by Nathan Stout (of AccordingToWhim.com)
I bought my 2001 Ford Ranger back in... 2001. I have always taken to heart what my Aunt told me many many years ago. 'If you are going to buy something that expensive, buy it new'. Now most economist and money savvy people will tell you to never buy a new car but I can see what she means. If you buy a new car you should have to worry about it. To me buying a used car might be smart (money wise) but it is a scary proposition.
I think of myself of someone who takes care of stuff but even I don't pamper my vehicles that much so who knows how the average person treats their vehicle. I know it's not the smart money thing to do but it is nice to 'not have to worry' about something so important. As a quick rundown I initially owned my family's old 1986 Monte Carlo. I drove that for a few years until some electrical issue killed it. If I would have spent a couple hundred on it I could have continued using it but I just HAD to have something new. It was 1995 and bought a Ford Escort. I loved that little car. It was a hatchback so I was able to load it up when I needed to. I drove and drove that until the transmission started messing up. I decided to get a new truck in 2001 but even after I bought the ranger I kept driving the Escort for the fun (and economy of it). I kept it for another year and sold it to my roommate (who sold it on to some other person).
My 2001 Ford Ranger has done me pretty well. It currently has 149,250 miles on it. It has been acting funny for a few years now but nothing that has stopped me from driving. The first big issue I ran across was the lights in the cab wouldn't go out. I guess the door switch messed up. Then at some point I noticed that when I hit big bumps the engine jumps. The mounts for the engine must have broke some time in the distant past. About a year ago the windshield fluid sprayer stopped spraying (this is the most annoying thing of all). Also about a year ago I noticed that if I get the car up to 5k RPMs the motor would jerk and sputter like the fuel injector was clogged or something. I hardly ever need to get that high so I didn't bother with it. The check engine light comes on every so often then goes off but week before last it came on and stayed on.
Finally on the 24th the issue that I was having at 5k RPMs started happening at 3k RPMs. I started to nervously think about ditching the car seven months earlier than planned and getting something new now. I decided it wouldn't hurt to take it to Autozone and have them read the code for the check engine light. The code that came back was that the cylinders were misfiring. He suggested I start with new spark plugs. If that doesn't fix it then next is the distributor cap and wires. If that doesn't fix it then I am off to buy myself a new truck (or a VERY low mileage used one)... happy Chris?
BTW my wife hates the truck for some reason. She is the one that calls it the Little White Wonder on Wooden Waggon Wheels. May I point out that I have had that one truck to her having 4 vehicles...
UPDATE: The spark plugs didn't fix the issue so I took the truck to the Ford house and for $90 they told me the issue was that 2 of the heads were blown. It would cost (through them) $2,100 to fix it or $4,500 for a new engine. At that point I was really eyeing the new trucks but decided to wait (since the truck drives fine as long as you keep it under 3000RPMs). Chris is going to take my truck to his mechanic to get an estimate from them. We will see what the cost will be (from someone other than a dealership).
UPDATE: Chris took the truck to his mechanic and they can do the repair work on the heads for half the price that the dealership so I told him to make it happen. I will attempt to start saving to replace the truck in the distant future.