Ring a Ding Ding

November 12, 2012 at 5:06 am Leave a comment

Last week, due to a rattle in the car engine of my Sebring, I took it to the mechanic. He wasn’t 100% sure what the problem was but suspected the alternator. After doing some checking, he had discovered that Chrysler had seen a similar problem in their mini-vans, and the Sebring has the same alternator/same design as the Chrysler mini-van.

With fingers crossed a bit, we decided to replace the alternator.

And, so, with an appointment for this coming Friday and the car deemed likely drive-able, I began my Monday morning commute. November in Pittsburgh and it’s blue sky-sunshine gorgeous. I was clean, dressed, and on time. Traffic was light, and I had just emerged from the g.d.-stop-start-I-hate-to-drive part of my commute into the easy-breezy-I-love-to-drive part of my commute. I relaxed, I accelerated.

And it all went bat shit.

Every light on the dash came on and a bell ding-dinged, and the speedometer started bouncing like a windshield wiper. Then the speedometer flapped to zero and every light on the dash went out and the car lurched. And my heart flew up and over the first hill of a very high roller coaster.

Eyes darting for a place to pull over, brain squealing There’s no place to pull over!, it registered:   I’m still moving. I, uh, didn’t stall. Speedometer’s on zero and the dash lights are all out, but I’m moving.

And so I drove. And it settled down. The dash lights came back on. The speedometer bounced back up and stayed there.

Yes, truly, I did consider pulling over and perhaps I should have. But I was running pretty smooth. And it isn’t easy to pull over on the highway. And I was only about 20 minutes from the mechanic’s. And, if it was the alternator, I’d likely be okay if I kept her moving. And so I drove. And it happened again. Ding! Ding! Ding! Speedometer bouncing. Lights out. Car lurch. Roller coaster without the wheeeeee!

And again. And again. And again. I lost count after 20. But, hand hovering over the hazard light button, constantly on the lookout for a spot to pull over, I drove. And, each ding-ding-bounce-lurch-crap!, I was one more minute, one more mile, one more “I might make it” closer to the mechanic’s driveway. Murmuring sweet encouragement to the car, I drove. Trusting to the guardian angel clip from my Aunt Theresa, I drove. Off-the-exit, almost-there, c’mon-baby-c’mon-baby-c’mon you beautiful beautiful ba-by . . .

I made it.

Involuntarily quivering from neck to knees, fighting off the oh-no-girl-don’t-you-dare wet-blinkies, I looked at the mechanic, exhaled, laughed, and said, “It’s been a wild ride. I’m leaving her here.”

Now, the silver lining of this tale is that the lights-ding-bounce-lurch craziness confirmed for him that it was indeed an alternator problem. And he told me again about the Chrysler mini-vans, rolling his eyes, he said, “They tell me there’s no issue with the Sebring, but the Chrysler mini-van has this issue, and the Chrysler mini-van has the same alternator design as the Sebring . . . ”

So, it’s fixable. And the very nearby Enterprise Rent-a-Car, despite it being Monday, their busiest day, does have a vehicle left for me to rent. My adrenalin shifts into neutral as the nice Enterprise lady grabs a clipboard, comes around the counter, and says, “It’s right out front!”

And indeed it was. There, ready to roll, recently washed, engine running, sat my rent-a-car:   a Chrysler mini-van.

Entry filed under: Humor - Commentary.

Inspection 2012 Thankful in 2012

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