April 15, 2003

So What's Your Car Handle Made Of, Anyway

I drive a Mitsubishi Eclipse. It's red, and I bought it when it was a year old and cheaper than a new Taurus. And this is how I justify my 1999 bright-red slow-moving (but curvy) automatic (not stick shift) sports car, complete with rounded high spoiler soon to make shopping for a bike rack a nightmare.

I bought my beloved car in late 2000, taking delivery of it just before Thanksgiving. I had to haggle for it, too, hooboy. "Car's got racing wheels," the salesman quipped. "Car's gotta have wheels...," Heather quipped. Shopping for a car is shopping for a car. Everyone's got a story. I'll save the story of the smarmy Taurus salesman for another day. Today's topic is something along the lines of "it ain't as good as it used to be" (like I would know?)

In July of 2002, when I had owned the Eclipse for just shy of two years, I surveyed the sweltering summer day and took preparations to enter my car. One would suspect this would not pose much of a challenge, as I had already invoked my remote keyless entry and unlocked my car. This is July, so just a gentle tug on the handle will do. Lift the handle, and, vamoose. Handle in hand - car door unmoved.

Now, it's July, as I have mentioned. It's not January 3rd, and the car door is not frozen to the remainder of the car. I applied no more pressure than I would have to pet one of the cats who make their home with us. And, yet, I rendered my driver's side door inoperable from the outside.

Months pass. Never one to let circumstance bog me down, I learn to enter the car in grand adept fashion from the passenger side. Finally, it nears the fateful time when one must face the government's requirements to renew the license (cue the music, please), and I decide to fix this problem.

Car handle is made of cheap plastic. How much does a plastic car handle cost, you ask? I answer: a new [cheap] plastic car handle costs approximately 230 dollars. Yes, it does. No, my extended warranty does not cover this. Wow, fun. Insert fuss and frown directed at serviceman.

I'm not sure there's a moral to this story. In a self-righteous huff, I paid my bill and drove my now-whole car to its home, vowing with venemous acclamation to fire off a letter to Mitsubishi (including the handle in the package) detailing my displeasure with the situation. Two months have passed, and laziness has prevailed.

Inertia, sadly, is occasionally mightier (or more safe) than the pen and the sword. And how's that door functioning now, you ask? Well, it opens. But you'd best not try to open it with a key; the security trigger's locked to on, and you'll get an earful.

I'm always good for that.


Posted by hln at April 15, 2003 10:31 PM | Anecdote

When I bought my new car it was a really tough to decide where to get information and where to buy the car online. I wanted to buy it online, because I think car dealerships put too much pressure on buyers. I decided to try out a few different sites. First I tried buying a new car or SUV at because a friend has told me about them. I also compared them to Kelly Blue Book, CarsDirect, and some other sites. KBB had some great info, but so did and CarsDirect. had great car reviews and the free car price were really helpful. CarsDirect was also helpful, but I found the site annoying to use. I ended up buying a new Lexus SUV from

Posted by: Mark Arch at November 28, 2003 03:48 PM