i called and talked with someone from jiffy lube.
i know, jiffy lube is not the place i want working on my car. but they did the work that resulted in my car being broken, so i have to start with them.
the guy i talked to on the phone said that he would send someone out to pick me up so that i could get the keys to them. i figured that he had called a tow truck, but half an hour later i got a call from someone else, who couldn’t find my house (i live in a remote “unincorporated” area of king county between 5 “cities” – only 2 of which actually are cities – and i live at the end of a gravel road that you have to drive down another gravel road to get to, so i’m constantly fielding phone calls from people who have something to deliver but can’t find the place), and when i said “i assume you’re driving a tow truck” he was rather surprised and said “no, what’s wrong with the car?”
so i told him: late last night, as i was on my way home from a rehearsal in seattle, the car suddenly started making the “loose belt” noise, which was quickly followed by a thump from under the hood, the “loose belt” noise stopping abruptly, the lights going dim, and the charge light coming on. i was on the freeway at the time, and i figured (it turns out, rightly) that if i turned off the engine, i probably wouldn’t be able to get it started again, and i was on the freeway at 10:30 at night about 30 miles away from home (damn it!) so i kept on going until the car ceased moving forward, about 5 miles from home.
he said he was not driving a tow truck, but he was lost and couldn’t find my house, and he would deal with the car once he had the keys. i took three more phone calls from him over the next half an hour before i walked two blocks to the street that he said he was on – which he wasn’t – and eventually met up with him and we went to where the car died.
indeed, the serpentine belt – which they replaced two weeks ago – was completely broken and only a small bit of it remained in the engine compartment. not only that, but the other belt, which was also replaced at the same time, was in the process of coming loose as well. the guy had brought a new serpentine belt and a socket set, but i could have told him that it would not be possible to replace the belt from above, and he confirmed that he had talked with the guy who had done the work originally, who had told him that it was a difficult job, even from underneath the car.
it also turns out that the serpentine belt is attached to the water pump as well, and the fact that i drove it for 25 miles at freeway speeds with no water pump means that likely the head gasket is blown and the water pump may be frozen. as i (correctly) surmised, jiffy lube doesn’t routinely fix head gaskets or blown water pumps.
i have the lowly pæon’s assurance that jiffy lube will pay for any necessary repair, but as he is a lowly pæon, i don’t put much confidence in his word. also, because of the fact that he didn’t come in a tow truck to begin with and – get this – they “have to find a tow truck that will give us a good deal”, they won’t even have the car to the jiffy lube until “some time later today”. when i asked what that meant, he started evading my questions, not very effectively. i got him to admit that they’ll have at least a diagnosis on the car by 4:00 pm, but that doesn’t do me much good if the head gasket or the water pump is blown.
fortunately i don’t have an actual performance until friday, but i’ve got a BSSB rehearsal tonight and a BBWP rehearsal on thursday. and my beautiful art car is sitting (on county property) far away from where i am now, with who knows what going on to it that i have no control over, and i’m stressed to the breaking point! AAARRRGGGHHH!!!
UPDATE: i hit save on this post when the phone rang. it was eric, the
half-a-bee manager of the jiffy lube, who said that he had worked on the car personally, that the head gasket and water pump appear to be in working condition, they changed the oil (again?) and coolant, and charged the battery and it is currently idling just fine. he said he would drop it off to me.
while it is a huge relief, i am still going to drop it by a real mechanic, today to have it checked out to make sure there isn’t anything else wrong with it. and i’m going to think twice before i go back to jiffy lube for anything! 8/
ANOTHER UPDATE: it is now 2:30 and i’ve taken the car to a real mechanic who says that – in spite of the “check engine” light, which has been on almost ever since i first bought the car – i can “take this car anywhere”. he also suggested that i bring the car to him for oil changes, because “we’re cheaper than jiffy lube” which is another good reason to go there.
this is precisely why i invoke Ganesha, Lord of Removing Obstacles on my car: the mechanic said i was extremely lucky. he said he had driven his car and the alternator went out and he got – maybe – ten miles before it quit. i drove for 30 miles on the freeway with no alternator and no water pump, and i didn’t blow out my engine.
and the “christians” say that ganesha doesn’t exist… 8)