December 2nd, 2008

coyote drives

Grape Expectations

Back in the summer, I took my 1997 Ford Aspire (nicknamed "The Grape" for its deep indigo hue) into my local Goodyear service center for a general check-up -- "tell me what needs to be done."

"What needs to be done", all total, came to about $1500 -- but a goodly chunk of it is the regular 90,000 mile maintenance. Since the Grape's odometer only just rolled over to 85,000 a week or two back, I have plenty of time to get a little done at a time. I had to replace the axles back in August, and I just got the brakes done, and now I can start whittling away at the actual engine-related parts of the list.

So, naturally, yesterday, I was running around town doing some errands. I'd finished up pretty much everything, and was going to call it a day. About a mile from home...

The Check Engine light came on.

Now, I was already planning to take the Grape in on Thursday for the Next Step On The List -- the Cam Shaft belt, which can turn an engine into a solid lump of metal if it breaks -- so I should be okay. I've Googled "1997 Ford Aspire Check Engine Light", and it looks like the most common cause is the coolant system -- which is also on the list, with the same priority as the Cam Shaft belt.

Just to play it safe, though... I'm driving quelonzia's car for the next couple of days, and driving her to and from work.

I'm just hoping it doesn't turn out to be something on top of the existing list.

I should note that, while the Grape is up for a Whole Buncha Maintenance At Once, it's her Ninety Thousand Mile Check. I got her with about 36,000 already on her, so she's taken me nearly 50,000 miles with no maintenance beyond a couple of oil changes (and that ongoing issue with the problem wheel that finally got outright replaced a couple of years ago).