Friday, September 24, 2010
"Hi Chris. This is Roger from Lucky Lugnut's Auto Repair. I have a bit of bad news for you."
"Great. What's up?"
"Well, I found the leak. It's being caused by a pressure build-up in the transmission that forces the fluid out through the fill pipe. I'm going to have to refer you to a specialist."
Suddenly I was imagining a surgical team led by Dr. Derek "McDreamy" Shepherd working feverishly to repair the damaged transmission fluid arteries or whatever.
"A specialist?" I asked Roger. "What's that gonna cost me?"
"Hard to say. Best case about $750. But if the transmission needs to be replaced, it could run a couple grand."
That's when I came up with Plan B.
I took the piece of crap (due to potential litigation I'm not at liberty to tell you what kind of car this was, but I'll give you a hint . . . it rhymes with "bored florist") to our local Carmax and traded it in for a lovely 2008 Chrysler Sebring.
The Chrysler is awesome. Since it's a newer model, there are none of the problems that I had with the Bored Florist. No leaks, no weird rattling noise from the back end. I was enjoying complete automotive peace of mind.
For about a month.
A few nights ago, Theresa and I were on our way to the movies when I heard a "ding" and noticed that one of the dashboard lights had come on. It looked like this:
I had no clue what this light meant. The "low fuel" light looks like a gas pump, the "check engine" light looks like an engine, but this? It looks like a harp. Or a horseshoe. At first I didn't get all worked up about it because the car had been running fine. But when I took a second look at the warning light, I noticed the exclamation point right there in the center. An exclamation point! Certainly, the Chrysler Motor Company wouldn't use such a dramatic symbol unless something was terribly, horribly, about-to-cause-the-vehicle-to-burst-into-flames wrong. We would have to get this taken care of at once!
Or maybe it could wait until after the movie. We left the theater at about 9:30 and I started the car.
"Hey! The light's not on anymore!" I said.
"Oh, cool," said Theresa. "Must've just been -"
"Crap, the light's back on."
I drove home and logged on to chrysler.com, where I was able to download the Owner's Manual for the 2008 Chrysler Sebring. As it turns out, the light on my dashboard indicates that the air pressure in one (or more) of my tires has fallen below the recommended level.
Seriously? There's a "check the air in your tires" light? You ask me, this is a waste of electricity and a major pain in the ass. What next, a "turn down the radio" light? A buzzer that goes off when the drink in your cup-holder is running low?
I checked the tires, and what do you know, there was a nail in the left rear. The tire wasn't flat, but apparently the car noticed the slow leak.
The next day, I replaced the two rear tires because, as my dad once said, never replace one tire at a time because the tire guy has a couple kids in college and needs money for their tuition. Or something like that. Is it just me, or does it seem like tires cost a lot more than they should?
I picked the car up at America's Tire Center, and sure enough, the light was no longer illuminated.
Now if you'll excuse me, I have to go buy one of those scented pine trees. The "check air freshener" light just came on.