Stinky, jumpy car needs fixing
February 11, 2011 8:10 PM Subscribe
Help me figure out what's up with my gimpy car. It reeks of sulfur, has no power and bucks like a sad, old donkey.
posted by Cat Pie Hurts to travel & transportation (20 answers total)
2002 Ford Focus ZX5. Manual transmission. Purchased new and just hit 81k miles. I'm in Massachusetts where we've been having one crazy winter. The trouble started yesterday when I hit that gas and got very little power. First gear, power is so so; definitely not as zippy as usual. Second gear..acceleration sucks. If I press the gas pedal more than 1/4 of the way, the car starts bucking rhythmically. Same goes for 3rd-5th gears. If I maintain a slow acceleration, I WILL get up to speed without bucking, but as soon as I give it too much gas, then everything goes a-rockin;.
I don't drive often these days - usually once every two weeks or so. I had to move my car last Saturday so that my landlord could get a backhoe in to clear the 10 foot snowplow piles that had accumulated on our small parking lot. I've been really good about digging out my car immediately after a snow so that I don't have to deal with everything icing over.
When I went to back my car out, the tires spun in the ice packed beneath my tires. It being 7am and frigid 12F, I was groggy, so I kept trying to rock it out. I'm usually pretty good, but after 10 minutes, I know I was stuck in good. When I'm groggy and frustrated, I don't think clearly, so I spent the next half hour doing heavy rocking maneuvers, revving the car to upwards of 5000rpm. My head cleared, so I went upstairs and grabbed 2 plastic lids. I wedged them under my tires and I was able to get the car right out. I had to drive around for awhile until the backhoe finished its work. There were no issues driving then.
So, what could this possibly be? Most of all, how much is it going to cost to fix? Is it at all possible that I could fix it myself? See, I'm unemployed and dead broke, but I have 4 job interviews next week that require me to drive (nowhere near public transit). I might be able to swing $50 at an absolute top end.
Thanks for your help.