That Yucky Thing I Mentioned

Friday was a gorgeous day, so we drove up the Merritt Parkway with the windows rolled down. As the day waned, it got a little chilly, so I asked Scott to close his window and I closed mine. With the windows closed, though, it started to get hot, so I turned on the air conditioner.

That was when all hell broke loose.

The first thing I noticed was that the air coming out of the vents wasn’t cold at all, so I asked Scott if he thought we might need a freon charge. I’ve never had to do that with a car, but it was the only thing that popped into my head. Unfortunately, the next thing that happened pretty much told us it was more serious than freon, because the next thing that happened was the car started filling up with smoke.

“Scott,” I said, “Is that smoke?”

“I don’t smell anything.”

“Scott, the car is filling up with smoke.”

“I’ll pull over at the next service area.”

“Scott, the fucking car is full of smoke. You need to pull over NOW.”

So he finally pulled his head out of his ass and stopped trying to pretend nothing was wrong. And it’s a good thing, too, because when we opened the hood, black smoke poured out. We called for assistance and then waited 45 minutes for no one to show up. While we waited, we talked and determined that it had to be related to the a/c, so we decided to give it a shot with the a/c off. Sure enough, no a/c, no smoke. So we finished driving to NoHo and resolved to find a mechanic the next day.

The mechanic was closing soon and didn’t have time to look at it, but based on the description, he confirmed what Mechanic Google told me: fried a/c compressor. I don’t know a lot about cars, but I’m told that’s not a cheap repair. To make things even better, the next day the car developed a rattle. I’m pretty sure that problem is the timing needing to be adjusted. I don’t think that job is too expensive, so it’s really the compressor that’s an issue.

Our car is 15 years old and has 117,000 miles on it. We knew we were going to a new one at some point, but we were hoping it could be a planned affair, not a “crap, the car costs way more to fix than it’s worth and now we need to buy a new car” affair.

The Old Man just brought the car back as I was typing this. He took it this morning to look at it. Turns out there was no oil in the car. He put in 3 quarts. Apparently, with very old cars, they burn oil fast. Scott did put in a quart just a couple of weeks ago, but he wasn’t sure then that it was enough. I guess it wasn’t. The Old Man gave me an estimate for repairing the compressor, which is a few hundred less than I expected, but he says it’s not worth it.

So a new car is definitely in our future, though the current one is still fine to drive as long as we don’t turn on the a/c and keep checking the oil. The thing is, with having to buy a new car, Scotland is almost certainly now cancelled.

And that really sucks.


6 Responses

  1. Ohh! I was hoping that wasn’t going to happen. If it really looks like you can’t go, you should think about giving yourselves DelFest as a consolation – it would be way fun to have you both there.

  2. oh no! i say drive with the windows down all summer, keep the oil handy, and make the car live for another year while you go to scotland. you could use the vacation!

  3. My old car went through oil like crazy, just keep a bunch in the car and go to Scotland! I’m never going to be able to go and I need to live vicariously through someone!

  4. You’re the best, all of you. Don’t think I haven’t put serious thought into keeping a case of oil in the trunk and not using the a/c and going to Scotland in September!

    But we were planning to buy a new car when – when, not if – the IVF finally works, because the current car is a coupe, with only two doors. Not convenient for baby seat access. So this just push that ahead of schedule.

    And Scotland is being postponed, not cancelled. That’s my story and I’m sticking to it!