Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Car Issues

We've been having some issues with the car.  I don't know when it all started, maybe a month or so ago.  It was a small problem, really.  Sometimes, we'd be driving along and the car would "buck" a bit.  Bucking is kinda like stuttering for cars.  It'd just go ka-tung-ka-tung, we'd all bop along and then it would smooth out.  No biggie.  We thought it might have something to do with water in the gas tank since this usually happened when it rained.

Well, last week, when I took Magoo to the hospital for a routine visit, it got worse.  We were in the parking garage from HELL (Sriously, it's so narrow and impossible to find a place to park.)  Our visit was over and we were leaving.  I pulled the car out of the slot and it stalled.  Ok.  I started it up again.  I tried to apply the gas.  Stall.  My heart started pumping because I am completely blocking the path.  No one could possibly get around me.  I started it.  Stall.  On the fourth time I tried to gas it, I held down the clutch so I was really revving it and I was able to pull back into the parking slot.  (See illustration below.)

I had a minor freak out, wondering if I was going to have to call AAA to get me out of the parking garage - but I was happy that I wasn't blocking any traffic anymore.  Can you imagine how pissy someone waiting in a hospital parking garage could get?  Jinkies!

So the car was running.  I just let it run for a minute or two while I calmed myself down and wondered what to do.  I decided to try one more time.  This time, with my new super-rev technique, I was able to pull out of the slot and get it going forward.  After we made the turn, we were headed down and that helped a lot.  (I think starting with the nose pointing up is even more difficult for some reason.)

Okay.  So that was a super stressful ride home because stop-to-start required a lot of revving and sweat on my part and there are A LOT of lights and stop signs in that part of town.  But Magoo and I made it home.  Then I told the hubby about it and he got in the car and it drove just fine for him.  Then I started to wonder if I had somehow psyched myself out and if the problem was me and not the car.

Over the next few days, the car had it's good moments and bad moments, but nothing had been as stressful as the parking garage.  I bought some dry gas and put it in and that seemed to help.

But TODAY - no, no - today was a bad day.  I decided to get some grocery shopping done as soon as I dropped Magoo at school.  All was well to the first store.  I got there no problem.  I parked.  I shopped.  I got back in the car.  But when I went from the parking lot to the street - things got dicey. The power was up and down.  Instead of pulling into the left turn lane, like I had intended, I went right so I could be close to the side of the road if the engine puttered out completely.  Then I took the long way around to Whole Foods (the 2nd grocery store I had to go to, which was in the same area of town.)

So - OK - I make it there, but it was nerve racking.  The mechanic is ALSO in that same 4 block shopping area (Bishop's Corner) so I start thinking, maybe I should get the groceries done and take it right to the shop?  Well, when I finished my shopping at Whole Foods and got back in the car, it was like the hospital parking garage all over again.  I pulled out and stalled.
I was able to start the car up and rev it back into the space and then I just shut the thing off and walked over to the mechanic.  My hope was that a friendly mechanic with nothing to do would come back over with me and witness the car having its issues.  

No such luck.  He told me to get it over there, if I could.  Otherwise I could call AAA for a tow.  They were pretty busy so they didn't have anyone to spare for a ride along.  OK.  I walked back to the car.  I didn't have to get far - but I didn't want to go through the very busy intersection.

1.) Here I am at Whole Foods.  This is where it stalled.  The green route is the quick, efficient route, but it goes through the intersection.  Stalling out in the intersection = VERY BAD.  So I decide to go through all the parking lots in the stores.  
2.) A stop sign.  I slow, but I roll through it.
3.) A stop light.  I get lucky - it's green.
4.)  Another stop light and even worse - a stop light on an incline.  Fortunately I had no cars behind me because this was a tough start.  I had to really rev it before I could work up enough power to get it to move forward and it started rolling backward in the mean time.  But I got it going and then I lucked out because I was able to make a left into the mechanic's lot without having to wait for traffic. (5.)

So that's where our one and only car is now and I feel so much better.  My neighbor came and picked me up and Magoo's school is close enough to walk, although he won't like that much.  Too bad!  I don't think we're getting that car back none too soon and it's suppose to snow tomorrow anyway.  I'd better dig out the child's snow pants!

I'll update you when they figure out what's wrong with the thing.  Oy!


äiti said...

Yikes. Our car has been having some "minor" issues as well. I've been waiting with bated breath for something like this to happen to us.

Um, not to lessen the trauma, but I love the visuals. Especially the first one---it really helped me process what the moment was like for you!

Jessica said...

Hey, didn't you get that car from Sara? Maybe she left some couties behind! Just kidding!

The whole time you were talking about going to another grocery store then to the mechanics, I couldn't help but get a little nervous thinking about ice cream in your trunk melting everywhere. (we often get ice cream when we go for grocery's)

I hope your car is feeling better soon!!

Julie_c said...

No ice cream melts! We're non-dairy in this house so no need to worry.