Systems of infinite complexity

Or at least priced like that. Lachlan shakes her fist at the Automotive Gods:

Last month, I paid off the car. Today, it’s in the shop with a tentative estimate of $1321.00.

  • Cracked thermostat housing
  • two hoses related need replaced
  • leaking valve cover gasket on the engine
  • brakes need re-done (rotors resurfaced, too)
  • miscellaneous little crap

AND … the car is at 87k … so we’re looking at having to replace the timing belt within the next year or so, and the 100k maintenance, which runs about a grand. GRRRRRRRRRRR.

Which seems like a lot of money to pour into a Ford Focus, fercrissake, but just about anything you drive these days is going to run up some serious bills when it breaks down, and sometimes when it doesn’t. When I bought my current ride at 88k, I expected to fork over $1500, maybe $2000 to get it back into tip-top shape; it turned out to be twice that. (Geez, they have a lot of emissions equipment in these damn cars.) On the upside, there’s no timing belt, the regular 90k service was under $500, and most of the 105k service is the replacement of the original spark plugs, which admittedly cost fifteen bucks apiece, but there’s only six of them.

I did, however, look around for a Focus maintenance schedule, and it doesn’t look that horrible:

100,000 Mile Service

  • Change engine oil and replace oil filter
  • Inspect accessory drive belt(s)
  • Inspect tires for wear and rotate
  • Replace spark plugs
  • Replace the PCV

The timing belt shows up at 120,000 miles.

It occurs to me that (1) Lachlan is female and (2) it’s not unheard of (though it is reprehensible) for service shops to put the figurative screws to female customers.

Disclosure: When I went car-shopping in 2000, I test-drove two Foci, and came this close to buying one, but wound up with a Mazda 626.


  1. Andrea Harris »

    4 July 2007 · 8:22 pm

    A Ford? Child, please. After my experience with FoMoCo (I bought one of the first generation of Ford Escorts, in 1984, brand new — it barely made it through the 4-year payment plan), I have declared “never again.”

  2. CGHill »

    4 July 2007 · 9:05 pm

    There is that whole “fix or repair daily” thing, after all.

    I had an ’84 Mercury that almost defined troublesome.

  3. arjune »

    4 July 2007 · 9:20 pm

    Sorry about what happened to your car. Car maintenance can sometimes be expensive and it happens when you least expected it. *sighs* I know how it feels, for I had been in that situation. Well, just a month ago I paid a big amount of cash for the repair of several toyota mr2 parts. wheew! I just hope that this would be the last car repair, for I couldn’t afford another expenditure at this time.. Good luck and hope you get the car which you think best for you. :)

  4. ms7168 »

    5 July 2007 · 5:19 am

    I thought I liked the Ford Focus too until I drove one that had 110,000 miles on it. I was so glad I did that. I wound up with a 626 also as you well know :)

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