There may be a new car in my future.

I’ve got a four door sedan that I’m perfectly happy with, except that every summer either the airconditioning or the cooling system blows up. I feel like some kind of ecoterrorist; four years in a row I’ve lost all my freon due to air conditioning leaks. I take it to the dealer (my Beloved, while brilliant at all things car, does not do air conditioning). They fix it, exorbitantly. Three weeks later (or once, memorably, one hour later) all the freon is gone again, but it’s always a new leak, not something they already fixed.

Late last summer I had the car retrofitted for R134. It survived the remainder of the summer. Last week we hit the 90s, and I turned the air conditioning on for the first time. Mirabile dictu, it worked! I drove home from work in air conditioned bliss. I pulled into the driveway, turned off the air, turned off the car, and DING! the “coolant level” warning came on.

The next day there were a couple of quarts of antifreeze on the driveway.

So now a new radiator and a new valve of some sort are winging their way here. Until then, I’m dripping coolant all over the universe and dumping another gallon in every evening. I should be ashamed of myself.



  1. Patricia Tryon

    Yikes, Katja. What do you think you’ll go for? We’re looking and have pretty much settled on a Honda CR-V. Maybe a Toyota RAV, though. Gotta have something for the mountains.

    Love the bird of paradise, btw. Very cool.

  2. Katja (Post author)

    There are two additional constraints. While I have no problem getting the wheelchair into my car when I am by myself, my family finds it onerous to have to take it apart and put it in the trunk (which is plenty big enough, thank you very much) or in the back seat when one of them goes with me.

    So I am being urged to consider a station wagon, with a big enough cargo space to fit the whole wheelchair intact. I don’t want something on a truck chassis (SUV) because I don’t want to have to climb up.

    And because my Beloved is brilliant with all things car, and front wheel drive cars are designed for ease of assembly, not ease of repair, I need a rear wheel drive car.

    There aren’t very many RWD wagons out there. We had originally planned to replace the current BMW sedan with a BMW wagon, but not if the cooling system isn’t improved. Mercedes is another possibility. Then there’s the Dodge Magnum, and the Lexus IS300 SportCross.

    I went to look at a Magnum the other day, and it would certainly do. It’s brand new, though – I’ve never yet bought a new car, or an American car. Of course, I don’t know if you can really call a car built by a multi-national company in Canada with a Mercedes drivetrain American.


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