Well, I’m back from taking the van to the garage.
I should be happy. I really should.
As I write this, we are still at -21C/-6F with a wind chill of -30C/-22F.
Before heading out, I made a point of starting the van, then headed back inside to give it a good 15 minutes to warm up. As usual, the power steering pump was whining loudly when I started the engine.
When I came back to it later, for the first time in weeks, the noise was gone.
Because, of course it was. I was finally getting it checked today.
As I was driving, I did hear a slight whine, but only while doing a hard turn, for example, but not if I were just changing lanes, and not at all while driving straight.
When I got there, I was happy to see he didn’t have other vehicles in the bays, which meant I wouldn’t be spending hours waiting for him to squeeze a check in between other jobs. He just had to deal with getting a vehicle outside loaded and hauled away. I had a chance to talk to him about the noise now being gone, even though it was there when I first started it. Yes, he agreed it could be just the cold causing it. He asked me other questions, and I told him that we’d had problems with the pump leaking before, but not for years (since I topped it up with a leak-stop fluid, it’s not been an issue). There’s no puddles under the vehicle, the fluid level is still fine, etc. Since I had the opportunity, I mentioned the power train error code that I got with the OBDII reader, and he also thought it was probably just the residual carbon from changing out the valve, and that it will clear itself after the van has been run a bit. Then I left the keys and went to the grocery store. Since I was stuck in town, anyhow, may as well get a few things!
It did not take him long at all to call me back.
He could find nothing wrong.
He could not recreate the noise. The closest he could get was when he turned the steering wheel as far as he could, and at that point, the noise was nothing out of the ordinary.
Everything checks out fine.
At which point I was saying, I should be happy to hear this, but the van has become like a Sword of Damocles hanging over my head. Thankfully, he took my concerns seriously, and told me to keep an eye on it over the next while, as things are warmer. If the noise comes back, he wants be to bring it back and he’ll check it again. If it doesn’t come back, then it was likely the cold causing it.
Now if only medical doctors took our mystery health issues as seriously when they don’t know the answers, as our mechanic does about our vehicles!
That done, I took the van back to the grocery store to load up the cart I’d left at the door, went to fill the gas tank, then headed home.
When we had the valve replaced, one of the things he recommended I do for the next while is floor it, every chance I got. I normally never do that. I tend to be a “gentle” driver. I do the speed limit. I don’t slalem back and forth between lanes. When I get on the highway, while I do try to get to speed quickly, I don’t gun it. I don’t even like passing people, if I can avoid it, and that is partly because the van has no get up and go.
Or should I say “had” no get up and go.
On the way home today, I followed his instructions and floored it whenever I could do so safely (clear road, no other traffic, etc.).
The van’s get up and go is the best it’s been since we bought it.
While the poor quality gas would have cause problems to escalate since the move, that build up of carbon probably started long before we owned it.
If I hadn’t been assured, long ago, that the vehicle was actually worth maintaining, we probably would have tried to trade it in for something else, instead of spending all that money on it.
Even so, with our need for a reliable vehicle that meets my husbands mobility needs, the constant issues cropping up are adding a level of stress I just don’t need!
However, having had it checked out, and with tomorrow supposed to reach above freezing temperatures again, I am finally going to try and make a trip to the city and do a full, much needed, monthly shop. I’m going to try going to Costco, in our usual location, which I’m told does accept face shields or Mingle Masks, and even complete medical exemptions still – though that seems to depend on who is on shift at any given time.
And if that goes well, I’ll later be able to pick up the replacement hot water tank and get it installed.
Just thinking about making these trips is stressing me out. Not just because of the vehicle paranoia, but because going out in public, surrounded by faceless people, is increasingly becoming the stuff of nightmares. As a student of psychology, I understand the effect it’s having and why, but knowing that, and feeling that, are two very different things.
Thank God we don’t live in the city anymore. If I were surrounded by this on a daily basis, I’m pretty sure I would have wigged out long ago.