May 28th, 2009

krazy koati

The love you take is equal to the love you make

So on to the car: having called last night to warn I'd be late in order to get my car up to the repair place, I set out with my father actually just a couple minutes after I'd have left for work in any case. I did have a spot of trouble getting started since the car hadn't decided overnight to give me a bit of reverse and back out of the driveway. Instead I made do with putting it in neutral and coasting out, just in time for my father to come over and start pushing. It was a tiny bit rough going forward, and almost shook me apart, but when I switched from the 'Overdrive' gear to the 'Drive' gear it smoothed out and I proceeded northward to the too-distant repair place that's the only one my father trusts.

Remarkably it took my father nearly the entire distance there to pass me; when he did, he honked twice, making me try to figure what was wrong. There didn't seem to be anything. There was. Whereas yesterday my car had given up on the whole ``reverse'' concept, I found on Route 18 that it was now giving up on ``forward'' as well, and no matter how I revved the engine or switched among the various forward-motion gears, I was just slowing down. I drifted to a stop in a Red Lobster parking lot.

On the renowned ``give it another whack'' theory, I turned the engine off for a few minutes, and started it again, and found I had forward traction again. This was promising. I turned around ready to get back into the highway, and, didn't again. It turned out I could get some forward motion on starting the car up from scratch, but not anything which would last past that. I coasted to a stop in a BP gas station and called the auto place where, it turns out, my father had just arrived. After explaining to my father three times where I was he understood, and a tow truck arrived soon enough. If the car had maybe four more miles in it I'd have made it on my own power. The place was even downhill.

As the auto place got ready to look at it, my father suggested that perhaps I should get everything out of it. In case, you know. And he was right. I'd cleared many miscellaneous bits out yesterday; today, I took out more of the core items, like the spare jacket, the books-on-CD from the library, my miniature stapler, the suction cup compass that always pointed south-to-southwest, even the window cleaner and paper towels. It was a much emptier car I left behind. My father put the suction cup compass on his windshield, where it turned many directions at what appear to be logical intervals.

The verdict came in a couple hours later: the transmission needs replacing. They can get a used one, and they'll knock a couple hours' charge off, but it still comes to about $1200. (Plus $75 for the tow, but that has to be paid in any circumstance.)

For a car with a Kelly Blue Book value of $2000 to $2400, I believe I have to say no. It's over.

Trivia: After starting the Spirit of Saint Louis's engines for Charles Lindbergh's transatlantic flight of 1927 the mechanic reported that ``she's running about thirty revolutions low, but doing as well as you can expect in this muggy weather''. Source: Famous First Flights That Changed History: Sixteen Dramatic Adventures, Lowell Thomas, Lowell Thomas Jr.

Currently Reading: The Peace Ship: Henry Ford's Pacifist Adventure In The First World War, Barbara S Kraft.