the lemon!  :(  A defective driver sounds so dreadful.  I prefer to think of myself as a rather ungraceful driver, instead.  Sounds a little more poetic anyways.

In my defense (if there is one), I've never claimed to be the best driver.  In fact, I've never even claimed to *like* driving!!

I always heard bad things happen in 3s, but I'm up to 8 now.  I think I either need a new car or my car needs a new driver.  Wonder what the going rate for drivers is these days!?


Ashley said...

Oh my gosh, I loved this post! I'm making John read it. He is so mad at my Camry right now. We've gotten it fixed about 55 times since we got married 2 years ago. He claims that I've ruined it with my crazy driving. Apparently I run into cement and fly over speed bumps and slam on the brakes. (And?? Ha!) So we have two options here-either both of us are completely stupid drivers, or else we blame it on Toyota. I vote the latter!

Erin said...

I laughed my way through this post because I've had my share of hitting cement, too...and then I read Ashley's comment and that made it even better!! Such an entertaining post...thanks for writing it!! :)

Arlyne Nelms said...

That's quite a hilarious re-telling of your anecdotes of your Corolla so far. You can definitely say you and your car have a rich history together. At least you're now certain that your car is reliable despite its fair share of mishaps.

Spartan Toyota