So, now I had a satisfactory explanation for the catastrophe. I made a mistake. Bad luck, and the only lessons to learn are –
- Check for a stuck gasket (or other foreign object) lodged in the aperture before installing a new oil filter
- Or – Don’t change my oil myself. Pay a qualified professional (facepalm)
A thought – my dashboard has every imaginable alert. “Check your gas cap,” “your tire pressure sensor is not functioning,” “your trunk is ajar,” etc. Why is there no “You have no oil in your car! Pull over immediately! Catastrophic failure eminent!”
But I guess that’s none of my business.
I called around for prices on replacing my engine. All the hybrid shops insisted on only installing a new or certified refurbished engine, and the rough price range was somewhere between $10k-$30k.
Nope. I got a great deal on my car for around $6k, after driving my last car into the ground.
With some help I found a used engine with 50k miles on it for $1k (including delivery) and the local mechanic in my village would install it for $2k. That I can live with. It was still a $3k mistake though. In all fairness, $3k buys a lot of overpriced oil changes (and everything in California ranges from mildly to outrageously overpriced).
This was actually a huge victory because I was able to wrap up all of these arrangements the day before Mate and I headed out of the area for three weeks.
So, the night after our return and with my car still out for repairs, I had to borrow my dad’s Ford Escape to go grocery shopping. Upon returning, after loading the groceries into our ancient and abused off-road-only Suburban to take up to our place, I returned the car to its parking place up the sloped driveway.
Mate hopped into the Suburban, and I walked to the door of the house to let my mom know that we were going home. While standing at the door I heard Mate cry out my name. I looked over and watched the Escape accelerating down the driveway in her direction. I shouted to her to get back into the Suburban.
At this point I should note that over 40 years this is the third time that, for one reason or another, a car has rolled down this driveway.
The first time when I was a child, my mother was getting out of her car when it popped out of gear, and she and was knocked to the ground trying to re-enter. All this happened right outside me window late at night, and her scream and the sickening crash of the car slamming into my father’s work truck was horrifying. Fortunately she only twisted an ankle and suffered some bruising.
The second time was when my younger brother and I were teenagers. My idling 1965 Rambler Ambassador ran out of gas while parked behind the house, so I put the kid behind the wheel and gave it a push. The idea was that he would step on the brakes and guide the car to the end of the property (where we kept some gas in can)s. But the car had no power brakes, and he couldn’t get it to slow down. I remember his look of surprise and fear as he looked back and forth between me and his foot on the brake pedal as the car accelerated down the driveway in reverse. After steering a weaving course and amazingly avoiding every obstacle, he had slowed almost to a stop, before gracefully backing off the steep 30′ embankment, depositing the car snugly between two oak trees. Again, he mercifully escaped injury (although I found him sitting in the back seat when I arrived).
So, as my father’s car hurtled towards my partner in the dark, the feeling I experienced was sickeningly familiar. “NOT AGAIN!!!”
Incredibly, the car missed the Suburban entirely before sailing clear off the embankment at terminal velocity – directly toward my old Class B motorhome parked below. (The one I had just gotten to pass smog in preparation to sell).
Now, it rests completely inverted, without a single shattered window, and somehow just barely kissing the side of the Falcon.
The daily stone –