Car Stresses

As I drove down to Chester the day before our home game against Spurs, a light came on on my dashboard. Uh-oh! That didn’t look good! I couldn’t work out what it was – worryingly it looked like a little engine outline.

I pulled in to the next services and looked in the car’s handbook – “Engine Malfunction Warning” was the verdict. Eeeek! That sounded BAD! I read on…. the advice was to take the car to a Nissan dealership to have diagnostic tests. However, it said that the car did not need to be towed, but shouldn’t be driven above 70mph, or up steep hills and care should be taken not to accelerate or brake too hard. Hmmmmmm. I decided I SHOULD be OK to drive to mum’s, if I drove like an old granny, and then I would be able to get advice from the web, and my brother.

I drove very carefully in the inside lane, terrified of braking or accelerating too hard, worrying over every new sound… then turning up the music so I couldn’t hear – before panicking that I needed to hear and turning it back down again. I was wrung out by the time I got to mum’s but I made it in one piece. Phew! 🙂

After lunch and a bit of a rest and a chat, I turned to good old Google for advice. It looked like it was probably my timing chain, a known issue on Nissan Almeras – and fairly pricey to fix. That was it! No more money being chucked away on this car – it had to go. It did, however, look like I might be OK to drive it carefully the next day to the match and then home, so that was my plan.

Mum suggested we went for a walk as it was such a beautiful autumn day so we went for the canal-side walk that Billy and I had done in the rain in August.


Mum treated us to a Chinese takeaway accompanied by a bottle of wine in the evening and at last I relaxed – and even forgot about the car for the night. However, the next morning I had to think of it again and I prayed it would see me through without the engine stalling completely on me. I was just beginning to breath a sigh of relief that I’d made it to Manchester when there was a road closure and I had to follow a diversion – which always stresses me as I can get lost in a car park! Eventually I parked in my usual place and tried to calm down before meeting Claire and Simon.

After the game I prayed I’d get home safely and again, I drove in the inside lane at 60mph (would you believe I STILL had to overtake several cars over the course of the journey!? ) As I went I was ticking off progress: “I’ve made if past Manchester/Preston/Lancaster/South Lakes/the M6/Carlisle/Haltwhistle/Haydon Bridge…By the time I arrived home and gave a heartfelt thanks to God for keeping me safe, I was in need of a stiff drink and my bed! At least now I had a couple of weeks before I needed to drive again…..

My plan was to take my car in to a used car dealer for part exchange and hopefully get something smaller and cheaper to run. However, we had another situation that arose at the same time (more on that later) so I looked in to the possibility of hiring a car as and when needed. This seemed as though it MIGHT be do-able – until I found out about the £200 deposit each time plus the £600 excess on the insurance!

On to plan C: I contacted someone to see if they’d take the car for parts. He arranged to call me at the weekend so I duly kept my phone with me at all times and remained on standby, having cleared the car out and filled our hallway with its contents. For nothing! Grrr! I HATE people who don’t do as they say and don’t let you know what’s happening! He’s burned his bridges now and I will find someone else, but I’ve lost a week!

I’m hoping to pick up a cheap run-around if I can can but until I sell this heap of metal I don’t know exactly what I’ve got for a new one. For now I am hating being car-less and feel thoroughly out of control and out of sorts. I need to sort this very soon. 🙁

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