In preparation for my trip to Portland this weekend, I took my car in over lunch to have its oil changed, its tires rotated, its brakes checked, and its fluids checked. I also replaced the windshield wiper blades. It's all running so nicely now!
I had the work done at Courtesy Auto. They gave me a deal on the work since I had them replace two of my tires a while back -- $17 for the oil change, the tire rotation, and the brake and fluid checks. Sweet.
That makes two good car experiences in less than a month. Considering that all my car repair experiences up to that point had been poor, that's not bad at all. It's a whole new world.