In a funny bit of coincidence, just as I posted about our car trouble, we got a call from the mechanic letting us know the problem has been diagnosed. Turns out it's the distributor (just as we suspected), and it needs to be replaced. Unfortunately, we had had the original, 11 year old distributor replaced in April 2006, and it's an aftermarket one. It's less than half the cost of the manufacturer recommended one, but it looks like it doesn't last that long. The thing came with a 1 year warranty, and lasted just long enough to be out of the warranty period. Silly thing. Our mechanic did call his supplier who offered a 10% discount on the replacement part. Sigh.
We talked it over, and decided to give this funky distributor another chance. It's a lot cheaper than the "official" part, and really, we're not sure the car will last us another year. I mean, it's been good to us so far, but it's starting to show some electric glitches, and that's never a good sign.
So I'm guessing we'll be on the market for a new vehicle soon. We'll probably be looking at something used (2-5 years old?), something fun yet reliable, and hopefully easy on gas. That's a lot of requirements, I know. We've been talking about this for the last few years ("What would we ever replace the Probe with?"), and haven't found any convincing answers yet. Some of our requirements are a little contradictory (fun to drive and easy on gas? good commuting car, yet not too small? exotic yet affordable?), and I think we're both looking for slightly different things. Of course this would be mostly DH's car, as he does the bulk of the commuting in this family, so it definitely has to fit his criteria more than mine. I'll be posting more as the decision making process unfolds :)
I think the hardest part is that we don't want to have to say goodbye to the old car. It's served us so well, and it's still so much fun to drive. We'd love to keep it going forever, but we're not necessarily interested in having to leave it in the shop every week. Hopefully, it's not time to say goodbye yet, but we definitely have to start preparing for that eventuality.
Next post, no car talk, I promise :)