Monday, August 11, 2014

I am the Automobile Exorcist

Last night we got back from California after a week full of family, fun, and sand in awkward places. Also, I barfed in the Pacific Ocean, so there's one less thing on my bucket list.

Beach bummin'

About an hour and a half into our 24-hour drive home, three warning lights lit up on the dash, included the potential omen of doom: the check engine light. We pulled off the highway and found the closest mechanic while I flipped through the owner's manual and Googled the symptoms (the vsc light, trac off indicator, and check engine light for those interested). We'd just filled up with gas, so I was hopeful that the forums proclaiming it a potential temporary glitch in the gas tank/oxygen sensor/toyota witchcraft mechanism/or whatever were correct. But Nathan wasn't as willing to continue driving 1500 miles on hope, so we had the mechanic plug in his diagnostic thingy into the car.

Six hours straight of movies on the iPad? Huzzah!

The dreaded Code P0025! Meaning some camshaft sensor was retarded (that's literally the term used). The mechanic said he couldn't work on it until Monday, and that it was bad. I Googled some more, and was inspired by more accounts of P0025 being a temporary clog in some teeny, overly-sensitive hipster filter. I'm an optimist!

Nate's a realist, so we set out to find another mechanic. There was one across the street, but a quick Yelp search revealed bad reviews, so we pulled out of their parking lot about five seconds after pulling in (I love smartphones).

This was later in the trip, when I turned into an orc after consuming Graham's weight in MSG in the form of Ranch-flavored Corn Nuts.

Meanwhile, in the car ...

Graham: What are we doing?

Nate: We're going to look for another mechanic. Mom's afraid this one will break our car.

We tried another place down the road, but it was closed for the weekend, so we turned back around to try Shady Mechanic, reviews notwithstanding.

Shady Mechanic wouldn't even plug his diagnostic thing into the car unless we paid $65. Sheesh, California, hadn't I just sunk enough money into your economy (cough Seaworld)? Stop being so greedy! Shady was pretty put out that we were put out about paying for him to do something the guy across the street had done for free ... maybe this was augmented by Graham emerging from their bathroom and declaring, "My mom said you are going to break our car!" Gah.

So we went in search of yet another mechanic ... found another one, also closed ... so we continued driving around aimlessly, getting frustrated, when I remembered the story of Mary Fielding Smith (Mormon pioneer whose oxen fell ill and were healed through a priesthood blessing). You might think this is when I suggested softly to Nathan that as a family we bow our heads in humble prayer to petition God to heal our minivan, but instead I decided to be a dork and placed my hand on the dash in a most solemn joke, and intoned with mock severity, "I command the evil spirits in this van to depart!"

Then I looked at the dashboard. The three warning lights were off.


There are three explanations:
1. I am a mechanical exorcist
2. God has a sense of humor
3. The clogged hipster filter decided to get over itself

I'm thinking it's a combination of all three ... so maybe stop by if your car is acting up, and I'll see what I can do. I accept payment in dead chickens, garlic amulets, or good conversation.

My mom's a shaman mechanic? Say what?

Let's say this post were a huge bowl of guacamole, and you know some of your friends have some tortilla chips in need of some adornment. Share the guacamole, share the post.

Maybe that's a bad metaphor because everyone knows guacamole is best devoured alone in a dark corner of your kitchen while your children sleep and your husband works downtown, but don't feel too bad because he gets free food at work all the time so you deserve to be selfish with the avocado dip of the gods, even guacamole.


  1. First of all, you never cease to amaze. Secondly, definitely agree with everything in your footnote. I often devour treats alone in a corner while everyone is sleeping/at work.

  2. I love the photos in this blog: Ruby thinking, Graham gallivanting, Kim in all her glory (and by that I do NOT mean Celestial glory), Ruby being cuter than ever.
    Glad the car got over itself.

  3. Those same 3 lights went off in our Sienna too on our cross country move. Tim is an optimist and thought it was just all the off roading through Utah's national parks. The auto zone guy just said we would have to take it to the dealer. The day before taking it into the dealer in Iowa, the lights turned off and all we needed was an oil change! maybe your powers work long distance too?

  4. I love Graham's comment to the mechanic...someone needed to tell him, right? He does sound pretty crooked. The same lights came on in our RAV just after we finished driving here from Phoenix 2 years ago. They still go on and off. Turns out its just a broken O2 sensor. Nothing is actually wrong with the car, but it costs about $300+ to replace the sensor, so we just ignore them.


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