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23 February 2014 @ 09:00 pm
Also: Three cheers for the check engine light  
My check engine light came on, so I made an appointment at Firestone. While I was at it, I planned to have my tires rotated (which lately I've been having done when I get my oil changed, because I don't have to make an appointment and it costs less) and a turn signal light replaced.

It turns out that the engine light is caused by an efficiency issue in the catalytic converter. I can get that fixed soon, after payday. (I do need to get it fixed soon, not only for the sake of the environment, but also because leaving my check engine light on means I wouldn't know if something *else* went wrong.)

But getting my tires rotated turned up that both my right side ball joint and my left side tie rod were dangerously close to failure. He showed me both parts, and there should NOT have been that much free movement in either. Now that they've been replaced, I realize just how sloppy my steering had gotten. Frog in hot water, methinks.

I think I'll be paying the extra to get the tires rotated and aligned at Firestone, appointment issues notwithstanding.
browngirl on February 24th, 2014 02:34 am (UTC)
Hooray for the check engine light, and your good sense!
Janet Miles, CAP-OMjanetmiles on February 24th, 2014 10:14 pm (UTC)
Thank you! I had sort of noticed the car tending to pull to the right, but thought it was just that I needed a rotation and alignment. When he came out and said "tie rod and ball joint" I about dropped my jaw on the floor.
Curious Stuffonelargecat on February 24th, 2014 07:40 pm (UTC)
I hate the check engine light! haha. Mine has some problem and it comes on and stays on for months. And you're right, it means if something were to actually go wrong, I wouldn't know it. But this has been a problem for a few years, and I have had it checked out by mechanics three times (my trusted one two different times a couple years apart, and the Honda dealership, who at first laughed at my saying my mechanic couldn't figure it out and implied he was just incompetent, and then it turned out THEY also could not figure it out and suddenly they weren't so fucking smug anymore). They cannot figure out what is causing it to go on. It stays on more than it goes off, but once in a while for a few weeks it will go off. I always cheer silently when that happens. Sometimes not so silently.
Janet Miles, CAP-OMjanetmiles on February 24th, 2014 10:14 pm (UTC)
"They're called idiot lights not because you are an idiot, but because they are stupid. They tell you something is wrong, but not what." -- Lou, the service manager at Firestone
starcat_jewelstarcat_jewel on February 25th, 2014 07:11 am (UTC)
My check engine light has been on for months. Russ thinks he knows why, but there hasn't been time for him to work on it. And until it's fixed, I can't get the car inspected. Oy.

OTOH, he did get the leaking steering rack replaced, and that was an all-day sucker. So I'm not complaining... much.
Janet Miles, CAP-OMjanetmiles on February 28th, 2014 04:01 pm (UTC)
Oy, indeed. Good luck!
A monstrous rambling: Books primarybibliofile on February 26th, 2014 10:45 am (UTC)
Mechanics that catch significant wear before it causes a serious problem? Priceless.
Janet Miles, CAP-OMjanetmiles on February 28th, 2014 04:02 pm (UTC)
Agreed. I would rather spend the money to get the car fixed than have to spend the money to get me fixed after my wheels fell off.
Johnjohnpalmer on February 27th, 2014 06:34 am (UTC)
The frog bit does happen frequently. I once drive my ex-wife's car and wanted to yell at her - the brakes had *way* too much travel and *far* too little stopping power - but I realized by the time I got home that braking issues are like that - you'd just keep adjusting without thinking - the travel increased by tiny bits at a time, and stopping power would also decrease by tiny measurements at each stage.

But OMG is it good that she was generally a careful driver.
Janet Miles, CAP-OMjanetmiles on February 28th, 2014 04:03 pm (UTC)
Careful driving is a goodness. Having someone else drive the car occasionally to catch things like that might also be a goodness *wry grin*.