06 October 2008

Honk if you love peace and quiet

I want to be very clear about something here: I don't want to complain about my little car. I love my little car. I have a great little car. Compared to my first car, it's an Aston Martin.

Of course, my first car was a 1976 Toyota Corolla SR5 Liftback and I learned to drive it in 1999, when the ceiling liner no longer stuck to the inside roof of the car, and you had to open the car door to raise or lower the windows, and the keys fell out if you made too sharp a turn, and you could start it with a flat head screw driver, and the gas gauge was broken and you had to ask the a/c very nicely to blow air at all and good luck getting that air to be cold. I actually loved that little blue car and I was brokenhearted when my dad said 'enough' and donated it to the high school auto shop.

The car I drive now is a 1997 Chevy Cavalier - the cheapest model they made that year, under 10 grand brand new if I'm not mistaken. My father bought it used from a man he worked with at the power plant (who had bought it for his stepdaughter's 16th birthday; unfortunately he overestimated her intelligence, I don't think she could drive a stick shift). The steering is power, but the locks and windows aren't. Nothing fancy. It has a nice stereo but that was a birthday present last year, certainly not standard. In the seven or so years since my father bought the Cavvy, we have had to buy 2 new batteries, replace the a/c and the belt driver, buy new windshield wipers about a dozen times, reset the EGR valve, get all-new breaks, replace all of the knobs on the dash, and fix the clutch. There have been a few electrical problems as well, some wiring crap I can't recall. And I still love my little champagne-colored USA-made disaster.

Until lately.

Two weeks ago I was sitting at my computer, looking at Otters on Cute Overload, when I heard a car horn honk. And honk, and honk. For about five straight minutes. I already had a migraine, and this wasn't helping. The doorbell rang a moment later; it was a neighbor. The offending horn was in my Cavalier. It stopped while she was at the door. And there have been five or six other such incidents of late. Constant beeping. My mom's been able to stop the noise by banging on the hood. I've had to unlock the car and hit the horn to make it stop.

This was a particularly embarrassing problem last week when I was stopped on a freeway overpass at a red light, behind a minivan. My car honked for about 15 seconds by itself. I threw my hands up in the air, hoping that surrounding drivers would see that I wasn't trying to be a jerk. I was just driving a jerk car.

So I've gone on-line to try to figure out if my car is haunted or what else. I've examined pictures and diagrams in the Haynes car repair book my father bought years ago. I think I can unplug my horn and make the problem go away.

The only thing is, what if I NEED to honk at someone and I can't? I guess I'm going to have to find a mechanic. I've never gone to a mechanic before. My father could fix anything car-related. Anything, period.

I've had moments where I thought my father was honking the horn. And if he is I'm okay with that. As long as he knocks it off while the neighbors are home. They get crabby when they're honked at for 10 minutes.

1 comment:

Dana G said...

I really think Willy is honking the horn! That is too cool, but I think you better get it fixed or someone might really do something drastic!