Wednesday, August 08, 2007

Check Engine

It was on the drive home from work on Monday that I noticed it. The Check Engine light was staring at me. Great! Just what I need, for the car to suddenly stop while I am cruising the freeway.

I did what seemed like the normal thing to do. Turned off the stereo and listened for any strange noises. The car sounded like it was running well. All of the gauges on the dashboard were correct. Not overheating. Battery is good. Oil is fine. Well, I am due for an oil change, but that shouldn't be triggering the sensor.

Just to be sure, I popped the hood upon getting home and took a look at the dipstick. Kinda low but not engine seizing low. Stared at the engine and didn't see anything smoke or hear any hissing noise that a loose hose squirting fluid onto a hot block would cause. I closed the hood and went on inside.

See, that is about the extent of my knowledge about my car. I let a trusted mechanic take care of it. I have a guy who does a very good job taking care of my vehicles.

But that doesn't stop me from being curious. Like most people, I was off to the internet to get an idea of what the problem may be. Google to the rescue!

96 Mustang check engine light

Says there may be a valve problem or a sensor issue. Um..ok. Or it could be something like the gas cap not being on tight. Nope. Gas cap is on tight. I had gotten gas days ago and was pretty sure that wouldn't be the problem. The other thing some forums mention is that the light could have had a false alert and to disconnect the battery (negative lead only) to reset the onboard computer. Try that and if the light come back on, there probably isn't a problem.

I speak with my mechanic first and explain the situation. He tells me it is not anything serious. and I can drive the car for the next week until I can bring it in. I make the appointment because I still need an oil change and he can run it through their system to make sure there is no problem.

But that ain't good enough for me. I decide to check out this whole battery thing. Pull out a wrench and go to town. I undo the lead and pop it off. I wait about ten minutes or so (grilling some burgers as I wait) and then reconnect. I thought about firing up the engine then but decided to let the drama build until this morning.

Turn the key. All the lights go on doing their normal checks and go off one by one. Including the Check Engine light. Sweeet!

Of course, that may not mean anything. It may go right back on today when I drive home, but I got that nice feeling of accomplishment that I am going to bask in.

Yesterday I found a new commercial to annoy me. I saw it on ESPN. It is a student loan service bragging about how much they will lend you. Their commercial was beyond stupid. It mentioned how Johnny, though he got himself a laptop, a scholarship, and $6000 from his parents, would not be able to afford college this semester. How could Johnny get the money? The options- which are suppose to be funny I guess- were for him to...
  1. check the sofa cushions- WTF? I guess Johnny's isn't that bright and this company is willing to make loans to the morons of the world. If Johnny is checking a couch for cash, how the hell did he get into college?
  2. sell a kidney- Like selling an organ is the next sensible idea. If I am not mistaken, it is also illegal. Nothing like breaking the law just to afford college
  3. play the lottery- Yes, the answers to everyone's prayers. Buy lottery tickets. This option actually puts Johnny deeper in the hole and further away from affording college. Great idea!

I watched the commercial and kept waiting for the most obvious answer. No not one of those stupid loans. Tell Johnny to get a fuckin' job and pay his way through school. Tell that whiny bitch to sling some hash in the commons or stock some books. He can deliver pizzas or bartend. Why should getting a loan be the answer? Whatever happened to good old fashioned hard work?


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