Automotive Woes

My wife’s car (2002 Honda CRV) is back in the shop. About a month ago, the check engine light came on and it was running rough, so she brought it into our local dealer (we use the dealer ever since the car had a broken valve retainer many years ago). The dealer diagnosed the problem as worn spark plug, the intake system having a buildup of carbon, and the intake and exhaust valves being tight. They adjusted the vales and performed a decarbon service, and replaced the spark plugs. We thought we were fine… until the end of last week, when the check engine light came on again. This time the diagnosis was a blown head gasket… and today we learned it warped the head. I’m surprised because we had no warning of this, and they didn’t detect the problem. From listening to Car Talk, usually there are signs the head gasket is going — temperature problems, leaks, smoke, something. I’m not looking forward to this bill.

This has just been a bad quarter for cars, as in late August we had a $1,300 repair on my car: tires, combined with replacing a key and key fob… and in July, the aforementioned CRV had a 120,000 mile service that totaled to a bit over $700.00 (included replacing brakes and the control arm bushings).