Tuesday, 3 November 2009

Year 2 Day 34: Somethin' Smokin' Underneath the Hood...

And to carry on with a Julie Roberts favourite (from Break Down Here)..."it's a bangin' and a clangin' and it can't be good..." Which is exactly what my little Corsa was doing the past couple of days. It hasn't been uncommon in the past for this car to overheat a bit when sitting idle in traffic, but the fan would always come on at just the right time and cool everything down. When this stopped happening, "Mr. Fix-it Hubby" decided to have a gander under the hood only to discover it was guzzling water like no other. He went to tighten a loose plug feeding to the overflow and it was so brittle that it snapped right in his hand -- not good. This resulted in the car not only overheating, but then spitting water onto the hot engine when it was doing so, thus causing lots and lots of steam under the hood and making ominous popping, cracking and fizzing noises shortly into the second leg of a 20-minute, round-trip journey.

This is not something you want to hear when you and your husband had just taken his car off the road for a month (by not renewing the car tax) to save on fuel and leaving yourselves with one car between the pair of you (the only car you can reach the pedals on, mind you) -- especially when this remaining car was threatening to go on mobility-strike. In theory it made sense, when we formulated this brilliant master-plan, that I could simply take him to work on a morning and just be dressed and ready (with father-in-law's trusty SatNav) in case one of the agencies called me for work as well. The Corsa costs much less to fuel up each week and gets better gas mileage at the end of the day. Eliminating this second car altogether would cause an even bigger dilemma, so when it started throwing this fit, we knew we would need to look into the least expensive option to fix it.

My auto mechanic expertise ranges from changing a flat or brake-pads and probably ends with changing the spark plugs and filter. Matt on the other hand is pretty confident when it comes to diagnosing the problem and getting right in to fix it himself if he feels fairly confident he can do it -- so here's the story where dear husband gets to play the hero.

He says simply that we need to get a new expansion tank and calls around today to find one. He instructs me where to go to get it and says it will only cost £5 altogether. SCORE! I think we can wrangle that out of the budget. So I picked up the part (after fighting my pregnancy-brain filtering the directions he gave me to get there) and headed straight for his work to pick him up. The car's temperature guage was well into the red by this time, despite my pleas to stay below 100. After a quick refill on water, we made it back home safe and sound with very little daylight remaining. Never fear, this is where the hero came in...

He set up his lamp shortly after returning home and got to work straightaway. The man was easily at it for two and a half hours, people! That is sheer determination. Tea had been in the oven nearly 30 minutes before I decided to bring him a nice, hot coffee and he informs me it's all sorted now and he's ready to start the car and test it out. And just like that the car starts, the expansion tank is functioning and this time NOT losing water!! HALLELUJAH!

True...the real test will be when I take Matt the 4 miles to work and back in the morning, but it's still reassuring to know a bigger problem and rather expensive auto-repair/labour cost has been potentially averted for the time being. Now let's hope the calls for supply-work for me start pouring in again!

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