Monday, September 19, 2011
My Car is Getting Old
I was reminded this weekend of my Dad. It’s kind of too bad that something unpleasant like my car falling apart made me miss him; but he was always there to help me deal with life, and life can often be a pain in the ass. Oil changes, check engine lights, tax returns, odd transmission behavior... these were things my Dad taught me about.
The other day I was on my way to go buy canning supplies. I got about three-quarters of the way to my destination when my car started to stall out when I was accelerating. Past experience told me this was likely a transmission problem. I’m no mechanic, but I will say that I’m pretty good at identifying common car troubles by feel and sound. My first car had a transmission that leaked like a sieve, so I know what it feels like to suddenly realize you’re low on fluid.
I got home, popped the hood, and checked my fluid level. To my dismay, the dipstick indicated that I had a dangerously low amount of fluid. The only way you lose fluid levels in automatic transmissions is through a leak, and I had no clue that I had a leak. Therefore, I have no idea how long I’ve been low on fluid or if any permanent damage has been done. I keep thinking about how we took this car up the Sandia Mountains last weekend, I am so glad it didn’t break down that night. Anyone that might have rescued us was in my car. A transmission fix will cost more than my car is worth, and I’m not exactly rolling in dough with my stipend.
At any rate, I’m kicking myself for not keeping a closer eye on my car. I know better than to not check under the hood occasionally. I checkout out a few other things while I was at it and I’m also low on power steering fluid, but unlike the transmission, that won’t leave me stranded somewhere. I already figured that would be low, given the whining noise I’ve been hearing for months now.
So Matt and I made a Pep Boys run yesterday to get transmission fixer and some more fluid. I’m terrified of overfilling the transmission in my desperation to get the stuff back in there. Everything I’ve read from the internet and my owner’s manual indicates this can be as bad as not having enough fluid. In the mean time I’ll need to the car out on a short ride so that I can check the level when the engine is hot, and then add fluid little by little until it looks good. And from now on I’ll check it every month. Sorry Dad.