Commuter Corner: Car troubles

Car trouble can be rough especially when you are a busy, college student.  (Gary Balding/Flickr Creative Commons)

Car trouble can be rough especially when you are a busy, college student.  (Gary Balding/Flickr Creative Commons)

I don’t know how you residents do it. I depend on my family for so much, and that includes my car. Granted, you probably have meal plans you’ve already paid for and you walk everywhere, so car repairs aren’t necessary, but I wouldn’t be able to do it without my family.

Let me lay out the scenario for you. Though I see some stunning cars in the parking lots every now and then, most commuters have decent cars that are a little on the older side. Some are beat up pretty bad, with missing lights or rusty dents, but most are generally in good health. As you know, if you’ve read my articles before, I’ve got a pretty old, pretty dented Dodge Stratus. Though this car is significantly better than the other one, it still has several things wrong with it, with new problems popping up each week.

Recently, the panel that holds up the window buttons caved in, making it really difficult to put down my window when it’s necessary. It’s winter, so I’d rather it happen now than in summer, but it does make it difficult with drive-thrus or getting into South Parking Garage, which requires my special parking pass. With that comes  a problem I noted a few weeks ago: there’s no heat. I wish I would have figured this one out beforehand.

Which leads me to my family. Cars, as you must know, are pretty expensive. The prices that mechanics charge for labor is crazy, and who knows if they are actually working on your car that whole time or if they’re inflating the cost?  Finding an honest mechanic is really hard, but even then, the charges are exorbitant. Thankfully, my dad likes watching YouTube videos and figuring stuff out. He doesn’t even charge me for anything more than the parts.

I know, I can hear the cries of the feminists coming my way. “Why don’t you just fix the car yourself?”  Trust me, I agree with you on this one.  I wish I could, but I would probably do more harm than good if I’m being honest.  From my youth, my family figured out that I was not good with the common sense tasks that other people understand just fine.  Cooking, for instance, is something I just cannot learn how to do. I feel like there’s a bigger risk than missing a meal if I mess up my car. Plus, it gives me and my dad something to talk about, or something to do.  Before school, I used to drive with him to the faraway cities where the cheapest parts were, or head to the nearest Pick-n-Pull just to spend some time with him. I wish I could have expertise in this area, I’m certain it would come in handy. Alas, I’m just really bad with practical life skills.

So, what’s the problem here? The car needs to be fixed a lot, but this sounds like a pretty happy ending, right? Not so fast. My schedule has me out of the house from  8 a.m. to at least 6 p.m. every weekday, and my dad works 13 hours a day on weekends. It’s freezing with the sun shining, so fixing my car at night, even if we were able to light up the driveway somehow, would still be a no-go. These car troubles, though freely fixed by my dad, aren’t going anywhere until next week at the least. So, there is an end in sight, but to get there it’s going to be a few more freezing days.


Hannah Desrosiers is a campus correspondent for The Daily Campus. She can be reached via email at hannah.desrosiers@uconn.edu.