A month later with my new Fiat 500. How have things been going?

Mere days after getting her, the check engine light and the ESC light were both off. Cruise control wasn’t working; brake lights remained on. My local auto parts store gave me an OBD-2 reading, saying a circuit wasn’t running correctly. After visiting two local mechanics, they said it was something specific to my baby, to take her to a Fiat specialist.

I did not want to drive an hour out of my way to a specialist who wouldn’t take the limited warranty, making me pay out of pocket for diagnostics and fixing my issue … I did. I left work early to beat the notorious rush hour traffic NJ was known for.

I kept forgetting COVID changed a ton of things—traffic was far lighter than I expected. I was an hour early. So I pulled into a nearby Starbucks I covered for a couple of times.

Been too long since I had coffee made from a Clover machine. (Basically an overpriced, inverted French press that promised faster brew times. From personal experience, nope. Cleaning is also way worse than that of a French press.)

Three hours later, my baby was all fixed. Brake lights were working again. (Cruise control still not working, but maybe I don’t know how to use her?) Later that day, my registration and new plates arrived in the mail. I had an overnight shift later on that day, no way did I want to push my luck and lack of sleep to make it to one of the local inspection stations to get that done.

That next morning, I was in and out within 15 minutes. My Fiesta would’ve failed miserably, with how many issues she had. She was also almost a year late being re-inspected, because of the check engine light, faulty battery, fucked up radiator, shifty transmission, bad ass dent near the one headlight I did fix, interior lights that never turned off … By the point I finally considered trading in to obtain my Fiat, I had no care to fix my Fiesta, especially given that I knew the estimated expense of parts and labor cost far more than an initial down payment I could easily afford. (Yes, I considered the monthly finance payments. You can’t finance to get your car fixed. I’d rather pay monthly for a car I actually want, than for a car remaining from a prior dark chapter in my life where what I needed and what I wanted weren’t mutual.)

My pay-as-you-drive insurance is already more this month that I typically pay, because of all the joyrides I’ve been enjoying now that I have a vehicle that allows me to drive without fear of breakdown. I have not had this luxury at all since COVID hit—just getting out onto the open road, enjoying the fresh air, the stereo breaking, and running the AC as opposed to the heat so my engine wasn’t overheating.

I am finally taking the time to learn how to use the D1, D2, D3 gear shifts. I don’t live anywhere that has roadways that steep that much, but it’s good to know how to use if I got stuck in snow or on ice again.

I am not a car guy, never have been. I am not considering automechanics as a career potential. I would rather love to move somewhere urban where I could rely on public transit or ride a bicycle everywhere and forgo using a car. (If I get a certain ”yes”, it’ll be a semi-answer to my prayer, with my plan to either move out to the Northwest US or around the Tampa Bay area.) Because I have to own and operate my own car, I prefer city cars over behemoth trucks and crossovers.

I have not cared this much about my ride since my very first car, a fiery red ’96 Chevy Beretta Z26.

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