don't forget to brush

Published on: 3/1/2014

Some time ago I blogged about the family car of one year dying due to a water pump too expensive to replace. Happy to say I'm now behind the wheel of a new ride, but it wasn't easy nor without disappointment.

We had to find something fast because I was borrowing a car to get to work. Wanted to shop local, but noticed lack of private sellers in the classifieds. Those I contacted through Craigslist didn't return my email or calls.

I know you pay more through dealers, but they return your calls and have better selection. I fell in love with a very clean Chevy Lumina sedan with very low miles at New to You Auto on South West Ave. while there getting rid of the car with a bad water pump. The wife wanted another Toyota because of all the trouble-free years we've enjoyed with our Corolla, but I thought with luck maybe I could pass the Lumina off as one.

Long story short... Didn't care for the test drive when I returned a few days later with a check and ended up finding an older car with much higher mileage on the same lot, but at least it was a Toyota! Only problem: check was made to New To You and Toyota belonged to Scotty's, another dealer sharing the same lot. After a short test drive I was the proud owner of a new Toyota. It was that fast! I wasn't looking around, just happened to notice it sitting there. Actually thought it was New To You's car at first and didn't even know about Scotty's.

Was hoping I didn't make another costly mistake like the last one, but glad I finally found something after two weeks of borrowing a car. My first day of driving the Camry to work happened to be the one rainy day we had last week..

Approaching home with car fully warmed up on first full day of ownership soon noticed it wasn't idling properly. As a matter of fact, when I tried to tap it down at a traffic signal it went up but didn't come back down. Fortunately I was close to home because just minutes after it started acting up I was trying to hold back the car at near full throttle. Unfortunately, the last stretch of street to home was water-covered ice and the brakes were barely holding it back. I suppose happening anywhere else could've resulted in injury or death to me or another. I try not to think about that, or about what would've happened if my wife and not me were behind the wheel.

Experiencing a Toyota acceleration problem on first full day of ownership was very discouraging and disappointing to say the least. I'd have to go back to borrowing a car after just spending thousands of dollars on "reliable" transportation.

Once I finally got the wreck of a car in the driveway I Googled the issue. When the first thing popping up is an article about same make, model and year as ours responsible for three deaths when accelerator stuck I was hoping it was a rare occurance. When I saw the driver had same last name as me I thought it a very bad omen.

Googling the issue scared the heck out of me, but also gave me a possible solution to the problem. I ran to the nearest auto parts store and picked up an inexpensive can of throttle body cleaner. Removing one clamp gives easy access to the butterfly valve in the throttle body. It didn't look that dirty to me, but I wet an old Colgate toothbrush with the spray and scrubbed away anyway. I brushed up, down, and made circular motions. I did the back and front, inside and out. I did everything but floss the thing.

It must've done the trick, because I've been happily driving it ever since. It's never acted up again. Of course it hasn't rained since then either, so there's still that little bit of trepidation.

Did Scotty's knowingly sell me a dangerous auto? I have to doubt it. I'm just glad the issue was so easy to remedy. Even though our new car has high miles I absolutely love it. Would I buy another car from Scotty's? Absolutely! You take a chance with any used car. I sincerely hope the drama with this one is over, because of all the cars I've owned I think this is the best one.