Don Bauder 4:30 p.m., Dec. 9
Third-Place Winner of the January 2010 Neighborhood Blog Contest!
Where will you be when your automotive Karma wears out? I know exactly where I was - on the 15 south going to work, January 8th, 2010.
It happened in an instant. For only a mere second the oil light flashed and then disappeared. Of course I rationalized that I would check and top off the oil when I arrived at work. However, within three miles my car was ticking like a bomb. By the time I got to work I had a full blown knock. Now I realize they call them idiot lights for a reason, but maybe-just maybe, they should have idiot lights for dummys. A light that doesn't wait so long to come on. Then perhaps the oil level wouldn't be so critical.
I topped off the oil and put in some Lucas oil additive, but to no avail-the knock was still there. Not exactly opportunity knocking. Unless you consider major engine work an opportunity of sorts. I nursed the car home, taking side streets until I absolutely had to get on the 15 going north. When I arrived home, I got out of the car and ceremonially kissed the ground, thankful I made it home in one piece. that's when I discovered the radiator leak. Just a pin hole really, but the water poured out like a rushing river.
We added a radiator stop leak, topped off the coolant and did an oil change. The good news is; the radiator stopped leaking, and the car runs. The bad news is the car still has this gosh awful knock. You know......like the drums in one of those seedy strip clubs in the movies.
Boom, klinka, boom, klinka boom boom boom. Rata ta
ra ta ta, ra ta ta, boom boom boom.
So for the next week, I drive my husbands's truck to work. His truck was running great for about the first four days. Then it appeared to hesitate going into gear. Just a little pregnant pause and then the transmission would engage.
That's when it happened again. While commuting to work in rush hour traffic, on Friday, January 15th, 2010, my automotive karma disengaged again. My exit was coming, so I started to merge to the right. The truck became confused and decided it was safer to be in neutral. Making a fast decision to either die in the middle of rush hour traffic (did I mention I was in the number two lane?) or attempt to make my way to the shoulder. I opted for the latter. Flashers on, and the truck rapidly losing momentum I started to make my move to the sactuary of the shoulder. The problem was my fellow commuters were obviously in too big a hurry to allow me the courtesy of a clean escape. I began to make my move, while rediscovering my religious beliefs. Thanks to a woman in a compact car, (she ran interference for me) I barely made it to the shoulder before the truck came to a complete stop. Within minutes a tow truck appeared before me and thanks to the state of California I was towed off the freeway to the safe haven of a park and ride. (It was nice to see my tax dollars at work, and actually doing something for me) The towing service was free. Luckily the mechanic was exactly five miles away, so my autoclub tow was free too. When I left the truck at the mechanic's, I was afraid to turn and look back, lest my truck turn into a pillar of salt.