Wednesday, March 04, 2009

Stupid Cars

Mine is sitting in the driveway with a blown head gasket.

This is what I get for telling Dad yesterday that we're doing well, that everything is in a holding pattern. The gremlins were clearly listening.

Gary (who is not a car guy) was mystified because the temperature light came on out of the blue yesterday. He checked the coolant level and it was terribly low. He refilled it and drove on without any trouble. Today it did the same thing. Kicking himself for not keeping better track of it and thinking he'd simply let it get too low, he added more, noting that the temperature gage hadn't rise above normal, it hadn't over heated, and there were no leaks anywhere, he then ran his errand, and came home. He checked again when he got home. The coolant was low. He added more.

I jumped in to take Sam to youth group and watched the light come on again. I drove it around the block and partway up the road, then watched the temperature gage climb. Apologizing to Sam because he was going to miss, I drove the car home.

I then did some googling and saw multiple possibilities listed, but the one that kept jumping out at me was a blown head gasket. The only symptom missing was that the engine hasn't been overheated. Check the oil stick, said one site. If it looks like a chocolate milkshake, you've probably blown a head gasket.

Still, Daniel and I decided to pull the oil stick and check it. As I withdrew it even Daniel had to exclaim, "What on earth?" My heart sank.

I hate chocolate.

Anyway, Gary's missing a night of work and now we've got to either rent a car or borrow one while we decide what to do this one.

Stupid, stupid cars.


jeanie said...

Ouch - you obviously weren't touching wood or tossing salt when you made the statement - darned universe should stop messing, I say.

Good luck.

Debby said...

Yikes! Too bad we did not live closer. I'm married to a car guy... What year is this car?

Mary Paddock said...

Jeanie--I have an almost reflexive fear of stating that we are okay financially. It almost seems to invite trouble. However, I also believe that there's a reason for everything.

Debby--It's a 1998 Olds Cutlass. We replaced the fuel pump on it a couple of months ago. Gary's trying "water glass" on it now to see if we can get it to go just a month or so while we scrape together enough money to either repair it or purchase something else. On the upside, he's got Daniel (16) outside with him now helping work on it. They're going back and forth between Google and the car. Kind of an unofficial "shop class".

Scotty said...

Yep, have blown a head gasket or two in my time, and depending on the make and model of the car, it's always a pain in the ass to fix- sorry to hear the bad news. What you call 'water glass' sounds very much like the 'chemi-weld' over here; you put it in the water and it hopefully seals up any cracks it finds as a temporary measure?

Pencil Writer said...

Wow! I can so relate! Our youngest daughter had the same problem a few months ago. $6000 later she has a rebuilt engine, a new starter motor and a new alternator. I pray you don't have a domino effect for your car. Hers is a 1998 Buick LeSabre.

Mary Paddock said...

Scotty--Water Glass is actually interesting stuff. It's sodium silicate and they carry it in pharmacies here (I do not know why). I'm not sure what chemiweld is; I couldn't find anything about what's in it. Water Glass is apparently a remedy that's been around for a long time.
Interestingly, mechanics, who will generally steer people away from most of this kind of "repair in a bottle" can't complain much about this stuff. Gary took the car to work last night--I don't know yet if it worked or not.

PW--Lets hope this doesn't go there. Sorry to hear about your daughter's problem. No fun at all.

Debby said...

Tim is a great believer in Oldsmobiles, believes that with attention they will run forever. We've got one with nearly 200,000 miles on it.