Thursday, June 19, 2008

I wish I had a big gun

One of the Joys of the Road Trip is car problems.  Don't worry; I got 'em.

A few months ago, I took my car in for a general check-up pre-trip, and it was released, deemed A-OK.  Shortly thereafter, it began making an alarming smell of burning, especially around the front driver's wheelwell; I took it back to the mechanic, who replaced the oil pressure switch, charged me a lot of money, and I left.

Since it was "fixed", the oil light on the dashboard started flickering occasionally, only when I was stopped at red lights; as soon as I touched the gas, it stopped.  Since it stopped, and the car was full of oil, and not really due for an oil change, I paid it no heed.  But then, on the drive between London and Kitchener, as I drew nigh to B and S's house, the oil light started flashing regularly, with some urgency.  It was a hot day though, so I thought it might have something to do with the engine overheating.  When I let the car cool down and tried it again, the flashing was gone.

Since then, after drives longer than an hour at high speeds, the oil light starts flickering at stops, and occasionally flashing.  Needless to say, I found this alarming.  I will ask for advice on what I should do, I thought.  I called my mechanic in Pittsburgh.  His response was to turn up the idle.  That didn't do anything.  So I asked a Honda mechanic friend.  He said, basically, OMG!!1!!!  Go get your oil pressure tested with a gauge in case the whole engine needs to be replaced!  That cast me into despair, until I called my mechanic in Pittsburgh again and he said the car is old (true), has a lot of miles on it (not true), and just needs oil thickener.  I called Justin, and he said I shouldn't need oil thickeners with such a low mileage, and I should take the car to a Honda mechanic for diagnostic testing.

I called a Honda mechanic here in town and described what was happening.  "Did your mechanic replace the switch with an original Honda part?" he said.  "No."  I said.  "But he said they're all the same."  "You need an original Honda switch," he said.  "Bring one in and we'll install it for you."  

I asked J what he would do.  "Repair it myself," he said.  "But parts are pretty much the same."

Sigh.  I bought the part, had it replaced, and plan to get the oil changed this weekend.  I won't be able to tell if the change in parts will make any difference until after I drive somewhere though, so I'll let you know after the workshop in Burlington.  Unless I get stuck in Burlington, and need to panhandle to make my way back across the border.  If I do, I'll post my craigslist ad requesting dollars right here.

In other news, people in Montreal sure do like to look at stuff.  I passed a big hole in the ground the other day (with a sign on it that explained the procedure for dynamiting: sharp taps, a 30 second silence, and explosion, and then stuff falling down, in case you were interested) and saw a cluster of people looking through the fence down into the hole.  On my way back to the subway via the same hole, the same people were still there looking into the hole.  We saw a car accident right in front of us on the bus the other day too; a taxi t-boned a car.  Everyone in the bus stood up and rushed over to the other side so they could watch the carnage through the front bus window (no actual carnage, except to the body of the sporty red two-door).

Then down in the subway, a guy came up and looked at me insistently.  I ignored him.  "You have a beautiful city," he said, his eyes going Helter Skelter.

"Not my city," I said abruptly.

"I'm looking for a beautiful girl like you," he said, creepily fraught.

"Right," I said, and purposefully strode as far away from him as possible.

Where's a COBRA Commando when you need one?  Doing a softshoe, apparently.

1 comment:

Purple Rose Tearoom said...

When you get your oil changed, go up one level of viscosity. e.g. if you usually use 5W30, do 10W30; if you usually use 10W30, do 10W40. I won't bore you with the details of why.

As long as you get quality parts from a reputable source, OEM is not necessary--its just costs a whole lot more. The only time OEM matters is if you're showing an antique car, in which case they take points off if your battery says "Die Hard" instead of "Motorcraft".