Tuesday, April 25, 2006

They Fodded My Car!

Funny story...

Ever since I took my beautiful car in for its 30000 mile checkup, it's been squeaking. I thought maybe it was some new thing they installed, but after 4000 more miles, it was still going on. A coworker who is insanely knowledgable about an insanely huge number of things came to visit last week. He said the sound was a belt, and it shouldn't be doing that.

Took my car in today, needed a new belt and tensioner. Had to wait 2 hours, but it was still under warranty, yay. Left feelin' fine.

Driving home from work, I heard strange car noises. I glanced at the guy in the old minivan behind me, thinking "wow, he's got a noisy vehicle." The problem is, he turns right and I turn left... and the sound turns left too. Hmm. Rattling. I think, "Did they leave a wrench in there? I'd be funny if they did. FOD, ha ha." After a stop sign on a hill, it got worse. I pulled into the empty Haitian church parking lot, left the engine running, and popped the hood. Sticking my head in, I find the belt noisy again, rrg.

Then I see it. A flashlight that looks sorta like a cop's radar gun. On the new belt. I pull it out in disgust and throw it on the ground. The belt is now quiet. The idler has a nice new shiny streak in it. I pick up the flashlight, which is incidentally still on, and turn it over. It's only half-there. The 1/2" thick rubber structure has been totally obliterated by the belt rubbing against it. The belt apparently didn't feel that was sufficient, though, and also tore into the circuit board, leaving two wires naked and flattened. It tried to eat a capacitor too, but that held up.

I call the dealership, they say... come back, let's have a look. I gave them back their flashlight, and they give me an impromptu coupon for a free oil change (written on the back of a business card). At least the new belt didn't get damaged...

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