Start Your Engines!

Today I'm grateful for that phrase. For a couple of years now, my car has very occasionally been a little slow to start. I figured it was the battery, but it always got going and so never was a problem. A couple months ago I loaned the car to a friend and he said it wouldn't start once. I took the battery in and it tested fine. So figured it was just a ghost I'd have to deal with. Then, a few weeks ago, I went to start the car to come home from somewhere, and it wouldn't start. Took the key out and put it back int and all was fine. Ghost was back, but only for a moment. Last night, Jo and I were done with a movie and ready to come home from a date and the car wouldn't start at all. Battery was fine, but it wouldn't turn over at all. Ghost was teasing me now and the novelty was wearing off fast. I called my handy mechanic friend and he told me to tap on the starter. It started right up then. Diagnosis: bad starter. But only 0.5% of the time. Do you feel lucky?

So today we determined that the starter needed to be replaced, since I need to do some driving and don't want to get stuck on a late night away from home this week. After some anal-retentive research and price-matching at the auto store, I had my shiny new starter. Of course, it took me all sorts of sweat and tears to get the old one out. Why is it that they make those little electric connectors in engine wiring harnesses so dang hard to undo? Come on! My fingers are all bloody now because of them. Not to mention the bolts that were torqued down by some 900-lb sumo wrestler. Took me 30 min just to get the main bolt to come loose. The old starter tested fine on the machine at the auto store, but that was just a ruse to make me think this little exercise wasn't worth it. I wasn't falling for the bait. A couple hours later, I had all the parts put together and she fired up beautifully! No more slow starts.

And now I'm grateful for a car that starts, for an auto store that's nearby and price matches, a friend who can tell me what to fix, and the know how to get it done. I don't really enjoy working on cars, but I enjoy getting stuck even less. After having such a curse with automobiles in my family growing up, this was a small price to pay to keep the automobile karma pointed in the correct direction.

I could do without the greasy nasty hands, though.

Comments

kevandcan said…
Be sure to check your key -- we had the EXACT same problem with a friend of mine's car. Turned out it was the key...
Sam said…
Greasy hands are a badge of honor :)

It definitely sounds like it was the starter...mine went out the same way a couple years ago.

The inside of a starter is like a chimney-sweep brush (like in mary poppins) that rotates a click each time you turn the ignition. When a couple wires get bent and don't make contact with the starter, they wont spark when it's their turn (which can be one in 20 start-ups, hence the russian roulette).
Rachel said…
geaat pictures of your girls...they look like mini-Jolaynes!

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