Friday, October 14, 2011

Oh Sebring, You Keep My Days So Interesting..

So one of my biggest fears about the Sebring is that it is going to basically fall apart underneath me while I am driving. This is not a baseless accusation; there is precedent.

A bit over a year ago, the husband and I were traveling North by car (we travel with our pets and disdain planes) when all of the sudden, the Sebring made a clunking sort of noise, as if it had shifted into top gear just a little clumsily.

As my husband made his way to the side of the road somewhere just inside the Indiana border, I was dumbfounded and more than a little glad I was not the one driving.

"What happened?" I asked him, trying to peer over to the gauges on the dash for a light or some sort of indication of the problem. The tachometer was low. Way too low.

"The engine stopped," he said almost casually, keeping much calmer in the situation than I would have, had I been the driver.

I kid you not, I was so surprised that this is what I asked next: "Oh wow. Is the car going to stop moving now?"

"Well yeah." He was kind enough to answer without being too sarcastic, "The engine stopped. We're just coasting at this point."

I sat in silence then, marveling at the stupid things I manage to say, and watched traffic swerve around us as we pulled over to the side of I-65, on a bridge overpass.

The reason the engine stopped was that a piece of the drive shaft (or something, don't hold it against me if my car terms are wrong here) had rusted off in the engine and fallen down into the transmission. I am now going to attempt a comparison between two topics I know very little about - cars and the human body. Whatever that piece did, it was like getting food stuck in your windpipe. The body knows it needs air to keep going, but when it can't get any more, you die. Same with a car. The car knows it needs gas to keep going, but when something gets all stuck in its pipe, it dies.

Or something.

We ended up having to stay the night in the town and most of the next day waiting for the car to be fixed. The mechanics terrified us by stating it would be over a thousand dollars to drop the transmission but thankfully, they decided to try removing the piece without dropping it first and the bill was more manageable.

So yes, there is precedent. There is also the fact that a piece of the car rusted and fell off just yesterday.

I was leaving the parking lot at work, so ready to be home. As I went over one of the speed bumps - and it's fair to note, I am not a speeder over speed bumps. I slow down for speed bumps - there was a noise.

This noise could accurately be described as "what a piece of metal sounds like when it has been ripped loose from the bottom of your car due to the fact that it is mostly rust at this point."

I thought about panicking, but the car seemed to still be moving forward, so I pulled into the next avaliable parking spot and walked back to the scene of the carnage.

A little piece of metal, edges completely rusted, lay on the ground, as if accusing me of abandoning it. I hadn't the slightest clue what it was and the part of my brain that has a minor knowledge of cars decided that it was probably part of my muffler. Or maybe my transition. Or my exhaust. Exhaust and mufflers are two different things right?

I put the piece of metal on the back seat and then decided to try looking under the car. If you've never had a Sebring, you might not know that they basically are flat on the ground. I couldn't see anything.

Tentatively, I got back into the car and turned it on. It turned on, so I decided I would be safe to drive the few miles home. I was.

Later, it was revealed by my all-knowing husband that what had fallen off of the Sebring was part of a heat shield, I guess. So now my car is less protected against heat, which seems unfortunate. He assured me that it is not a vital part of the car, but I'm still feeling nervous.

It truly is only a matter of time before the Sebring gives up on life and deposits its engine on the ground while I'm trying to go up a hill.

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