Monday, December 21, 2009

Friday and the Very Bad Car Day

For some reason I thought I had posted about this, but I obviously didn't.  Sleep deprivation will do that to you, I guess.

We've been having problems on and off with the car, often at night or when it's very cold.  You insert the key in the ignition and...nothing.  Maybe a click, maybe an attempt at turning over, maybe not.  It didn't always happen after the car had been sitting for a long time.  Sometimes you could be in the midst of a series of brief stops and the car could work fine repeatedly and then just not work.  We figured it was one of 4 things:
1. a battery problem, including a dead cell
2. an alternator problem
3. the starter solenoid, or
4. an intermittent electrical system problem

We were trying to arrange to get it in somewhere to be looked at (and had actually booked an appointment for the middle of the day on Tuesday, which I just this second realized needs to be cancelled) but it died on us early Friday morning, parked on a major street a couple of blocks from home.

BCAA came and jumped it and my son-in-law got it home while I took everyone to work and school in the van instead.  Then it stopped again at the house and couldn't be restarted.  BCAA had to come back to take it to a shop to be worked on.  The dealership that I'd made the appointment with was too far away but they took it to another place that was quite close.  Interestingly, they didn't tow it but showed up with a flatbed truck and loaded it onto there.

The small shop it went to replaced the battery and some clamps that attach the battery to the car.  It turns out that the battery was oozing sulphuric acid and the positive terminal was corroded through.  The final bill was $238, less than a third of what it would have been for a new alternator.  That's something to be thankful for at least.

Of course, all of this took most of the day and caused endless stress on the shortest Shabbos of the year.  We did get it back before Shabbos, but we were cutting it pretty fine.   I never got to Safeway since I didn't have a vehicle and that meant we were out of a couple of things we really needed.  Milk, for instance.

I can hear someone saying, "But you drove the van".  Well, yes.  But my son-in-law needed that back when preschool let out at 11:30 am.  That's when he took his 2 girls and drove them to Hope.  His folks live up north and met him there because they're taking the girls for 10 days or so.  So I didn't have a vehicle and my Hubby had to borrow the van from work to pick me up so we could play musical cars when the thing was finally ready.

In all of this mess Dear Child ended up not going to school for the last day before winter break, mostly because I had no way to know if I would be able to pick her up!  However, I had to go to her school anyway in the morning because I had all the notes for all the teachers and all the gifts for them for Hanukkah/winter break and they had to be given to them that day.  Then Dear Child hung out with her big sister, who had a dentist appointment at the mall while I worked and waited for the saga of the car to unfold.

It was a horrible day and I was very tempted to take the car and have it crushed into a large paperweight but I resisted the temptation and am now able to drive again.  This makes over $2,800 in repairs these past few months, $2,000 a year ago and 3 pairs of rear tires (roughly $600) in the past 8 or 10 months (due to the bent axle).  Actually, the final pair of tires (winter ones) are supposed to be bought tomorrow so we can put the other winter tires on too.  Then we'll be able to drive to the house at some point during winter break.  We hope.

1 comment:

Grace. said...

Well, you know from reading my blog, how very much I feel your pain! I'm glad your solution was a lot cheaper than mine!