After a week in the shop, we finally know what’s wrong with my car. Turns out it wasn’t the fuel system at all. It was the timing belt.
Since I hadn’t heard from them about my car in a week, I called the shop to see what was up. They told me that it was the timing belt, and that because it was broken there was a chance that its valves were damaged but that they wouldn’t know unless they did a compression test. Also, I have an interference engine. Much of this didn’t make sense to me because while I can change the oil on my car and replace a tire, spark plug, fuse, battery, air filter or fuel filter, I’m kind of useless where it comes to cars. What I did understand was the part where he said that it would cost me $500 to get the timing belt replaced, up to $1000 or more to get the entire engine fixed if there was damage to the valves.
I was a little afraid to call The Dad after talking to the mechanic because let’s face it, no one wants to tell their parent that the car you bought for $16oo is going to cost between $500 and $1000 to fix. As soon as I said “it’s the timing belt,” though, he replied with “oh, shit” and I knew we were on the same page. He didn’t seem surprised by the estimate, but I wanted him to talk to the mechanic himself because he’s the one with the checkbook.
He hasn’t talked to the mechanic yet, but he warned me that right now he doesn’t think he can spend $1000 to get my car fixed. Then I told him I was planning on using the car to find a job and he said that he would figure something out. What exactly was his plan? Coming down here with a tow dolly, taking my car up to Ft. Worth, having his mechanic friend help him out and then bringing the car back to me. I think part of The Dad’s enthusiasm for this particular plan is that his friend will either tell him how to fix the belt on his own and then let him pay in installments for the compression test, or just fix the whole thing and let him pay it out.
The Dad is going to talk to the mechanic at some point today and figure out what’s going to happen next. No matter which way it ends up going, the dead car has been made a priority, which means that I’m getting ever closer to being somewhat independent again. As independent as a married lady with five cats, two birds, and a rat can be.