My mechanic has seen my car more than I have this week. Last weekend, I noticed that the check engine light came on. I had the error read at Auto Zone and it turned out to be a major flow problem in the emissions system. Also, when I turned the steering wheel to the right, I heard a clicking noise. Not every time, but often enough that I wasn’t going to let it slide.
The mechanic had the car on Tuesday to replace the front right CV joint, do an oil change, replace the air filter, and flush the brake fluid. I brought the car back on Wednesday to have a part replaced in the emissions system (a valve was stuck open). I had the car all of Thursday and it was much quieter. Sounded great.
Until this morning. Look ma! Smoke! Sweet smelling stinky fumes!
When I was sitting at the light to turn into work, I smelled antifreeze and noticed that there was smoke coming from the engine. I drove to my building, parked, and popped the hood on the car. The yellow-green iridescent liquid was all over the front of the engine compartment: on the inside of the hood, on the belts, battery, radiator, etc. I couldn’t determine where the leak was.
Considering that I’ve only had the car back for a day, I wasn’t happy. Granted, the mechanic had worked on the front right axle and a stuck valve in the emissions system at the back of the vehicle. The mechanics were no where near the radiator. Still, they understood that I wasn’t happy that my car was going back to them. They told me to get to the car to them via tow (yay AAA!) because driving could be Very Bad with out proper engine cooling. My AAA case number was the same amount I paid to the mechanic.
It took AAA 1.5 hours to get here from the time I called them, but that was okay since I’m at work. Within 30 minutes of the mechanics having the car, they called me back with the news. The car’s radiator was cracked in two places along the top so it has to be replaced. The mechanic who inspected the vehicle was very impressed that the radiator was a factory part. It’s highly unusual for a plastic radiator to last for 300k miles, apparently.
Time to start looking at a newer car…