I have a rental car I hate with a passion. It is off my list of cars I will ever drive again. The dang thing is a Mazda 3. Very sporty looking and sleek, but looks don’t make a quality car.
This particular car is supposedly an automatic, but after I put it in drive, I still have to shift it from drive one to drive 5. I wasn’t told how to operate the car. No manual came in the glove box. I learned by hit and miss — mostly miss, no dents thank heavens — while jerking around up and down the streets.
My experience with this car reminded me of an adventure a former roommate had with her Honda Accord. Sue and I shared an apartment in 1978 during the year I lived in L.A. She headed for San Francisco to her brother’s college graduation. She took off in her shiny little silver-blue Honda for her very first “road-trip” without her mommy and daddy. The car was new to her, but it was used and — unbeknown to her — not in as good a shape as it appeared to be.
She said she’d barely cleared the outskirts of L.A. (not a short drive) when the car started lurching and acting up. She thought it was just the wind and the big trucks on the road. Then she stopped at a rest area to freshen up, and had a heck of a time starting the car, but it finally did start.
Back on the road she determined not to stop again until she got to S.F., but that just wasn’t realistic. For one thing she needed gas. That time when she stopped the car it wouldn’t start again. She called her daddy. He called a tow truck to deliver the car to some San Francisco auto repair shop.
Sue’s car was fitted for a new timing belt and she was able to pick it up just in time to drive home. However, about half-way home her carburetor went out. She had that repaired – -again with daddy’s help, only to have the transmission go shortly after she got home.
Now, to tell you the truth, my rental car doesn’t appear to be broken, but the lurching about it did while I was learning to switch gears has linked it forever in my mind with Sue’s blue lemon.