Turns out my little bump against the curb was more impressive than I thought. I snapped the spindle, crushed the control arm and knuckle, destroyed the rim, broke the strut and mount, twisted the tie-rods, and ripped the axel right out of the housing. All without trying! Then the guy who towed it away hooked my car up poorly and crushed the radiator and AC condenser. Now add new tires, alignment, an oil change, and a rogue thermostat problem and you’ve got a healthy multi-paged bill.
However, the very excellent Northland Auto Center took very good care of me – to the point of lending me a 2006 Chrysler Pacifica (touring edition with leather, all wheel drive, and more bells and whistles than I knew existed). In fact, NAC did such a nice job with my ION, and it drives so smoothly now, that within 30 minutes of picking it up I received a friendly warning ticket for doing 74 in a 60.
It’s so nice to have my own car back. However, I think NAC should start loaning out a Gremlin or a Nash Metropolitan; maybe even have a Zundapp Janus on hand for special occasion. Retrieving my sub $20K car, after driving around in what is likely a $38K vehicle, was sort of difficult.