Monday, September 08, 2008


There’s frost on the ground outside. A thin layer of it covers my car from hood to trunk.

Apparently that means my car wants to stay put, where it is, in cold hibernation.

I have the best auto luck in the world.


That won’t make sense to some of you, since you aren’t all in on the harrowing tale that was my return trip from my brother’s wedding. Let me fill you in.

Several months ago, I decided that due to the rising cost of gasoline I needed a smaller car. So I talked it over with my dad and he found one for me. A 95 Grand Am that needed a bit of work but nothing he couldn’t manage. I was very pleased, and we planned that I would bring the Crown Vic up for the wedding, leave it behind and take the Grand Am home again.

All went well. I got a deal on the car. The wedding was beautiful. I saw family I haven’t seen for a while. On Monday, S. and I headed back home in the new, smaller car.

The engine light kept coming on but Dad said, “It’s a Pontiac. That happens.”

Finally, just about an hour south of Edmonton, the light came on and the temperature gauge started to rise. So I pulled over and turned off the car, thinking it must be the oil (see how much I knew about cars? Not much. How things have changed.). I heard a hissing noise that S. thought might be the can of pop we’d just opened – but when I opened my car door and looked underneath, I saw all of my antifreeze spraying out the bottom of my engine.

After a hefty tow bill, I got to meet some of Scott’s family (this happened in the evening so we had to stay in Edmonton overnight. Our boss was so pleased.). The next morning, Canadian Tire told me that my heater core had gone and needed to be replaced. It could be done by the afternoon. We’d only miss one day of work. It would cost me $700.00. So I bit my lip and told them to fix the car.

That was at 8:30 Tuesday morning. At 4:00, S. and I were about to blow our brains out from sheer boredom in the Canadian Tire waiting room when we were told my car was ready! They were just bleeding the air out of the cooling system and taking it for a short run to make sure it was okay! Yeay!

We cheered when we saw the car drive around the front, a cheer that quickly turned into a stunned silence when it drove straight back into the shop. “That can’t be good,” S. said. And it wasn’t. They were having a hard time getting the air out – the car was vapour locked – no, the thermostat was defective and needed to be replaced – the car wouldn’t be ready today. So at 8:30pm Scott’s uncle came and got us and we spent another night away from home. Another day’s missed work.

The next morning at 11:00, Canadian Tire phoned me and told me several things. Firstly, the car was still not fixed. Secondly, they had driven it twice until it stalled from overheating and then couldn’t be restarted, so “it couldn’t be driven.”. Thirdly, they thought the heads were blown.

One of my dad’s friends brought the Crown Vic to me and towed the Grand Am back to my dad. Finally, Wednesday evening, we were on our way back home.

My dad took a look at the Grand Am. The whole problem? A hose that is supposed to be used to bleed air from the system was clogged. The engine was vapour locked. And since they overheated it twice, the heads are gone – now. They were fine when I brought them the car, but thanks to their inept 'mechanics' I now have a very pretty lawn ornament.

A very expensive lawn ornament, at that. I spent $2000.00 on a car that I drove for 6 hours, and I am back where I started with the Land Yacht – or Old Faithful as I have re-dubbed her.

Although she won’t start today, when it’s only maybe -2 C, so maybe I’ll have to rename her again.

Any suggestions?

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