Sunday, May 06, 2007

Cars.......

Do you ever notice that your car decides to betray you when there is nothing that can be done? I definitely noticed. I was driving home Friday, from an interesting evening that probably deserves it's own blog but will never see one... A light on my dash popped up it was my little battery icon. I had been driving for ten minutes now and the car had had no trouble starting up. I thought "Hmm.... it is a battery light but I know a dead battery and this is not a dead battery. I mean I am driving in the car, it has juice." I unplugged my iPod and turned off the radio. I turned off the heater and I drove in silence. My car was eerily quiet. If you know my car you know it is never ever quiet. It rattles along making all sorts of racket and a horrible jarring noise engulfs the cars whenever the exhausted shocks encounter a large bump or pothole. It is just part of my car and has been since a few months after I got it. After whatever those crafty Used Car Salesmen did at Tempe Dodge so it would sound smooth and quiet long enough for someone to buy it. In fact it often worries my passengers, fearing that the car will just go kaput right where we idle during a red light. It is the sound it should make and the sound I expect to hear from it when I am driving. A sound that means my car will continue moving. Friday night it made no sound as it idled, it made no sound as I drove and it didn't even object to the potholes in the street. It sounded like a car they make advertisements about. That combined with the glowing red battery light told me whatever was wrong was not a simple battery.
I woke up Saturday morning expecting to have a dead vehicle but it started. It started without the little light and without the comforting rattle of a car that always sounds like it will die at any moment. I hoped that the light would go away and that after work those guys at Les Schwab would say "Oh it's just a 50 dollar battery. No worries." Halfway to work the light was back. I worked all day long thinking about that stupid light. Crystal my cubicle neighbor said "It comes on after a little while? It's probably your alternator." Damn her and her prediction. It was a battery! It had to be, I could not afford anything else. I would later discover, much to my chagrin, that I didn't even have enough for that imagined battery. I rushed out of the evil towers that I called work and I headed to those ever so friendly Les Schwab guys. The guy caught me before I walked in the office and soon he was testing my car. "Your battery is fine. Your alternator is the problem." I asked him if they could get it fixed he said "We do not work on alternators." Then laughed mysteriously. OK so there was no mysterious laugh, but strangely enough as I wrote this line a loud mysterious laugh came from my neighbor... talk about creepy! Anyway he recommended a place that was closed at 3 and seeing how it was 4:50 I thanked him for his non-help. I drove home and looked at all the closed auto places thinking who the heck told them they could run on banking hours? As if breaking down only happened on the week day? How inconvenient is it that we all wait until Monday through Friday to get our cars fixed? I headed home and I stayed there. The next day I got up and called twenty places all of them were closed. I went back to bed. I got up again and watched Rome an HBO series about the Roman empire. It is interesting but not captivating if you ask me. Then I went out to my car half expecting it to not work. It started up in the same eerily quiet manner but soon there was a new and distinctly different rattle then I had ever heard and a weird metallic noise. I stumbled across an open Firestone, which amazed me. They unfortunately could not get the part today so I left. I drove all around and nothing else was open. I took my car home and I have sat here in worry ever since. I have no idea if this thing will start tomorrow. No idea if it will strand me somewhere and no idea how I was going to get the alternator fixed. So I made a decision. With some help from my dad I am taking tomorrow off and I am getting my car to someone that can fix my car the same day. Then I will pay my dad back. Not a great plan, or a good one even but it is a plan.

4 comments:

Robert said...

Altenators are an easy fix and not significantly moer than a battery. However, I am sure labor will kill you... You could easily do it yourself with a few basic tools (ratchet, sockets, wrenches). Good luck!

Michael Williams said...

I have a maintenance book and I looked at it and you may very well be right. There are a few problems though. I don't have the tools is the first one. The second is that I am not very mechanically inclined. The third is I do not know anyone that is mechanically inclined up here or else I might have enlisted their help. My nightmare on doing it myself is that I would be halfway there and something would go wrong. The other part that works against me is that my lease specifically states that you can not work on your car in the parking lot. In other words no tools no ability and no place to work are my reasons for not even attempting it myself.

Robert said...

What about my pop? He doesn't know I'm volunteering him...

Michael Williams said...

That probably would not have been a bad idea had I not already paid for it. The dang thing died as they went to take it into the shop. They had to charge it to get it to move. I noticed on the ride there that the clock had stopped showing and the windows would not roll up or down. It started having power fluctuations it would not have made it to Salem.