top of page

A Spring Break Breakdown Where There Were No Kentucky Buc-ee’s By: Mari Lacefield

*This story is intended to be a humorous retelling of a spring break adventure*

Spring break: a time for a college student to relax, drive around the country and go to the beach or the mountains; not inherently a time to lose a car in the hills of backwoods Kentucky. Let me begin by encouraging those of you who are looking for a car to stay away from a 2017 Kia Sorento.

It was the Friday Hardin-Simmons got out of school. I was traveling home to meet up with my family, so we could all go on vacation together to Kentucky to see the recreation of Noah’s ark and visit the Creation Museum. Aside from my story, both places were incredible and I recommend going to visit them.

We had decided to take my Kia, the only SUV my family owned, because it was me, my brother and my parents all with a lot of stuff. We drove half of the way to stay in Tennessee for one night and then drove the rest the next day to stay at a hotel near the Ark and museum.

As the week went on, we visited many different places, such as the Corvette Museum, and drove around Cincinnati, Ohio, all in my Kia. One notable night was the night we were driving on the highway and my car finally hit 100,000 miles. I decided to film it since it was a big moment for the car. Make sure to keep this information in mind for later in the story.

After a busy week driving around and visiting multiple places, it was time to go home. We checked out of our hotel room, packed the car, and headed toward Texas. After about 15 minutes out on the road, all went haywire. We were in the mountains of Kentucky, driving up a very large incline, when all of the sudden the engine light came on and we lost compression.

Thank goodness my dad was driving, and was able to pull off to the side of the road on an off-ramp. By now the Kia had just enough compression to be able to limp into a gas station. We all sat, taking in what had happened and what it meant for the rest of our trip. We were stranded. We could not go home.

My dad, being the loving father he is, had roadside assistance for my Kia in case I broke down while off at college and he could not come and help me. So we called and explained our situation, and they sent a tow truck. We waited. And waited. We waited so long, we called again, only to find out they had not yet sent a tow truck, they had just been calling around.

So we told them to send a truck from somewhere near where we were stranded, which was literally in the middle of nowhere, and so they finally managed to get in contact with someone closer. Finally, after about four hours of waiting and some retail therapy on candy from the gas station (which was not even an exciting gas station like Buc-ee’s), we got towed to Scott’s Garage in Warsaw, Ky.

When we arrived, the people there were very sweet and told us to go get a bite to eat in town while they looked at the car, so we went to get some pizza. Then came the bad news: we would need a new engine. Now this part was particularly frustrating because remember when I told you earlier that my car hit 100,000 miles? Well, that meant it was outside of warranty, specifically, 500 miles outside of warranty. So we would have had a brand new engine for free, but the Kia had decided to break down after it hit the mileage right outside of free replacement.

But do not worry, it gets better. We were on the phone with everyone you could possibly imagine regarding whether we should replace the engine, sell the car for parts or buy a new car. Right then and there, there we were trying to figure out the best plan of action. We even called Kia to ask if they would cover a new engine. So come to find out, their engine replacements were backlogged for almost a year. Evidently, Kia engines are up and dying, and it has been a huge problem with multiple Kia cars.

After considering all of our options, we decided it was best to sell it for parts and buy another vehicle. And although we were out about $15,000, I think the trade was worth it. We purchased a 2017 Honda CRV, and I named it Harry. So all in all, the lesson we learned by this experience is you may want to think twice before going on a vacation in a vehicle that is nearing 100,000 miles unless you enjoy spending a gazillion dollars on a new engine or a different car entirely.


bottom of page