Tuesday, June 26, 2012

My car is Not Happy

On Sunday afternoon, we had a deaf-blind event in West Chester, so of course I went. About ten days ago, I had been hesitant to drive my car that distance with JFM and JR, but Mark added some oil to my car a few days ago and it was running better. So I felt OK about going to West Chester this time around.

However, from the moment I parked in the church parking lot upon my arrival, I realized something was wrong. A thin cloud of white smoke was emanating from my engine. Ohhhh, crud. Not what I wanted to see. I called Mark, who was at home and planning to paint the railing outside the house. He thought maybe I needed some water or coolant added to the car. However, it's not safe to do so when the engine is still hot, so the car needed to be left to cool off. I had no idea where to add water to the car, having never had to do so before, so I figured the best thing I could do was just go in to the deaf-blind event and interpret. I was sure that SOMEone in the place would know how to add water to a car, and they could show me what to do. Sure enough, I was able to find a couple of other interpreters who knew what to do. So when the event was over, two hours later, we all went out to have a look at my car. Surprise -- the reservoir was full of coolant, so that wasn't the problem. I talked to Mark again, and we agreed that I'd call AAA, have the car towed to our mechanic, and Mark would meet the tow truck and me there.

But then my deaf-blind friend JEJ and his mom came over, with another one of the interpreters, to see how I was doing with the car. They said they were going to visit with the interpreter, who lived only ten minutes away, and they invited me to follow them there in my car. That way, when I called AAA, I'd be calling from a place where there were people around, instead of from the middle of an empty church parking lot. I agreed to do that.

That ten-minute drive didn't cause any more smoke to appear, but there was a terrible burnt-rubber smell, so it was clear something was still wrong with the car. So we all went inside and I called AAA from there. I also got to meet the interpreters roommates and his four adorable cats. They were all very friendly, sweet kitties, so I was glad to engage in a little bit of Cute Face Therapy while I waited. AAA sends text message updates now, so I knew when to go back outside and wait for the truck to arrive. I rode in the flatbed truck as we transported the car back to Philly. Mark met us at the mechanic's and we put my car keys along with a note into the mechanic's mailbox. We figured the mechanic would figure out what was going on when he saw the car, keys, and note on Monday morning.

Well, the good news is, I finally know WHY the oil light is always lighting up, even soon after oil has been added to the car. The bad news is, it's a stupendously expensive fix that just isn't worth doing for a fifteen-year-old car. Even the mechanic recommended against it, and he would've stood to make money from doing the repair work.

Fortunately, there is one alternative to fixing the problem. It involves checking the oil every few days, adding it as needed, and making sure to add it before a long trip (such as, say, a trip to the shore.)

Honestly, color me Not Happy about this. What really needs to happen is I need a newer car, one that's not slowly going senile on me. But I'm not in a position to make that happen any time soon, so I guess my new routine involves checking oil and adding it regularly.

No comments: