Saturday, June 23, 2007

Where There's Smoke . . .

I was driving to my day-job on Friday morning, when my 1992 Hyundai Excel developed a smoky smell and smoke or steam began to come out from under the hood on the right side. I was less than 1/2 mile from my exit so I got to the ramp but then the car died. I was able to quickly push it to the side of the road.

I opened the hood and the smoke quickly died down. I let things cool off and tried to start it again. The engine turned over but the car did not start. A closer look under the hood showed me that the coolant was low.

There was a Speedway right at the end of the ramp so I walked over, bought some coolant, came back, and poured some in the reservoir and some directly into the radiator. Still the car wouldn't start. I waited a while longer and still no luck.

I decided to walk down the street and try to find a garage. Luckily the first business past the Speedway was a Lube Stop. I described my situation and the manager on duty, Nate, said he would walk over and have a look.

We tried to start it again. We poured the rest of the coolant into the radiator. Again, the car was unable to start. Nate recommended a garage within walking distance.

I walked down there and the mechanic was on vacation in Hawaii. They did recommend another garage, much closer to my home, so I called AAA and had the car towed there.

Now I was stuck at the garage, still without a ride home. My wife was at Vacation Bible School with the kids. I called my retired brother-in-law who lived just a short distance away. He was away from home (spending the day with his grandson as I later found out).

Dean, the manager of the garage, then suggested that someone from AutoZone was about to drive over to my hometown to pick up a part for him, and possibly I could ride with him. This worked out great.

Back to the car, the initial guess is that when it overheated it blew a head gasket. Dean suggested that he may be able to fix it for around $700.

So for now I'll be delivering in my wife's 1999 Ford Taurus.

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