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Lesson Learned!

April 28, 2010

Late last Fall, my son became one of the happiest 16 year old boy’s on the planet when he purchased his first car. He got a part time job working after school and on weekends to purchase his 1993 Pontiac Grand Am with his own money which made my wife and I very proud.

Austin and his grandfather changed oil and oil filter, flushed the radiator, rotated the tires and did some exhaust work to the car a few days after he bought it. Austin was pleased as punch to have his car nice and quiet after the exhaust work was done.

After driving the car to school and work for a couple of months everything suddenly went to hell. Two weeks before Christmas, Paula got a call from Austin on his way to school letting her know he was in Wal-Mart’s parking lot because the car quit running and won’t start. Paula headed up to Wal-Mart to help Austin and I took Logan and Ryan to school. On the way back home, I stopped in Wal-Mart’s parking lot to take a look at the car. When I arrived the car was still not running and the starter was clicking and not even trying to turn the engine over. A starter normally won’t make a car suddenly quit running so I was a little confused as to why it quit. The starter was certainly bad but I remained confused none the less. Since it was only five degrees outside and my son didn’t have the money for a new starter, we thought it would be best to have the car towed back to our house.

Austin’s pride and joy sat in the driveway until he could afford a new starter and we got my man cave cleaned up enough to pull a car in and we started working. You can read more about the man cave cleaning here. I have changed many starters in my 39 years but they were all on old muscle cars like Camaro’s, Nova’s, Chevelle’s and Trans Am’s. You know, those old cars you could actually get your hands up into with a tool and work on it. The starter was only held on by two bolts so one would think it should be pretty easy to take off. Unfortunately, that was not the case.

Because of where the starter sat under the hood, it took us a few hours to just FIND the bolts. You couldn’t see them from the top of the engine or the bottom of the engine. The only thing we could do was blindly feel around for them. After we finally located them, we had to fight and fight to get a tool in there to lo0sen them to drop the starter out. After several hours of battling with it, we finally had the old starter out and the new one in. We took a deep breath and I said “fire her up”.

Austin anxiously jumped into the driver’s seat of his pride and joy and slid the key into the ignition. “Ready” Austin asked loudly. “Ready” I replied and Austin turned the key. The sound of the new starter engaging was the only thing we heard. NOTHING! It was so quiet in the garage at that moment; you could hear a mouse fart. We looked at each other with astonished looks on our faces and Austin got out of the car. “Well, your starter was definitely bad because it’s not clicking anymore when you turn the key” I said. “You can hear it engaging now so it needed to be replaced”. “I’m guessing that the battery is low or dead from trying to start it when it quit running and then sitting in the cold for a couple of months” I suggested. “Why don’t you go get the battery tested and get a new one if needed and I will stay here and change the oil why you are gone” I said and off he went.

I layed down on the creeper with some tools and slid under the car. I loosened the oil pan bolt to drain the oil and was pretty shocked when no oil came out of the pan. Not one single drop of oil dripped out of the oil pan. “Uh-oh” I thought to myself. “I think I know why the car may not be starting”. I put the oil pan bolt back in the pan, changed the oil filter and put five quarts of fresh oil in and waited for Austin to return with a battery.

Austin soon returned with a brand new battery and we connected it up. Austin jumped into the car and turned the key and as expected, nothing happened. “What could be the problem now” Austin asked. “Have you ever changed oil in this car” I asked. “Yeah, my grandfather and I changed oil in it right after I got it” Austin replied. “Did you know the car was leaking oil” I asked. “Yeah, I noticed a big puddle of oil every time I drove it” Austin replied. “Did you ever add oil to the car to replace what had leaked out” I asked. “No” Austin replied. “Well, that would be why your car won’t start little buddy” I said. “Your engine is seized up”

Lesson learned!

20 Comments leave one →
  1. Tasneem R permalink
    April 28, 2010 2:30 AM

    Yes a good lesson learned ! Austin would never forget it !
    Your Dream Car
    Which car lives upto your dreams?

    • April 28, 2010 12:52 PM

      No…I’m sure he won’t be forgetting this anytime soon. 😀

  2. April 28, 2010 10:28 AM

    Oh poop! That’s a hard lesson to learn. Now what? Replace the whole engine? Buy another car?

    • April 28, 2010 12:54 PM

      Nah, the car wasn’t worth enough to put another engine into. As far as buying another car, well that’s another blog post coming soon. LOL

  3. April 28, 2010 3:51 PM

    awww. that would break a parent’s heart. good luck with everything.

    • April 30, 2010 10:05 AM

      Hi Renee!

      Thanks and yeah, it was pretty hard to tell him his car was trashed. 😦

  4. April 29, 2010 9:12 AM

    Car lessons those can be some of the hard lessons in Life. Ive learned a couple of car lessons my self. I think I’ll go check my oil now. ;+) What a bummer.

    • April 30, 2010 10:06 AM

      Yes they can Starla! I have learned a few car lessons the hard way as well. The hard way is never good when it comes to your vehicle.


  5. Sue permalink
    April 29, 2010 2:37 PM

    Oh snap that sucks a big one! I take it that car is no more? I’m sure he’ll never forget this!

    • April 30, 2010 10:07 AM

      Sucks a big one for sure! The car is no more……it was towed away to the junk yard. I’m sure he won’t be forgetting this anytime soon either. 😦

  6. April 29, 2010 3:37 PM

    I feel really bad for him. 😦

    I remember my first P.O.S. like it was yesterday. A 1970 something Dodge Arrow. Piece of poop had floor boards that were rusting out. It was my sister’s car that her husband gave her when then got married. She sold it to me for $75 bucks! Damn thing sounded like a freight Mack truck pulling up. My friends and family knew I was coming a couple of miles before I actually arrived.

    I hope he is able to get a new car soon.

    • April 30, 2010 10:11 AM

      That sounds a lot like his car Sherri only a little newer. LOL

  7. April 29, 2010 5:16 PM

    Poor kid… he worked so hard for it too!

    • April 30, 2010 10:12 AM

      Yeah, he worked really hard for that car! SUCKS! 😦

  8. April 30, 2010 2:51 AM

    That’s a hard & expensive lesson for him to learn poor kid. I was expecting a “You connected the battery the wrong way around” & thought Paula was going to come to the rescue.

    • April 30, 2010 10:12 AM

      BWAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA…….no but I wish that’s all it was!

  9. May 1, 2010 6:20 PM

    Been there, done that. My Dad made ME recondition the motor, he was a mechanic in his younger days. But it was a good lesson, my cars rarely went into the shop, I did the work at home. But I am talking cars of the 60s & 70s. These days I look at a car motor and go WTF is that? As a motor, they are unrecognisable.


    • May 2, 2010 3:36 PM

      My dad and I used to work on cars together when I was a kid. We had a lot of fun out in that garage. Didn’t seem like fun at the time but looking back it really was. I say the same things when I look at a newer motor as well. LOL

  10. May 2, 2010 8:33 AM

    ahh that sucks 😦

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