Last Dance with the VW

Or maybe it isn’t. Hubby, engineer that he is, wants to try a few more of those ubiquitous last things before he gives up on the VW altogether. He’s watched innumerable YouTube videos and visited VW forums and read and re-read the owner’s and repair shop manuals. In my opinion, he needs to read Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley’s Frankenstein as well for ideas on reanimation projects.

According to his research, the transmission, or a component of it called a “solenoid,” has gone kaput. When the car is warmed up, she still runs as well as ever. The problem is that warming it up took two minutes, then five, then ten, and almost twenty even in warmer weather. And even then the car didn’t shift properly, forcing me to pull over and warm it up some more.

Long time readers of this blog may remember that the (’93) Ford truck, the ’95 Corolla, and the VW (’03) created a suicide-murder pact in the summer of 2019. We’d spent six weeks running between dealers, independent auto repair shops, and automotive supply stores. That Labor Day weekend culminated in the VW’s electrical system cutting out on me in heavy traffic. And now it was trying to kill me again with the transmission problems.

So after a trip to the VW dealer’s to see what could be done (flushing and changing transmission fluid, replacing this bit, changing that part? They were concerned that any of those options make things worse), he called. Did I want to go ahead and get the Prius I’d had my eye on for the last two years?

Yes, please.

The Toyota dealer had three in my first color choice. It’s called sea glass pearl, a green-blue that shimmers in the sunlight as if coated in pearls. Test drive, paperwork, learn how to at least start it and turn it off from the sales rep dedicated to teaching we of a certain generation about new electronic features, and off I went.

Driving the Prius home was quite a Zen experience. The gas engine is very quiet, and the electric one doesn’t make a sound. It’s comfortable; the audio system is fabulous; and I have peace of mind knowing that I’m conserving gas while reducing emissions. And turning heads. This car is an instrument of grace and beauty. It’s bigger than the VW, but not awkwardly so. In time, we will learn to dance together.

The technology in the Prius is a quantum leap from the VW just as the VW was from the Nissan Pulsar that I drove before (the one who died of a broken timing belt while I was driving). There are beeps and a backup camera and lots of little things that I’ll be getting used to before it becomes as intuitive as driving the VW has been, but that will come with time.

As for Hubby, well…he’ll be taking it to a repair shop that specializes in German cars to discuss the solenoid (whatever that is) and if they can do it reasonably or get him the parts to do it himself. The engine and body are still in decent shape, and he needs a new-to-him ride for his trips to Detroit. If not, he will drive it until it really dies and we will donate it.

And if it gets stolen on one of the trips to his mom’s, as far as I’m concerned after this last round of issues, the thieves can help themself and I’ll throw in a kiss and six months of insurance.

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