Okay, there weren’t actually flames, but there was a ton of smoke! And you know usually where there’s smoke, there’s fire. I started out last Tuesday morning, I was leaving home at 7am instead of my usual time of 5am because I had to go shopping for my employer for an upcoming event. As I turned the corner about one mile from home I flipped on the air conditioner and whoosh! Stinking plastic burning white smoke billowed from the air conditioning unit’s vents. Oh! My first thought was the nasty stinking smell was like being poisoned!
Just two weeks earlier I’d observed a vehicle engulfed in flames on the side of the road and the second thought to run through my mind was my vehicle was on fire and I had better remove myself and my belongings, pronto! I rolled down the windows as I pulled off to the side of the road, turned the vehicle off, grabbed stuff and started moving it about 5 yards from my car. When I got the most important things out I called my husband.
No answer. Just the answering machine. Great! That meant his phone was dead.
Next I called my son, AJ and was greeted with “Ugh.” He was still asleep and I screeched into the phone, “The Pathfinder’s on fire, wake up your dad!” Nothing. Silence. Great! I figured he must have dropped his phone and fell back to sleep. I peeked inside the car. Tendrils of white smoke were still cascading from the passenger side vents. I was relieved that there were no flames, but I expected to see them any second.
Oh boy. I’ve been under the weather and I did not feel up to running a mile home with all my belongings in my arms, and didn’t feel I could leave them on the side of the road either. So I tried my son again, and this time he answered and was awake, and had just woke up his dad. I could hear commotion and yelling in the background as my husband scurried around to leave the house.
The white tendrils of smoke had dissipated by the time my husband arrived which made me look like a real kook since just a few minutes earlier I’d been shrieking that my vehicle was one fire. Hey, what was I supposed to think? Smoke = fire, you know?
He tried to start the engine, nothing. He tested my battery and it was completely dead. So naturally he tried to jump my car with his truck. Well, that started the white smoke again. We were so close to home that we didn’t want to bother with AAA so he pushed me back home.
I borrowed AJ’s car that day, and the next day drove Mr. A’s work van. Mr. A disassembled the dashboard and discovered that one hot wire had shorted out and all the plastic had burned off it the entire length of the dash board. He said it was a good thing I turned the engine off as quickly as I did because the hot wire would have continued to burn wires within the entire length of the wiring harness and turn the harness into one big tangled glued together mess. sigh.
My poor car. Mr. A has done some preliminary searching for a new harness and he saw prices of $300 for a used wiring harness up to $1800 for a brand new one. I haven’t taken the time to look myself.
In the meantime I’m grateful that I was right around the corner from home. I’m grateful I was not driving 70mph in the fast lane on the freeway five lanes from the emergency lane. I’m grateful there were no actual flames! I’m grateful I can borrow my husband’s work van or my son’s car until mine is fixed or I can find something else of my own. I also need to figure out if I should cancel my auto insurance for the time being. If it won’t be running for a couple months that might save us some money. Then again, it might be time for me to buy a new “used” car. Oh, that I wish we were already out of debt.
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