As happens with cars, my Mustang is in the shop right now. At three years old, she has performed well with only a few minor glitches over the years. The puddle lamps had to be replaced in the first month, the Sync module had to be replaced in the first year, and this year the hood needed a paint job to correct a factory defect. Even with all that, the car has performed very well for me. I remember when she was brand new, she had that “new car smell” that makes driving a new car a complete sensory experience. Now, three years down the road, that smell has faded amid all the fast food, sweat, washings, vacuumings, and other daily minutia. I am pretty meticulous about maintenance, so I get the regular oil changes and rotate the tires when needed. Even with all that, Sally developed a rattle last month that was bothering me, so I took her in to the shop to have her checked out. It was worrisome because the factory warranty has expired and I did not opt for the extended warranty, despite the repeated pleadings of the robo-callers.
Fortunately, the problem is covered and is being repaired. Something about the tie-rods needing to be replaced. When I first took her in, the attendant said the mechanic needed to work on it wasn’t working that day and that I should bring it in during the week. I have to work during the week, and being a new employee, I didn’t want to take time off work to do it. She scheduled an appointment to bring it in on a Saturday. Great!
The day of the appointment, it was raining, so when I showed up, the service manager said they couldn’t diagnose it in the rain and I would have to leave it. Fortunately, they said I could have a loaner. Great!
They put me in a white 2019 Ford Escape. I had owned an Escape before back when it still looked like an SUV, and this one looks more like a crossover. Not my favorite style. This Escape is a base model; no bells or whistles. Four-cylinder with no satellite radio, no back up sensors, no sun roof, no navigation, and no automatic temperature control; all the things I love about Sally. But when I got in, it had one thing. It had that one quality that gives even undesirable cars a certain appeal. Every time I get in, I take a deep breath of it and let it fill my nose with that new car smell. So, while I have been driving a car I wouldn’t buy, I have enjoyed getting to experience that new car feeling while Sally is being fixed.
It is amazing how you get used to the features of a car that you don’t even realise until you don’t have them anymore. I almost backed into a car in a parking lot because I was waiting for the back up sensors to beep. I almost froze on the way to work because the car didn’t automatically adjust the environmental controls for the temperature. I got stuck in traffic because there was no navigation telling me about an accident ahead on the freeway. But even with these shortcomings, I am enjoying driving the loaner. You just can’t beat that new car smell. If only there was a way for older cars to get it back.