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Tuesday, December 05, 2006

Car Problems....

Today at lunch I ran up to a nearby mall to look for a particular gift for my Mom, ran to Subway to pick up some food, and on my way back to the office my car began chugging and I feared it would die.

But then again, any time I'm driving a car that does anything outside of "normal", I instinctively want to put my left foot on the brake and right foot lightly on the accelerator...because that's what I did for years with the car with a bad carb. And spark plugs that blew every 6 months.

So today, my first prayer was "Please don't die!". I observed that no dash lights were one, so given that it's been cold (20's and below), and given my car's sudden hesitation, perhaps the plugs need to go. Fine. I resolved to drop by a shop next day and leave it there before work.

It seemed ok most of the way back, but hesitated at the lights. No dash lights, nothing appearing out of the ordinary. The Idle speed was where it needed to be.

So tonight after work when I fired it up, it seemed fine. Was fine for a few blocks. Then at the stop sign where I had to make my left, my car hesitated and I feared it would die in the middle of the intersection...a very busy intersection!

But it didn't. So I continued to watch the rpm's, watched for lights, listneed..didn't even have the radio on because I was attuning my ear to my engine. My sorry-sounding, suddenly-chugging engine.

I started up Snelling Ave. towards Hwy 694, and my car began to chug even though I was trying to accelerate. Now, mind you, the temperature rose today, and it was maybe around 25 degrees or so. It really isn't that cold!

Yet this car of mine was behaving as though it didn't want to run, and I've never had this problem.

Plugged injector? What? This is not spark plugs.

Then the engine light flickered on...went off...flickered on...and I pulled off to the side. I searched through mmy manual, seeking answers. I know cars. I know engines...when they belong to someone else, and my usual advice to them would be to tow it to a shop and get the diagnostic run.

Well, not real helpful when you are on the side of the road and you don't have anyone to call. And cars are flying past. Finally, I'm one of those poor souls at the side of the road. I knew this would happen eventually.

I prayed for help and looked into my mirror for something resembling a squad car or a Highway Helper. Nothing. Not likely to be anything.

I assessed what I I have enough to drive to the next exit, where there is a shop? I had a prior car repaired there, they did good work and seemed to be straight shooters. And they didn't charge dealership prices.

And it was my only choice. There was nowhere else to go, and if I passed them by, there was a useless neighborhood and a major highway.

So I prayed, and entered was as though guided. I can't explain this, only that there seemed to be an escort, cars letting me into traffic and the engine light went off. With the occasional chug.

I pulled off, around the corner and into the shop's lot. I parked my car, and noticed that there seemed to be a line of some kind of fluid leading there, although it may have been there before from a car earlier in the day. Nothing seemed to be dripping from my car.

I grabbed my stuff and headed in, described the dash light, the behavior, and the sudden appearance of the problem. And thanked God that this hadn't happened on the freeway. And prayed that my engine wasn't blown.

I had no one to call. No family in the area. I did reach my brother, but he's way in the south metro, and honestly, it didnt' make sense for him to pick me up, take me north, and then return home. This wasn't that big of a deal. The shop tried to find me a rental...not such luck. Too close to the end of they day and they are all out. OK.

But here's the amazing thing; I wasn't that upset. I've been praying for the virtue absent in me, that is; patience. And while I'll admit that the prospect of a few thousand dollar repair job is sending me into a holy panic, there's a lot more holy grace being poured upon me right now to prevent an overflow of panic.

I sat there in the waiting room, praying my dogs weren't soiling the carpet in desperation, praying that my car would have a minor problem, and praying that this wasn't going to be as bad as it looks.

Then they came back with the initial diagnostic results. All 4 cylinders misfiring. All 4. I know engines...this is very bad. But it coudl be electrical, because there are several TSB's (technical service bulletins) on this issue. This could be under warranty. I need to check into my extneded warranty.

My car has only 40,000 miles. This is very bad. I have a proven record of good maintenance. When the shop ran my VIN they have a record of all recall issues having been handled, and I can provide all service records...because I know how important maintenance is.

This is very bad.

I had to take a $30 cab ride home. Tomorrow I'm going to call a rental company and ask for a roller skate, and likely call in late to work while I wait for it...if I can get one. In the area of the shop, the companies were out of rentals.

And if all cylinders are misfiring, then that means I won't have my car for awhile. So not only will I be forking over money for a rental, but I'll be paying for an expensive repair. Unless this is a recall issue.

So I would like to ask all of you to please pray for me, and storm heaven. I need some help with this stuff. I need God in a major way. I can't afford an expensive repair, but I also certainly can't afford not to fix the thing.

I would also like to thank St. Joseph for his protection of me today. I know that he was there, he didn't let me hit the highway where disaster was certain, and tonight a friend sent me, unknowingly, a certain confirmation of an earlier prayer I had sent up to this dear Saint.

Ladies, let me tell you...Saint Joseph looks after we women very well, especially those of us who are single and have no one else to call for help.


Anonymous said...

Its days like these that you DO lose your head! I HATE cars, as helpful as they are, they can cause you a good deal of pain.

Prayers definatly sent my friend!

Cathy_of_Alex said...

Adoro: Saturn paid to replace my entire engine when the block cracked several years ago. Even though my warranty was long expired they covered it in full. Apparently, they had that problem with my model. Saturn is really good with customer service. I'm praying they do the same with your cylinders since that could be a flaw in your model that they know about and will cover. I've not had any serious trouble since.

If you need help, rides, etc, let me know. I'm here.

Of course, I'm praying! I'm glad you are fine.

Anonymous said...

PRAYERS your way.... and YES, St. Joseph ROCKS for protection, and financial issues also!

Anonymous said...

Adoro - prayers going up!