Thursday, April 8, 2010

A Minor Car-medy Of Errors

So, maybe a month ago my engine light came on. I took it to my mechanic and was told that it was an engine misfire and that it needed new plugs, possibly a new coil and wires. Fixable, easy. However, do to some outside circumstances, I decided to put off fixing it for a couple weeks. So a couple weeks passed and it was getting near time for me to replace my tags--which meant I needed an inspection, which meant I needed to get that engine light cleared. I took it back to my mechanic, told them to replace the plugs and wires and see if that fixed it.

It didn't. Only, it took driving around for 50 miles for me to verify that it didn't (you have to drive enough to reset the monitors before they can run inspections). So I had them replace the ignition coil. Not only did that not fix it, but it brought to light another problem. The connectors for my ignition coil were loose and coming off--that was causing misfires and might, in fact, be the root of my whole problem. But the mechanic didn't have those connectors and couldn't get them. So much for getting my tags renewed on time. I'd have to go to the dealer, which I sort of needed to do anyway because there was a recall on one of my parts. Better yet, my mother and brother were planning on leaving a car with us over the weekend while they flew to Washington to visit my sister. With a little luck, I could get it fixed over the long weekend and have the means to get around in the meantime.

No such luck. I called the closest Hyundai dealer ("closest" is misleading, as it implies that any of them are close) and asked when I could get in to get this stuff fixed. Tuesday, they said. Fair enough, but in the mean time the connectors were getting worse. One in particular would shake itself loose every five or ten miles, causing multiple misfires which would start the engine bucking. So I'd have to pull off the road and jiggle the wires.

No, really.

Finally Tuesday came around and I got my car in. Hopefully, this would be a quick easy fix that could be handled while they were taking care of that recall. I got to the dealer (the wires only came loose twice during the trip) and was told that my car actually needed five recalls taken care of. Apparently the previous owner hadn't been too diligent about taking care of stuff that can be fixed for free.

They called me Tuesday afternoon--the recall-related fixes were in progress, but one of them would require a part that couldn't be obtained until Wednesday morning. The connectors were zip-tied into place (a free almost-as-good alternative to replacing an $1100 part). None of this, however, had anything to do with my engine light. That was caused by a leaking intake valve, and it would be a good idea to flush out the fuel line too, since I'd been driving with a bad intake valve for a couple weeks.

Fine. I'd leave the car with them overnight and pick it up on Wednesday.

Yesterday started out like any other Wednesday. I woke up, spent half an hour in the bathroom glued to the toilet with a trash can in front of me... actually, that's pretty unusual. I was, in fact, sick as a dog and would not be able to get into work. That pretty much foiled my plans for getting my car picked up, as I was relying on someone from the office giving me a lift down to the dealer at lunch. But it was just as well, because the dealer wanted to hang onto my car for one more day. Everything was fixed, but someone needed to put some miles on it to clear the engine monitors (see above). The guy at the dealership wanted to drive it home last night and back in the morning (he said he'd pay for gas) so he could do the inspections. I was in no condition to crawl out of bed, let alone pick up my car, so I agreed.

As this posts, I should be at the dealer picking up my car. Hopefully, nothing else has gone wrong, and I can get my tags renewed today or (at the latest) tomorrow.

When something else does go wrong, I'll write about it here!


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