Saturday, September 02, 2006

More fun with the Cygmobile

UPDATES - see below

The following is a sequel to this stirring prose.

On Thursday, I noticed that the Check Engine light came on on the Cygmobile's dashboard. Knowing that this could be something semi-serious, I made an appointment to have it checked out by our local mechanics on Tuesday, after the holiday (which isn't a holiday for me).

I also noticed that the fuel economy was starting to worsen. That could be why the light came on; I'll have that checked too.

This morning, I noticed that the battery light was flashing on. If you recall from my story above, I got a new battery installed only weeks ago. Next thing I knew, the car started losing power big-time. Eventually, it stalled altogether. I tried to make a run for Sears, but failed. Turns out that the alternator had died; that's what it often means when the battery light comes on.

So I had a tow truck take me and the Cygmobile to Sears, where they proudly told me, in as many words, "You're screwed." They wouldn't touch it until Tuesday, whereas I had to work both Sunday and Monday.

I then called my mechanics and had the Cygmobile towed to their garage, where it should have gone in the first place. Not only will they replace the alternator today, they'll also change the oil and rotate the tires. I lvoe this place, and I say *hock ptui* to Sears' auto shop forever.

Well, it'll cost me a few extra bucks for that second tow, but I don't mind that it cost to learn this truth: A good mechanic is hard to find.

UPDATE: Aarrgghh. After tearing my engine apart to get to the silly alternator, my mechanics found that the replacement alternator . . . was defective. :-( So the Cygmobile will indeed sit until Tuesday. But I'd rather have it there than at Sears just the same. Now, how to afford this?

Blessings to the lovely and talented Rona for riding me in tomorrow.

UPDATE 2: Double aarrgghh. They tore the engine apart again today (Tuesday), awaited the new alternator, and found that . . . it was the wrong one. And apparently there isn't another alternator for my vehicle in the whole town. So one is being overnighted. They say the Cygmobile will be ready by tomorrow morning. It better, or I have no way to get to work!

UPDATE 3: It's done . . . it's done. And we are $700 lighter. Half of that was the alternator itself! Apparently not all Ford Foci (plural of Focus, right?) take the same alternator. They also replaced the serpentine (makes me think of Alan Arkin in "The In-Laws") belt that goes around everything, so that's one less thing to worry about in the future.


SeasonedRefinement said...

Isn't it amazing how grounded you feel without your own car? I always appreciated those kind souls who helped me out when the car wouldn't start, but, boy did I hate having to rely on people.

I feel for you Cyg...I really do. Waiting for the mechanic to tell you how much this is going to cost you can be worse than relying on other people to drive you to work. We've all been there: "how am I going to pay for this?" You'll do what we all do...put the phone company off, or maybe just pay a portion of the utility bill, or maybe this is a good week to forego grocery shopping and pretend you want to start Slim Fasting - one can of powder and a gallon of milk will makes lots of meals for $7 (I'm kidding....). Unless, of course, you are one of those responsible individuals who actually makes regular deposits in your savings account, lol.

When you think of how often these vehicles actually start up, whether it's in a heatwave or an ice storm, and how they safely (and in reasonable comfort) get us miles and miles from home - and then back again - well, they're not so bad after all.

I don't care how modest our cars have been (and we even named one "P.O.J.", said with a French accent, which stood for Piece of Junk, lol), IMO, they're always, always, preferable to public transporation.

You'll be tearing up the road in no time...and then it will be time for new tires. Start saving........