Brief Note – Of Cars and Mechanics

Replace the timing belts, regular maintenance, not a problem….


Hopefully now have that fixed after the third try.  Which apparently involved much tinkering, temporarily taking a wheel off, and who knows how much swearing.

Oh, and a new battery, when the old one was maaaaybe only a year old? Sheesh.

But under the hood is no longer screeching when the car’s started, so… hopefully good?


45 thoughts on “Brief Note – Of Cars and Mechanics

  1. I can beat you there! Apparently Kia minivans are so hard to change the oil in that the *Kia dealers* can screw it up.

    We found that out while going 70 when we heard a “thump”….

    Liked by 2 people

  2. Well, everyone besides the Subaru dealer missed the fact that my car is leaking oil. But they were incredibly happy to tell me about all of the myriad things that are wrong with my car. *thump*

    Liked by 2 people

    1. We were told that the air filters needed to be changed because they were “dirty.”

      And they’d do it for basically $200, plus parts.

      1) It took me half an hour, including watching multiple youtube videos for the engine filter.
      2) The cabin filter was half eaten by either squirrels or rats. Either there are REALLY fast rodents in this area, or they didn’t check the filter at all.
      3) The engine filter didn’t actually look very dirty.

      Liked by 3 people

  3. Don’t talk to me about car problems. So, in my life, I was driving a stick shift at 6:30 am, got a red light, slowed, and now I know my transmission went out. I managed to limp along about three miles to my destination, went to my very early class, and told my mother the car wouldn’t start, and got a ride to high school. She called me to chew me out for not staying to help her drive it over, and then again to apologize when she realized that it wouldn’t turn over even a little. In my defense, I was the fifth person, minimum, to learn how to drive a stick on it. I had my first experience hydroplaning in that car and put myself in a ditch as the best of bad options, and cracked the axel. My dad was on a business trip to Vegas and my mother was visiting him, but a family friend was driving by and was able to take me and my autistic brother home. The cops called because they had to tow the car and I had to do my nonsocial skilled best to dance around the fact that my parents were in Vegas because I felt that made them look irresponsible.

    Same car, few months later, I was coming home from a late night class, and had my first experience with a tire blowing out. Pro tip, it’s almost exactly like hitting a deep pot hole. And there was the time I was driving a car and had something really weird go down as I was turning into the drive way. Took it to the mechanic, turned out the timing belt working at all was a miracle straight from heaven because there were spots where it was missing at least six teeth on the belt. And if anyone has a gas tank at home, rotate that gas because it goes bad and really messes up your car. And yes, that is bitter, bitter experience.

    See, this is why my sisters don’t let me drive their cars.

    Liked by 3 people

  4. Both my mom and my sister have been driving when the engines have caught on fire. Yes, it happens(one was a tuneup before a long trip, they left the cap off the oil….My sister wound up suing them) The other one, the timing belt, which we had scheduled to look at two days after this, shredded and caught on fire.

    I’ve had the gas pedal fall off while I was driving. (Yes, seriously. The first tow truck company I called hung up on me for a prank call.) Thankfully, the road was pretty empty and I got to a safe spot, but was still a “oh my g_” moment.

    Liked by 2 people

  5. Never really had severe car issues (except this one time something went wrong with the water pump but insurance covered basically everything and this other time I drove into a tree) but I am about to finish paying for my first car and I live convinced that some freak-of-nature event is going to happen and completely total my car.

    Liked by 2 people

  6. I have mystery lights! Specifically, the electrical system in my car is wonky and so sometimes dashboard lights (like the “check engine” light) will come on at random and can take anywhere from less than a minute to over half an hour to go “oh! Right, okay, false alarm.” Jiminy Christmas.

    Liked by 2 people

  7. On my previous car, the air conditioning compressor has frozen twice, breaking the serpentine belt each time.

    The first one was the original equipment and the car was up to 190k miles at the time, so that was fair enough.
    The second one was a refurbished replacement that died after less than 2000 miles, so the lesson here is “don’t buy refurbished AC compressors.”

    Thankfully, the car is capable of running without the AC looped in on the serpentine belt.

    I’m selling the car as soon as I can anyway.

    Liked by 2 people

  8. Getting the geometry right so that the suspension works, and so it handles well when you steer at different speeds is interesting. Makes you appreciate competent and honest engineers. Competence and honesty are not things you should take for granted.

    The influence of government regulation on automobiles has some interesting aspects. Emissions requirements were passed, so they put computerized controls on all the engines. Automobile designers by and large are not IT, infosec, or bleeding edge electronics developers. The costs of changing the electronics might be pretty high, not something you do just because. Now we’ve got some pressure for self-driving cars. If the government requires such, how many people are going to just integrate the new tech with the computer architecture they are already using? Good IT security has to start from the foundation, it isn’t something you add at the end of the project. What level of security is appropriate for a self driving car, and what would we be getting?

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Car Talk has a database of common and somewhat uncommon car sounds and descriptions of what causes them. If you can find a match there, then 10 to 1 you found the culprit.

      Liked by 1 person

  9. Car Talk.

    I know next to nothing about cars. But what I do know, I learned from Click and Clack the Tappit Brothers. If you’re looking for a way to kill an hour, their show ain’t a bad way to do it.

    …and if you’re looking for really bad puns, check out their “staff list” which is comprised of nothing but.

    Liked by 1 person

  10. Hmm… worst one I ever had was the engine on my first car (which had been my mother’s before me, and my aunt’s before her) that needed *complete overhaul* by the time it hit 150k miles. As in, new heads, reboring the cylinders… it would *almost* have been cheaper to buy a whole new engine. And this engine was in that weird transitional timeframe between carburated engines and EFI, and as such had this weird “hybrid” setup that required a special $300 electronic module that would burn out if your distributor cap was even slightly off, and had to be “tuned” by a mechanic with special gear after my father and I spent an entire summer rebuilding the engine from the block up. Said mechanic left the distributor loose and caused me to burn through FIVE of those modules in the next few months before we figured out what the issue was.
    My father, a master mechanic and all-round Mr Fixit, once had the main pin in his steering assembly shear through… with no warning… at speed on a main road… during rush hour. 55mph+ in traffic with NO CONNECTION between the steering wheel and the front wheels — is it time to panic yet? He got lucky, the whole thing ended okay (it drifted to the right under panic braking just enough to leave him on the shoulder, instead of the opposing lane), but talk about a moment with a high pucker factor.
    Aside from that POS first car, I’ve always had mostly good luck with my vehicles, due in large part to careful regular preventative maintenance. But one time, I was on a field assignment (night shift) and had my AC pump bearing die in a fashion I’ve never seen or heard of before or since: the clutch ring came loose and began flying around the drive shaft like a hula hoop, driven by the serpentine engine belt. But the pump was so close to the side wall of the engine compartment that the ring was slamming against the body panel at roughly the engine RPM, making enough noise to raise the dead… in South Chicago… at 2AM… on a Saturday. Oh, and did I mention the seized pulley was slowly burning my belt to ash? *That* was a $1000.00 repair bill. OTOH, *that* engine went to 300k+ miles and still didn’t burn a lick of oil before I traded it in (couldn’t get parts for the passenger cabin anymore), without ever requiring any other substantial repairs, so I can’t complain *too* much.
    The time I stopped at a red light and had a high-voltage power line fall next to me doesn’t count as a *car repair* story, though, since it didn’t actually *hit*….

    Liked by 1 person

  11. The first car I got as a working man was one my father brought me – an *1985* Mitsubishi Lancer my dad got me for like 300 euros. The damn thing had only four gears, howled like a banshee at highway speeds, and had absolutely no indoor heating of any kind. It lasted me about six months before it developed a sneaky oil leak somewhere, which lead to the engine seizing onthe highway. I had just about time to go ‘Gee, that’s a new noise, kind of a meta-on-metal chafe-‘


    The crankshaft seized, and when it did, it seized hard enough to shear itself into three separate pieces.Enormous ‘thud!’ from under the hood, an impressive cloud of steam, one very startled me coasting to a halt on the shoulder of the highway. Lucky I wasn’t in a huffy anywhere.

    Morale of the story, check your damn oil.. and try and get yourself a car from this millennium..

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Transmission things are “fun”.

      I was once driving down the highway on my way back from a lovely weekend at the lake, when I heard a metallic scything noise from the engine compartment, followed by a thud, and the car dropping out of gear.

      I’m not exactly sure what happened in the transmission, but it definitely required replacement.

      Liked by 1 person

  12. It occurs to me, based on the responses to this post, that car trouble stories might be almost as good a conversation starter as asking people about their pets.

    Liked by 1 person

  13. You know, ridiculous plot bunnies always start to pop up when I hear the term “timing belt.” I mean, what if people had a mechanism inside them that affected their timing . . . something like their fate. What would happen if their mechanism broke? Or alternatively, you could have a sci-fi time transportation built into the shape of a belt, and people called it a “timing belt” as a joke? I don’t know, I just find the term interesting.


    1. My timing belt is mildly defective but hooked up to my similarly damaged “what to say” system– I say the worst thing juuuust before I figure out I really shouldn’t, unless it’s something so insanely obvious that even I can notice the ten guys standign there waiving signs saying “ROAD OUT.”

      Liked by 1 person

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