October 9, 2010

Warning Light

This is not a deeply spiritual post, but it is about trusting God with the seemingly small stuff. It's also a practical tip that might come in handy.

Nobody likes to have car trouble, but when you're single, it's a huge hassle to have to take your car in for repairs. You have to figure out when it's going to be convenient to be without your car...as if there's ever a good time. You have to find someone to take you to drop the car off, and then to pick it up. If it's a repair that requires more than a day, then you have to find a way to get to work and home again....and then back to work again the next day And then there's the issue of the expense.

So there's not much that causes my heart to sink faster than this:

About 6 months ago, the light came on as I was approaching my house, after a long day at work. It was a week that I did not have any spare time, and that I absolutely could not be without my car. It was only Monday night, and I knew that I had to be at work early and stay late the following three days. I prayed, "Please, let me get to Friday before I have to deal with this." My mind bounced back and forth from visions of dollar signs to images of my car breaking down late at night. I was convinced that I was in for a major repair.

Meanwhile, I Googled "check engine light" and discovered it could be nothing, or it could be something  significant. I prayed my light would be on the "nothing" end of the spectrum. I was reassured that the 40 miles or so that I would drive over those three days until Friday would probably be okay, and that my image of the car breaking down would likely remain only in my head. Through my Google search, I also discovered that AutoZone could check my car's computer and tell me what was wrong. I found that reassuring, because at least I could get a pre-opinion, of sorts, before visiting a mechanic. And I continued to pray my car would make it until Friday morning without leaving me stranded somewhere. 

Not only did I make it until Friday morning without a catastrophe, but it was indeed, an easy fix. I use gasoline with ethanol - partly because it's less expensive, and partly because it's easier to find where I live. It turned out that was the problem  The AutoZone guy determined that I just needed to run an engine cleaner through my gas tank. It took a couple of tanks with the additive to make the light go way, but it did the trick. The best part was that it was only around $10 for two bottles of the additive. It also improved my gas mileage, which I had noticed had dropped over the previous couple of months.

Recently, I noticed that my mileage was beginning to drop ever so slightly, and I kept thinking that it was probably time to get more of the additive. Somehow I never found the time to make it back over to AutoZone. This week, the darn light came on one day on  my way to work. Naturally, it was a day that I had to work until around 9:30 p.m. Again, my heart sank, but having such a simple fix last time, I wasn't as stressed about it. I still prayed about it, and the light still annoyed the heck out of me, but I thought it might be God's way of forcing me to quit thinking about going to AutoZone for the additive and to actually do it. This time, I worried about the light a lot less.

It was a couple of days before I could make it back to AutoZone, but this time, the fix was even easier. The guy told me to take the gas cap off and then put it back on again. Evidently there was air in the tank, and that was what caused the light to go off. He reset the light, and as long as I was there, I picked up a couple more bottles of the additive and put one in my gas tank before I left the parking lot. Now that I have been forced to go to AutoZone, I feel better knowing that I should make it through the winter without my ethanol-laced gasoline causing the light to go off. And the additive was on sale - this time I got two bottles for only $5!

As one of my coworkers says, "I love it when it works!"

Until next time,

Who of you by worrying can add a single hour to his life? ~ Matthew 6:27


  1. great story, margaret! i'm so glad those autozone
    guys were honest with you and didn't take advantage
    of you.

    last summer, our youngest daughter took her truck
    (the one passsed down from hans to isaac to max
    and then to her :) into the shop to check on a
    terrible sound it was making.

    turns out she had run over a sonic sign that had
    been sucked up under the truck. hee hee!

    i can't believe the long hours you work.

  2. You've got a car angel watching over you Margaret.

  3. Lea - The truck story is hysterical. AutoZone doesn't do repairs, so that's why I think they're pretty reliable. I 'spose they could sell you a lot of stuff to fix the car yourself, but I think they know that's not going to happen when they look at me. ;-)

    Paula - I do have a car angel, and I have for years. Years ago, I had a car that had constant problems, but it never once left me stranded. Even when it died for the final time (after 13 years and over 110,000 miles) it made it all the way home before giving up.

  4. Hi! I wandered over here from SCL and I'm already a fan of yours! ;) I love this post and can completely identify with having car trouble when you're single. Not that it's not annoying when you're married, but there's something about having to do everything. by. yourself. that just seems to make it more agonizing. But then, this is coming from the lady who doesn't even like getting her oil changed, so I may just be a tad dramatic. ;) I'm so glad you linked your blog and I look forward to reading more from you!

  5. Hi, meandered from SCL and am enjoying my visit.

    I thank God for my car angel too because once I was about to drive to a remote part of my country when my car stalled right in front of a metal workshop that was next to an auto parts shop and we found out that the fan belt and the bolt holding it in place had fallen out.

    I bought the fan belt from the auto parts store and they didn't have the correct size bolt which the men in the metal workshop donated. These men couldn't understand how my car could just stall right where I needed help and it was a wonderful opportunity to witness to them about Jesus Christ.

  6. I always remember how frustrating it was to take care of my car as a single lady. You are so right about that.

    These days I only pick repair-spots that offer me some sort of shuttle service.

  7. Of course, you could always move here to New York City, where owning a car will be WAY down your list of priorities.

    And you owe me a visit anyway.

  8. Oh I must look into this engine cleaner as a percentage of ethanol is in all gasoline everywhere. I don't know how we'd avoid it. Thanks for the tip. And, as one who was single for sixteen years (ROFL), I know how tough all sorts of issues are on single women especially. All the home maintainance issues, car issues, you-name-it issues and she, the single woman, is going to pay the highest prices when she can least afford it. So I'm so glad that you realize that God has you tucked right under His wing.