Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Pardon Me While I Scream

Eric had a high school job this morning, so he was headed out the door while I was just getting up and ready for work. Just after I'd made my morning pot of tea, Eric called. His car was dead again. And he wanted me to cancel his job so he could take the car down to his shop and figure out this problem once and for all.

Instead, I suggested that he take Cody to work while I dealt with his car. He agreed, as he makes more money than I do so it frankly makes more sense for ME to miss a day of work than him.

So I got down there, the car was in our local QFC parking lot partially blocking the exit. Eric took Cody, after we attempted to push Eric's car further out of the way and didn't get very far. The steering wheel was locked, so I tried the engine. It started. GRRRRRR. I pulled the car out of the way, then attempted a few turns in the parking lot. The car died a couple of times.

Eventually, thinking wistfully of my pot of tea sitting under a towel on the counter at home, I decided to risk a drive home. I called AAA and canceled the tow, then nursed Eric's car home. It died three times on the way, but made it.

I had my tea (still warm!) and a quick shower, then called Eric's shop to let them know. Now I'm trying to decide if I want to risk the drive (14 miles) to the shop, or if I should call AAA for a tow. I'm leaning towards the tow. Updates when I get back...

Update: I must be nuts. I decided to try to drive down to Eric's shop. And guess what? That's right, no problems. The car made the whole trip just fine.

Once there, we had a little discussion, with the first question being "what sort of gasoline do you use?" Apparently that was asked in big letters across the top of Eric's car's record in the computer. Well, usually we fill up at the local Chevron, but lately we've been filling up at Costco to save money. Well, the mechanics had another theory as to why the car was misbehaving, and it had to do with temperature, gasoline quality, and clogged valves. They decided to keep the car overnight to run full diagnostics in the morning, since that seems to be when the problems usually happen.

My decision to drive to the shop, and the fact that I had no problems once I did so, strengthened the theory that it's some sort of clog in the system. If it was a loose wire in the ignition, which was my favorite theory last week, the car should've continued to have problems this morning, and I shouldn't have been able to drive it to the shop. But it's difficult to say for sure. Any time a car dies for no apparent reason then behaves once it gets to the shop... well, that's when it gets hard to figure out what's going wrong.

In the meantime, I was stuck, as Eric has my car. So they gave me a loaner car for the duration. It's not the best solution, but at least I'm not vehicle-less.