More automotive woes

So there is something wrong with my car again. Despite dropping it off at the repair shop at 9am, by 4pm, they still didn’t have it pinned down and wanted to keep it at least until tomorrow morning to run further diagnostic tests. I’m sort of wondering if that is not so secret mechanic code for, “we didn’t even start to glance at your car today, maybe, if you get real lucky, we’ll look at it before noon tomorrow.”

I suppose that’s not really being fair as this shop is usually pretty good about getting back to me quickly. Apparently my computerized whatchamajigger that helps modern mechanics figure out what is actually wrong with the car is sending out mixed signals. Most of them seem to be pointing to a cylander problem. However, one little bugger claiming to be a transmission emission jumped in there to mess everything up. I’ve been told I should hope it’s a cylander as it will probably much, much cheaper than a new transmission.

All I know is that as I merged on to the highway Friday night, despite pushing down on my accelerator, I didn’t accelerate. The car didn’t lose speed; it just didn’t gain any either. It was sort of stuck at 55 mph. When I pushed harder on the pedal, the only result was my foot getting closer to the floor. So I put my hazards on and set the cruise control. That’s when it got funky. My engine started revving up and my car would appear to speed up for a few seconds. Then it would drop back down to normal. Five seconds would pass and then jerkagain. Then eight seconds and normal. Then two and jerk. Then four and normal. I’m sure you get the picture.

Although annoying, I could deal with it. My biggest concern was what would happen when I finally brought the car to a stop at the end of the exit ramp. I kept hoping I’d reach the end only to have the green arrow. No dice. And I was the first person in line for the turn, so if my car died, I was sure to piss off a lot of people. When the arrow lit up, I pushed down with my foot and it sputtered a bit. Thankfully it kept going, just really, really slowly. I couldn’t accelerate more than about 10 mph.

I decided to take the back roads home in an attempt to come into contact (and consequently piss off) with as few people as possible. Unfortunately I forgot the back way has a few hills. Normally my car takes them without a problem. I barely made it up the first one. I hoped the acceleration from the first hill would make the second one easier. Yet again I was disappointed. At one point I actually thought my car would roll backwards. If the hill had been a few feet higher I think it might have. I made it to the roundabout though.

What should have been a 35-40 minute drive ended up taking me about 70. The last few miles were the most painful as my car was chugging along at a whopping 10-20 mph. When I pulled into the garage and turned the car off, I smelled burning. I had a feeling it wasn’t going to fix itself.

And it didn’t. It was slightly easier for my husband to drive it to the shop (I followed behind with the baby in the “reliable” car). He was able to keep the car at respectable speeds of 40 mph. The check engine light came on about two minutes into his drive, but the engine never revved and there was no horrid smell when we pulled into the shop.

Now, I just wait until tomorrow when they call and tell me what I’ve done to it now and how much it’ll cost. It figures this happened. I just made my last car payment. Which almost tempts me to say to hell with it and buy a new car if the repair is going to be more than $1000 or so. I guess $1000 is nothing compared to the next several years without a car payment. And I’ve only had this car for four years. I feel really wasteful getting rid of it when it can be fixed.

I just hope it’s the cheap(er) fix.

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Filed under bad days, pet peeves, ramblings, what makes me me

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