December 01, 2007

Service Engine Soon

It all started about four weeks ago. I'd planned to take my car in for a wheel alignment & balancing to try, once more, to eliminate a shake. You see, when I hit 70mph, my Mustang starts to shake.

Previously, 4 trips to NTB for new wheel bearings, brakes, shocks and struts, and a couple of other things (including alignment and balancing), failed to resolve the problem, so I gave up. This time I endeavored to bring my vehicle to STS, whom I remember previously giving me excellent service.

Then the dreaded Service Engine Soon light came on.

I've come to regard this as the Cold Weather Light, since it seems to come on every winter when we get the first cold snap. Every year it's something different: Oxygen Sensor (twice)...shit, it's happened so often for so many different reasons, that I can't remember them anymore!

So instead of going to NTB and finally resolving this shimmy, instead it's off to Pep Boys (who have the diagnostic machine and all that jazz).

Now this marks the 3rd Saturday (plus Black Friday) that my car's been in the shop for the same damn light. First time, a burned out spark plug. Last weekend, they figured it must be a bad fuel injector, which they didn't have. This weekend, we put the fuel injector in and see what happens.

Meanwhile, I've been working the usual 10hr or-so days at work, 5 days a week. The weekend being my only real time to take care of things, this means that absolutely zero X-Mas shopping has gotten done, not to mention going to NTB or doing something I actually enjoy. Instead, I've been taking long walks to-and-from the garage, and staying home to do laundry or other mundane things until I hear about my car.

I'm hoping this car makes it to next December, when I get top rate at my job and time-and-a-half, which will make a huge difference in my pay check. This means, new car for me! But now I'm starting to worry, not to mention irritated.


Blogger Rothar said...

UPDATE: I dropped the car off at 8am this morning and was told they'd have it in the shop within the hour. As usual, I left my cell phone number and walked home. Noon came and went, no word. So around 2 or 2:30 I called and was told, "We ordered the wrong part. The mechanic is still working on it, we'll call you as soon as we know anything."

Pep Boys closes at 8pm, so when 6:30 hit with no word I simply walked over (it's about a 30 minute walk).

The car was in the same spot I'd parked it in this morning, in EXACTLY the same condition; at an angle, wheels turned to the left. The car was in gear with no emergency brake, another habit of mine. And there was NO paper floor mat, as there always is when the mechanic moves the car.

The lady in the story (everyone from the morning shift had gone home) couldn't find my paperwork. But since she started at noon, she said with certainty that the diagnostic machine could not establish communication with my car's computer.

I was pissed. I explained my side of the story, basically what I'd been told about the wrong part and the fact that no one said anything to me about a computer problem at 2pm.

(I mentioned nothing about the car not being moved)

So much for Pep Boys, looks like I'm going to see the experts...the Ford dealership!

10:51 PM  
Blogger Rothar said...

The dealership wasn't able to find the problem, though they were able to confirm a cylinder misfire sets off the alarm.

My cars trouble is intermittent; I have enough experience with troubleshooting to know exactly how difficult that can be to troubleshoot, after all, we're talking about a problem that's not there when you're looking for it!

The mechanic suspects that, since the mileage is over 150k, there's a carbon buildup that's causing a valve to hang up every once in a while. So basically, I've been told to drive with it until the car runs differently.

Now, while that's not the answer I was looking for, it's far more satisfying than the runaround Pep Girls was giving me.

11:47 AM  

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