I've been posting a bunch of serious stuff lately. I've realized that my blog is pretty new and I want to attract readers before I drive them away. So here's something that we can all relate to: Car Troubles.
I drive a 10-year old Dodge Grand Caravan, lovingly nicknamed "The Shed" by it's previous owners. On Monday, I was driving somewhere when the "Check Engine" Light came on. I wasn't worried at the time. On my way home a few hours later, I became worried because The Shed was griding gears and running roughly double it's normal RPMs (I think it peaked at 4.5kRPM, despite my ginger driving) when I tried to go over 40 MPH. I noticed that it only seemed to change to first and second gears, which led me to think that The Shed was suffering from transmission trouble. When I got home, I noticed a puddle under the pavement where I had parked. A check of the transmission fluid showed that it was practically empty. That wasn't good.
So I went to Wal-Mart, which happened to be the only place open at the time that sold transmission fluid, bought a few bottles and poured one into the appropriate spot. I drove it around a 5-minute loop from my house, hoping that the new fluid would "lube up" the transmission and all would be well. No such luck. I had to get to work the next day, so I did what any self-respecting hacker would do: I threw a spare bottle of transmission fluid in the back seat and drove to work the next morning without leaving second gear.
That was Tuesday. On Wednesday, with the situation not magically resolving itself (which, in retrospect, it never does), I took the car to an Aamco and carpooled the rest of the way to work. The guy who took The Shed said that he owned another '99 Caravan and had about twice as many miles on his. He suspected a sensor malfunction had put the transmission into "limp mode," a sort of safe mode to protect it from damage by limiting the car to second gear. By midmorning they had discovered that a sensor had indeed overheated and burned out and suspected that replacing it would fix my problems. By lunchtime they reported that replacing the sensor had indeed fixed the problem, but my transmission was still leaking fluid and would overheat and blow the new sensor if the leak wasn't fixed. I gave them the go-ahead to fix the leak. Around 4:00, they called to say that it was all ready to go. At 5:15, I was happily driving The Shed back home. Thanks to Bill at Aamco who was able to fix it in less time (one day) and for less money (under $1k) than I had thought possible. Viveat Shed!