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Friday, October 31, 2008  


All summer, we got notices by e-mail, snail mail, phone, text message, and carrier pigeon reminding us that the warranty on Trash's car was about to expire. Which it did. Which we ignored.

A few weeks ago, we got a notice that the warranty had expired, but this time it was in a different form. Specifically, it was in the form of the car's engine missing a few strokes while in reverse. While in Iowa.

We got home safely and easily enough. But I thought it was a little weird when later that day, on my way to Chao's house, the engine just died. I was on an otherwise empty, residential street, three blocks from home, so it wasn't like it was a major situation. I just thought, "Huh, that's odd," then put it in neutral and cranked it again. And then I went on my way and it was fine, although Trash wasn't pleased to hear that her car had died for no reason. Even when I told her how to handle the situation if it happened to her, it didn't seem to make her feel all that better. It was almost as if she would prefer to not have the engine die while she was driving it at all.

And for a while, it didn't. In fact, the whole time we were in Florida, we didn't have problems with the car once.

Cut to this week, when the "check engine" light is on more or less permanently and Trash and I are both getting way too good at quickly putting the car in neutral and restarting it whenever we slow down to a rolling stop. It wouldn't be so bad, except that cranking it always makes us miss a few seconds of whatever somebody's saying on the radio, plus it always feels a little iffy when you're doing it while taking a left in front of oncoming traffic.

So we've been relying more on my car, which neither of us hardly ever drives since I've been telecommuting. In fact, the last time I put gas in it was in August. I was considering siphoning out the four-dollar-a-gallon gas I still have in the tank and selling it as a collector's item, but now we're using it to drive around. I'm beginning to worry that the car may not last until Thanksgiving without another trip to the pump.

Fortunately, my dad's coming over to take a look under the hood tomorrow, and he's bringing his portable diagnostic computer that can plug into the car and tell us what's wrong with it. Kind of like R2-D2, but less obnoxious and without the gay sidekick.

A few theories have been floated. Dad thinks it might just be water in the gas tank. I'm wondering if the air-fuel mix just needs to be adjusted, not that I have the slightest idea how to do that. But part of me is just a little worried that Trash's car's computer is just going to tell my dad's computer, "Duh, my warranty's expired. Neener neener."

If that happens, maybe I'll just swap the computer out of my '99 into Trash's '06 Ion. That should be pretty straightforward, right?

posted by M. Giant 7:52 PM 3 comments


My old truck (his name was Bob) used to do exactly that. It was a stick shift, and the wheel would lock when it happened. Usually coming to a stop, but once in the middle of the freeway. SCARY! I forget what it was, or I would make a bet with you.

But it did get fixed, and I had Bob the Truck for another 5 years until I smashed him to pieces one fine day.

So take heart.

By Blogger GhostGirl, at November 1, 2008 at 7:16 AM  

I had the same stalling problem with my automatic transmission mercury mystique, and it turned out to be a faulty oxygen sensor in the gas tank.
Good luck!

By Blogger Catharine, at November 1, 2008 at 9:36 AM  

My car had started skipping in reverse like it wanted to die. When we took it in for the emissions inspection the other day it was diagnosed with a faulty oxygen sensor. Hopefully, fixing that will fix the other problem.

By Blogger Deanna, at November 3, 2008 at 9:18 AM  

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