Thursday, March 29, 2012

Spoiler alert!

Don't worry.... I'm not going to say anything about "The Hunger Games" (except to say that we saw it last weekend, and it was very good). I just realized I never told the story about how my spoiler fell off my car.

First, you should know that my car is named Muskie. Muskie Mazda. It's been a family tradition to name our cars, and with a few exceptions, the name always starts with the same letter as the model of the car. "Muskie" was an obvious choice because I'd just graduated from college at Xavier University, home of the Musketeers. Anyway, when I mention Muskie in the story, I'm referring to my car. (And feel free to laugh at me all you want, but I do regularly refer to my car as "Muskie," and I talk to him sometimes as though he's a real person. "Him." See? He's a guy, too. And part of the family.)

Last summer, the day before our wedding, I was pulling out of the driveway when I heard a noise like something had fallen either on or off of my car. I put it in park and got out to check but saw nothing. Later that day, I noticed the brake light built in to the middle of the spoiler had come loose and was literally hanging by the wire. My dad looked at it that night but couldn't figure out what may have happened except that it just fell off.

A couple of weeks later, I took Muskie to the shop for a different repair and, while I was there, asked them if they could fix the light. They couldn't (at least not without buying another piece, which would cost quite a bit), but they said they could remove it and it shouldn't be that noticeable. I told them to go for it. They removed the light and put it in my trunk, where it's remained ever since.

See?

I'd also asked them to tighten the spoiler, as it felt a little loose. (I never used it to open or close the trunk, and if I ever saw anyone who did, I reminded them not to.) They did tighten it up, and I was on my way.

Over time, I did feel it getting a little weaker, especially in the middle, where the light had been. I was very careful when opening and closing the trunk. I figured one day, the spoiler just might come off. However, I didn't expect it to happen at the time or place that it did.

A few weeks ago, David's uncle passed away, and David, my brother-in-law, Dan, and I drove to New York for the funeral. We took Muskie. We were at the funeral home for the visitation when David said his contact was bothering him, and he was going to go out to the car to get a new one. He came back in a few minutes later with a new contact and some bad news: the spoiler had broken on my car. (I'm sure he referred to Muskie as "your car"--he doesn't call him Muskie as I do.)

"It broke? What do you mean?"

"I mean it's broken. Like right down the middle."

"Like it split in half?"

"Yes, exactly."

We were in a different state about 500 miles away from home, it was cold and raining, and we were at a funeral home. Perfect.

When I went out in the rain to see Muskie, it was exactly as David had described.



Poor Muskie. The worst part was, one of the screws on the left side was missing, so that side of the spoiler could easily swing out. We didn't want it come even looser and break off and possibly hit another car. So we came up with the next-best solution: duct tape.

After we left the funeral home (driving very slowly and carefully!), we stopped at a grocery store on the way to the hotel, where we bought duct tape and paper towels. When we got to the hotel, we pulled in under the covering near the door, where we dried off the spoiler and taped the middle. We also wrapped some tape around the loose left side.

That was on Thursday afternoon. We got back to Indy on Saturday evening, and during those two days, I checked on the tape and the spoiler every time we got in and out of the car. Each time, I patted the trunk and said things like, "Poor Muskie. Poor guy. Hang in there, and we'll take care of you once we get home." I frequently looked back at the spoiler while we were driving, too, to make sure that it was holding up securely. It always seemed to be fine. Not surprisingly, David and Dan made fun of me every time I checked it or said something to Muskie.

On Sunday morning, David removed the spoiler. It took all of five minutes. The trick now was figuring out the next step. We could buy a new Mazda spoiler, which would cost a lot more (the estimate I got was about $600, and that was with David installing it) but would be the easiest thing to do. Or we could buy a "knockoff" spoiler, which would look just like the real thing but wouldn't actually be a Mazda part. It would be cheaper but would require a little more work because we'd have to fill the holes where the old one was and drill new holes to match the new one. The third option would be to just fill the holes and skip the spoiler, but that, too, would require more time and money, because the spots would then have to be sanded down and painted to match the rest of the car.

We haven't actually made a decision on what to do yet. The spoiler is still duct-taped together and sitting in our garage. The duct-taped middle allows it to fold easily, making it more convenient to store.



Our main concern about the car was that water would get in when it rained and would leak into the trunk. But duct tape again came to the rescue:

  


Classy, right?

Anyone have any suggestions on where to find a new spoiler?

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