A Series of Unfortunate (Car) Events

Last Updated on May 29, 2021

When I first started driving, I bought myself a Scion tC: a reliable coupe with a Toyota engine that I very much enjoyed having at the time. It was my first car, it felt safe, the trunk was enormous, and I enjoyed zipping around town in it. Having that car available made it possible for me to commute to the community college where I opted to take all of my classes senior year of high school.

My first car back in 2012

I depended on that Scion. Sure, it had its flaws. The air conditioning wasn’t great, the speakers sounded just OK, and it needed new breaks very early on. But really, it served its main purpose. I could get from Point A to Point B safely and that was all I asked for.

I have no doubt that my Scion could have lasted for many years to come. However, after owning it for no more than 1 year, right before moving to Rutgers for my first year of college, this happened.

I was inside a house babysitting my cousin when I heard a loud noise outside. I ran downstairs and looked out the front door and saw this. A garbage truck had backed up into my Scion…


I was starting college in FIVE DAYS. The town’s insurance gave me some money for the accident but it was minimal. Not a chance I could buy the same car again with what I was given. Desperate for transportation, I had to start shopping and buy another car fast.

please ignore the license plate hanging on by a thread

Then came my Nissan Sentra. Six years older than the Scion. Not a coupe. Not a great color. I didn’t love it. But when you need something, you take whatever you can get. The Nissan was available and affordable. And so I purchased my second car.

That Nissan lasted me 3 years: my freshmen, sophomore, and junior year of university. Sadly, those 3 years were filled with many other car issues.

Car being towed last year for a reason I can not recall.

The door handle broke. The battery died. Various mechanical parts failed. The wireless lock and unlock never worked. Problem after problem, I trudged through life with that car.

About a week or two ago, I got onto one of the most major highways in the state of New Jersey. It was a warm day, traffic was moderate. No more than 20 or 30 minutes into my commute, I was driving in the middle lane when my car started to behave strangely. I pressed on the gas to accelerate as the road opened up. My car started to shake. It felt like it was stalling. Seconds later, smoke began to bellow out from the hood in front of me. Instinctively, I put on my hazards and immediately began to TRY to make my way over to the shoulder.

Thankfully, the cars driving behind me on the Parkway pretty much came to a stop to let me get my car in the shoulder (which mind you, was ENDING..). Feeling kind of panicky, I quickly shut the car off and ran away from it. What was happening? Was my car going to burst into flames? Explode? You never know with these things.

I called AAA and 5 hours later, they finally picked me and my car up. The first tow truck driver had to bring me to a “point of safety” at a supermarket just off of the nearest exit. Then I had to wait for yet ANOTHER tow truck driver to come to bring my car to a mechanic back home. As long of a day as it was, I’m just grateful I made it out alive.

Just think! What if the car didn’t make it to the shoulder? What could I have done? Just got out and ran across the highway? I couldn’t stay! The car would have gotten hit for sure.

A few days later, we decided the cost of the repairs was not worth it. The car no longer felt safe. How much more money was I really going to dump into it?

None. And that’s why I began shopping for my third car. This time, I decided to buy the car I’ve wanted from the very beginning (but could not afford it at the time.) I bought a Honda Civic. I managed to find one that is only 1 year old so it still has age on its side (unlike my last 2 cars) and comes with a great bumper-to-bumper warranty.

I’ve wanted to own a Honda for a long time. I initially learned about their brand at a young age because of their robot division, famous for ASIMO: one of the most advanced robots in the whole world.

Who doesn’t love ASIMO?

Not to mention, Honda is a very trustworthy brand. Their cars’ engines reliably last over 100,000 miles. The civics are built to be safe, compact, and great on gas- significant factors in my car-buying decision process. That’s really all I ever wanted. A safe commuter car that might even save me money in the long run.

Driving my Honda Civic

Supposedly, Hondas also retain their value better than other brands of cars! (Though with my track record, that might not even matter since none of my cars have ever lasted long enough to be sold back anyway.) We will see what happens this time. Fingers crossed that my new car lives a long life in good condition.

So far, I am really loving driving my new car. Having Bluetooth connectivity is really convenient for music and phone calls. It’s crazy being able to actually press a *button* to lock and unlock the doors. (No joke, I’m actually having a hard time adjusting to that.) When I commute to work, it’s fun having easy-to-use cruise control. It is worth noting that the car also has an eco-friendly mode which I leave turned on at all times. Overall, I’m SUPER pleased with it!

Custom Wallpaper and Eco-Mode in my Honda Civic

By far, one of my favorite features in the Honda Civic is the cool, colorful dashboard that makes you hyper-aware of how fast you’re driving, shows if you are getting good/bad gas mileage, and displays a custom wallpaper if you program it to!

Please, oh please, let this car last me more than 2 or 3 years.

One comment

  1. Art by Daniel Alfonso

    The picture of the Nissan on smoke had me laughing for five minutes! It’s one of those moments where you go “of course this would happen to me….”

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