Monday, November 10, 2003

The moment I start feeling a tiny bit competent...

It all just come crashing down anyway.

Yesterday morning I was all set to head out with the boys to the grocery, the FPO and the Embassy. The car was dead. Seems someone didn't close a door properly or messed with a light switch leaving the indoor lights on all night.
So I called Ian to tell him I wouldn't be making it to the Embassy in the timeframe I'd planned. Then called the Shell station to have someone come out and jump the car. They did so and told me we needed a new battery. I think not, it was just replaced in June and I showed them the receipt and warranty. So they took the battery (left the car) and charged it at the station, then put it back in. All set, feeling competent, we decide to head out and drive the car a bit to make sure the battery holds its charge, and go to the Embassy.
Pull into the car corral at the Chancery to the tune of dinging bells, the Temperature light on and the Temperature gauge past the H. The car is overheating. Into a parking spot, pop the hood, the coolant is to the top of the reservoir and boiling madly. *sigh*
Ian came out with the check I was picking up, took a look at the car and succumbed to my begging him to drive the car home and drop us off at home or driving directly to the Shell, whichever the car demands. We drove along Roxas Blvd. and turn on the a/c. The temp gauge shoots back up to the H. Turn off the a/c and it works it's way down to normal. A ha!! We have a clue. Only as we continue to drive, choking on the exhaust of every car, bus and jeepney around us, the temp slowly works it's way back up, the dinging restarts and we pull over 1/2 way to home to let the car try to cool down. After 10 minutes nothing had changed so we forged on and went directly to the Shell station where we sit through one diagnostic after another. They think it has something to do with a malfunctioning fan or a relay to that fan or.. something. We pulled out the full-sized manual we'd bought in the States for just this sort of thing and eyes light up all around as the car is decribed in intricate detail in this book. The garage doesn't see Dodge Grand Caravans besides our own. Perhaps this will save gobs of time for everyone.
So we left the car at the station and took a taxi home. They called later saying there's a new part needed, they think, but that they will call around here first to see if it can be found. There's a Chrysler dealership around here somewhere, we should really find it. If the part can't be found, they will rig it so that the fan runs continuously, and the the car functions enough for immediate driving needs until we can get a part. This should be fun.
In on-line communities there are sections to write things we're pleased about (known in some places as triumphs, others as compliments) and other sections to complain about things (vents, gripes or tribulations, for example). Here are mine for the whole car thing. Gripes to me for being a complete ninny when it comes to car troubles. I can't believe how incompetent I am when faced with anything out of the ordinary from the one vehicle we have. On the flip side, Comps to Ian who was willing and able to quit work early to get us home, and then walk to the station yesterday afternoon when they called with the diagnosis.
When we buy a new car, we're getting a Toyota. Or a Honda. Or something that's not completely foreign in the foreign lands.

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