Friday, January 26, 2007

I Almost Killed my Car

You know how it is. Busy. Working 50 miles away. Mechanic closed on weekends. Before long, that oil change you were supposed to get just didn't happen. And it didn't happen again. And again.

Yesterday, halfway to work, Hedwig started clicking. Have you ever taped a playing card to your bicycle so it would click in the spokes? That's the sound my car was making. It wasn't a problem with the axle, it still clicked when not moving. It seemed to be louder and faster the more RPMs. I don't like my car clicking, so I called the mechanic and arranged to drop my car off last night and I'll get it after work today.

My dad said it was probably a 'valve lifter,' whatever that is. And I mentioned that I didn't remember when I last changed the oil, so dad said it might be low on oil.

The prognosis? It was low on oil. Less than a quart, actually. You know how coffee burns if you leave the carafe on the burner with just a tiny bit of coffee in it? If you don't it's super disgusting, the coffee gets all burnt and sludgy. That's the mental image I got when the technician was telling me what my car's engine looked like. The click was the valves, rubbing from lack of lubricant. Burnt oil is all over the engine (I guess that's more like in the engine, or under it, or something), but they were able to clean out some vital parts.

Yes, this was all due to my lack of oil change. My car hit 101,000 miles yesterday. Do you want to know when the last oil change was? Oh, it pains me to report this, I'm so much better at taking care of my vehicle than this. It was in the early 90,000 miles when I last had it done.

Today's advice: NEVER DRIVE 10,000 MILES WITHOUT AN OIL CHANGE!! If I pushed it any longer, I could have locked the engine. I just paid it off!! :.(

My car will live. My mechanic will yell at me. I'll counter with "that's what happens when you don't give me a sticker!" And I will concede. My car drives more than 1000 miles a month. I predict that early March we'll be due-up for another change.

And Hedwig has earned herself a nice bath and some expensive premium gas for this. I'm sorry, Hedwig! It won't happen again!

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