Panic in the Car

So I was driving to work yesterday morning and notice that my car is making a weird noise. I turn down the radio, and listen. Yup, definite weird noise. I then notice there is a strange light on the dash. Now I start to panic. I drive (insanely cautiously) to work the entire time convinced that at any moment my car is going to explode. Don’t laugh. I have been driving when 2 different car’s engines blew. I mean there you are driving along, “dee, dee doo, ” singing to the radio, sun shining, birds, very Disney movie, then BOOM! BANG! Eeeeerrrrrrrrcrunch, grinding noise, sick metal twisting sounds, billowing smoke, etc. While. I. Am. Driving. In fact it happened when I was pregnant with GirlChild and a rod blew through the hood of the car. (Apparently 4 qts a day is not a “little” leak and should be immediately addressed-lesson learned) I then had to waddle-push (a move I personally invented) the maimed vehicle out of the intersection at 7 months pregnant. For the record a “helpful” citizen did pull over and tell me “You shouldn’t be doing that in your condition” prior to driving off. The second engine explosion was less flashy, but just as deadly to the engine. Needless to say I am a little traumatized by these events and was essentially a hot mess by the time I got to work. Which prompted me to do what any rational, strong, self-sufficient, thirty something woman would have done. I called my Dad. (Don’t sit there Ms Judgey-Pants, what would you have done? Be honest-we don’t lie at the table) He listened to my description and told me he would call his mechanic friend. So I went inside to work, worked and then left work to get BoyChild II for Day Care. Which meant another heart pounding, wheel-gripping, brow sweat kind of drive. I’m pretty sure I pissed off half a dozen drivers going so slowly and cautiously.

At last! We arrived safely! (the little tiny guys I often hear/see in my head were cheering– think Monty Python-type image not like I’m certifiable and actually see physical people) I go inside and start our afternoon routine, when my father’s mechanic friend calls, he’s heading out of work a bit early to stop by and check out my car. (for free- the guy really is just on this side of sainthood as far as mechanics go) When he gets to the house we begin the complex ritual dance that occurs between the professional mechanic and the car ignoramus owner.  You know what I’m talking about, it goes about like this…

 Mechanic Dude: So it’s making a noise?

Me: Yes kinda a loud engine noise, but not so enginey sounding, I mean not like a real engine… Ok, so imagine if a computer were to generate an engine noise, it’d sound more electronic and less motor? Well, yeah. That’s the sound.

(and from that genius description he was able to get an idea of what might be wrong)

Mechanic: Are you said something about strange lights?

Me: Yes! You know on the dash where all those warning lights go? There’s this one lit up that wasn’t before. It is off to the right and says AUTO. In all caps and it’s green. Oh, and when I’m slowing down, in that same area, there’s these 2 bar like lights that like up in segments and then go out in segments… Oh, like those lights on the front of fancy stereos?

Mechanic: Ok, yeah I know what you are talking about. I’ll take it around the block and see what it’s doing.

Me: Ok thank you sooo much!

 He comes back, grinning. Apparently Wednesday when BoyChild I cleaned the interior of the car (he wanted to earn some spending money) he accidentally pushed a button on the dash and left it engaged. What does the button say on it’s label? Is there a complicated picture/symbol  I can’t possibly be expected to  understand? Oh, no, of course not. The button says AUTO 4WD. Oops. Red faced I thank my mechanic for taking off work early to push a button for me and go back inside the house.

 Have you ever completely over reacted/ went crazy with worry/ etc only to discover the problem was silly and simple to fix? What did you do when you had egg on your face? I went inside, made daiquiris (heavy on the rum) & toasted my mechanic. 🙂

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2 thoughts on “Panic in the Car

  1. This reminds me a similar incident with my car when I first met Jeff (And he went on to marry me, bless his soul)

    Jeff went to the Miami Columbus Day Regatta with his brothers and I was house/Sammy sitting, I drove him to the airport that morning, stopped and got gas and went to work, No problems, When I left work and was driving home my “Check Engine” light came on. I have never been driving a car when the engine blew-up, but I was pretty sure that that light meant “If you don’t get this fixed quickly your engine will blow up” So, like you I drove home slowly expecting the worst at any moment.

    I called Jeff and said “I can’t drive my car, the “Check Engine” light is on! He asked all kinds of questions to which my continuous reply was “I can’t drive it, there is something wrong with the EN GINE” So, I drove his car for the rest of the week and when he returned we decided to take my car to his mechanic. Again I drove along expecting all the horrors you described to begin at any moment. Whew! We get there safe and sound, The mechanic comes out after checking out my poor dying engine and asks:

    Mechanic Dude: Did you get gas recently?

    Me: yes…… It isn’t the gas light it is the “Check Engine” light (I am smart like that)

    Mechanic Dude: Your gas cap was loose, I took it off and tightened it. I reset the light, everything is fine,

    me: They need a “Loose gas cap” light! That should not be filed under “Check Engine!”

    Mechanic Dude: “that will be $45” He was not quite so saintly!

    • lmfao! Yes, I agree I think there should be a Check Engine light, and there should also be a No Panic Nessasary Check When You Get a Minute light…. Although I guess the print would have to be redicuously tiny for that…

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