I have a co-worker who is crazy about cars. His screensaver is a never-ending succession of fancy cars whose names are never mentioned by the fast-talking salesmen on our local car dealer commercials. He probably dreams of owning one, but I look at them and think, “How safe is that little thing?” and “I’ll bet that costs a fortune to repair.”
My own chariot of fire is a 2007 PT Cruiser. I love it. It’s that special gray paint that turns silvery purple in a certain light. My license plate tells people to read books, as every librarian’s should. It is roomy and practical, and can zoom from zero to sixty in about five minutes, which makes passing other cars a real adrenaline rush. We bought it from a car restorer who had purchased it, wrecked, from a junk dealer. I kid you not. My husband is really good with cars, so he inspected it thoroughly before we bought it. I mean, we were there for hours, and I thought the guy was going to throw us out. With a few tweaks, it’s done pretty well. I just turn the music up really loud to cover up any squeaks.
Today, my little car failed me. We lost a belt that ran the air conditioner, which we knew had been fraying for a while. We were leaving church and turning onto a very busy two-lane road in Apex, NC– which has grown exponentially faster than the civil engineers ever thought it would, so the traffic is a nightmare. Waiting at the stop sign, I said to my husband, “I think that air is hot.” He replies, “Oh, no. I’m sure it will cool off as we get going.” Just then, I saw a tiny opening and jumped into it, screaming, “I have no power steering!!” I’m serious, y’all. I could hardly get the car into the lane. David casually says, “Huh. Must be the belt, then.” He had neglected to mention that this belt controlled the power steering pump, too. Several hours and much grunge later, David has it all installed except for a couple of “flat terminals.” I don’t know what that means, but apparently, it will take no time at all once David has visited the flat terminal shop tomorrow.
Here’s a strange by-product of this episode: the driver’s airbag light, which has been on for two months, is now out. We’ve been wanting to get it fixed the next time David sold a house, but it went out by itself today! So here’s the latest tip from this auto non-expert: the next time your airbag light comes on, change your a/c belt. Or maybe check the power steering.