Sunday, August 28, 2005

Please be the water pump

I think I am going to wish that yesterday's $90 was all there was.

I spent most of the morning and into the afternoon today at the Tire trying to figure out what happened to my car last night. It was a little scary.

Driving 401 West from Oshawa, I was just a little east of Meadowvale Rd. (I think) in the Express Lanes. (If you don't know Toronto, the 401 is the major East/West route through the city. Six to Eight lanes each way.) It was about 1am and I was just cruising home, boppin' away to my new Ceasars CD when the car feels like it is bogging a bit. I put my foot on the clutch and look down at the dash to see the engine stop completely and at this point I notice the temperature gauge is red lined. I look in the rear view to see if it is safe to slow down and pull over, (though I really don't have a choice with the slow down part,) and I see a huge cloud trailing my car. Smoke, steam, I don't know, but a cloud nonetheless. I get pulled over to the right shoulder and pop the hood so I can climb out and take a look and maybe pretend I have some idea of what might have happened. I open the hood and wave away the remnants of the cloud, and am disturbed to see green fluid, everywhere that fluid might collect in a engine compartment. Why is my engine coolant everywhere but in the rad? Don't know yet, but it might explain the red lining temperature gauge.

Now I have to call for road side assistance. I rifle through my wallet and find a card from my manufacturer because my car company provides 24 hour service. I call them for help and they inform me that the service ran out at the end of January, exactly three years after I bought the car. There's a problem. So I call CAA even though I don't have a membership because they should still be able to help me out by sending a truck. Here's where I come to problem number 2. I'm not really sure where I am. I know I am on the 401. I know I was traveling Westbound. I know I am in the Express lanes on the right shoulder. But, how far out of the city am I? Normally I would just look right to the side of the highway and find a landmark that I recognize. I try this method and am thwarted by the 12 foot high wall! I'm stopped at one of those sections where the road banks and the Collector lanes are higher than this side of the Express. So I guess that I am a little east of Meadowvale and tell the dispatcher as much. They tell me it could be an hour or two.

So now I wait. In my car. At the side of a high speed freeway. Suddenly feeling vulnerable. I am watching in my rear view as vehicles are coming around the bend and passing by my car at 120km/h. Watching as transports are barreling by and rattling the car. Feeling as though each truck that passes is somehow going to suck my car into the moving traffic. So this is how the tow-truck driver finds me. Seatbelt on, arms firm at my sides, head plastered back to the head rest, hoping that if I get smoked by an 18-wheeler doing 120, that this position will save me.

My guess at my 20 was close enough for the tow-truck to find me, and it only took about 30 minutes. The driver takes a quick look and upon seeing the coolant, says it may be something as simple as a blown rad hose. Ok, blown rad hose wouldn't be too bad. Loading the car onto the bed and hauling back to the local Tire was uneventful. He seemed to have sympathy on me and since I didn't have a membership and this would be coming out of my own pocket, didn't charge me that much for the tow.

After paying the man, I walked to the corner to grab a bus home. From Sheppard and McCowan it would actually be two busses. I look at the schedule, and being after 2am, the bus is only every 45 minutes. And, I just missed one. The taxis seem to be going by about one a minute though. So I grab a cab and finally get home.

This morning I head back to the Tire where I left my car to see if they can tell me it was just a blown rad hose, replace it quick, then send me on my way. Of course it isn't that simple. When the tech finally gets out to my car after three hours of me wandering the store, (I mean, I love the place, but there is only so much to see,) he informs me it could be a couple different things.

1. Broken timing belt and/or water pump assembly. They'll have to pull the cover and check to see if that's the case. If so, they can do the work of replacing the parts all for the low low price of about $595 plus the cost of fluids. Hang on, this is the GOOD option.

2. It could be a blown engine. YIKES! That would set me back several thousand I am sure.

The worst part is that they keep asking me questions that I answer no, or don't really have an answer for:

"Has this ever happened before?"

"Have you had any problems recently?"

"Have you heard any strange noises recently?"
-From the car? No

"Was the Check Engine light on?"
-Before or after the Cloud?

"Did the car stall before it overheated, or the other way around?"
- I don't know. The temperature gauge is usually just hovering around that midway point so you get so used to that after a while that you just assume that it is hovering around the midway point or that they installed it that way at the plant and you kind of stop looking until the engine stops while at highway speed and there is a Cloud.

So now I am praying that the work on my car will cost $595! How cruel is that? Either way, I am on The Better Way for the next little while. As usual, public transit should provide many a story to tell.

All for now,


Blogger Jwe said...

Don't you love that feeling of transport trucks whipping your car left and right? You know... I can actually picture you sitting dead still in your seat. Now with a killer sore neck?

If its the engine... call Hyundai, cylnder heads shouldn't blow at your mileage... maybe they'll spring towards a rebuilt engine (Chrysler did this for our Neon, when the cylnder heads blew at 135,000km).

8/29/2005 8:26 AM  
Blogger Angel said...

And why didn't you call if you were stuck. Seriously Kef you should've called. If there is a next time (and hopefully there won't be) you better call. That's what friends are for or I'll kick your butt for not calling.

8/29/2005 8:51 AM  
Blogger The Fox Force Five said...

Thanks for linking to me yo! I'm totally blogrolling your ass. :-)

8/29/2005 10:26 PM  

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