Aug 282020

I’ve been dealing with some cabin fever after all these months of staying home self-isolating. We leave the house to go to medical appointments or the grocery store when necessary, and that’s been about it. Yesterday Terry had a dental appointment, so we thought we would kill two birds with one stone and go to the grocery store from there.

Since only patients can go into the office, I sat outside in our 2005 Ford Explorer with the engine running and the air conditioning on cold and read my Kindle while she was inside. I’m not sure how long her appointment was, probably 45 minutes or so, and I kept a close watch on the temperature gauge to make sure the Explorer was not heating up, but it always stayed well below the halfway mark. When Terry came out, we decided that before we went to Publix, we would drive over to the beach and see what was happening there. Sometimes just a few minutes on the beach is all I need to get my head right.

Soon after we left the dentist’s office, I stopped at a traffic light, and when it turned green, I stepped on the accelerator, and there was a noticeable lag in power, and a warning message came on the dashboard that said Engine Safe Mode. But just as quickly the message was gone and it was back to full power. The entire episode only lasted a matter of seconds. We drove a little over a mile across the South Causeway to the beach, only to find that it was closed for vehicles, probably due to high tide. So we started back home, and then a little icon came on the dashboard that looks like a wrench.

I had Terry Google Engine Safe Mode, and it said it could be anything from an O2 sensor to a timing chain or transmission problem, and to take the vehicle to a garage as soon as possible. Well, that’s not good. Terry called Leon’s Automotive in Edgewater, where we get all of our work done, and even though they were about to close, they said if we could get there, they would plug in a fault code checker to see if it gave off any codes.

We got there about two minutes before closing, and Rebecca came out and plugged the code reader into the port under the dash. She said if the SUV was running okay, to just go ahead and go home, and she would call me in the morning after she researched the code. Okay, no problem, off we went.

We decided to skip Publix and just went home, and the Explorer had plenty of power. The only noticeable thing we could see was that when we stopped at traffic lights, the air conditioning would not blow as cold as it had been. It wasn’t warm by any means, just not as cold. And as soon as we started moving again, it was once more ice cold. It was a couple of miles home, and we got there with no problem. Once home, I turned off the engine and then restarted it, and the little wrench icon was gone. I went out an hour or so later and started it a second time, and again the wrench icon was gone. So I will wait for Rebecca to call and tell me what the code reader thinks is going on.

Terry and I were talking about it on the way home, and depending on what the problem is, we’re not sure what we’ll do. The Explorer has been a very good vehicle for us for over ten years, and even though it’s got a lot of miles on it, and has been towed almost that many, we like it. However, it feels like it’s starting to nickel and dime us, and we don’t like that. Depending on what needs to be done and what the cost is, we have to decide how much more money we want to put into it. It’s paid for, and it’s a comfortable vehicle to drive. In fact, even though we have three other vehicles, it’s the one we usually drive around town.

Some people say it’s a lot better to spend a few hundred dollars in repairs as opposed to making payments on a new or newer car. Buying something to replace it is not going to happen. So, depending on what is wrong and the cost of repairs, we may be down to three vehicles instead of four. We’ll know more soon, hopefully.

Be sure to enter our latest Free Drawing. This week’s prize is a four-book set of audiobooks from my pal Carol Ann Newsome’s popular Dog Park mystery series. To enter, click on this Free Drawing link or the tab at the top of this page and enter your name (first and last) in the comments section at the bottom of that page (not this one). Only one entry per person per drawing please, and you must enter with your real name. To prevent spam or multiple entries, the names of cartoon or movie characters are not allowed. The winner will be drawn Sunday evening.

Thought For The Day – The way things are these days, it’s beginning to feel like the future is a thing of the past.

Nick Russell

World-Famous, New York Times Best Selling Author, and All-Around Nice Guy!

  4 Responses to “Well, That’s Not Good”

  1. Nick, I tried to e-mail a correction and it kept coming back saying it looked liked SPAM. Here it is: “I went out an hour or so later and statted (started) it a second time, …”

  2. Machines do wear out, good luck on your problem!

  3. We are still full timing, and vehicle repairs are a frequent topic. Our towd is a 1995, and is getting to an age where we have repairs in the 1500 dollar range per year to keep it as reliable as possible. Love to have a “new to us vehicle”, but the sales tax would be more than that. BTW, long idle time can make the O2 sensors upset. Sounds like you have an honest and sharp mechanic! Now get back to writing more books, I am bored during this covid 19 thing 🙂

  4. I had a 00 mountaineer that would do that on hot days. It acted similarly… It was a weak fuel pump causing symptom like having a vapor lock. Tested fuel pressure and it read low. New fuel pump later all good.

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