Today’s newsletter is coming to you a little later in the day courtesy of a week that was a wild one.
It started last Sunday when I loaded four of the five boys up in the van to go ice skating a little over half a an hour from home while my husband got ready to get on the road in the opposite direction for a business trip. We were coasting along on cruise control and ready to get off of the expressway when the engine rpms shot up really high. I disengaged cruise control and the engine sounded fine, but when I put my foot on the accelerator, it revved like crazy again. To top it off, while the engine was running, the van was losing power and momentum and pressing the accelerator did nothing but make the engine rev. I managed to get almost all the way to the stop sign on the off ramp before the van stopped going anywhere all together.
If you’re more car savvy than I am (or was) you probably realize this is a classic symptom of a transmission going.
But folks, if your transmission has to go, it happened in about the most perfect way possible. My mom was driving behind me following us to the skating rink. She called my sister (who happened to be in town visiting with my dad who was also in town visiting his wife at the hospital.) My sister and dad rallied round and came to offer me moral support and assistance while I waited for my husband, who pronounced the transmission’s time of death.
Aside from four kids who were sorely disappointed not to be able to skate, I was also sorely disappointed and more than a little worried for my checkbook. We called AAA, my husband took the boys back home so that he could finish getting out the door for his trip, and I waited with the van.
AAA towed our van 86 miles away to the dealership for us because we were 500 miles UNDER the 100,000 miles for the powertrain warranty. Can you believe that? Talk about grateful! My dad let me drive his truck for the next couple of days so that I didn’t have to get a rental; God love ‘im.
The dealership repaired our van over the next couple of days and gave me a call that I could pick it up on Wednesday, so my 18 year old came on the hour drive with me and followed me in his grandpa’s truck while I drove the van home. Later that day, I drove my youngest the hour and a half to ballet and the check engine code came on midway through the trip. I hustled over to an Auto Zone where they popped the code reader on and told me code “0740” was the prognosis. In other words, it was transmission related.
I got on the phone with the dealership who told me that as long as the check engine light wasn’t blinking, I could still drive it and bring it in on Monday. As we headed home from ballet in rush hour traffic that night, the van drove okay so I didn’t expect what happened next.
Pulling around a sweeping turn and pressing the accelerator, WHIRRRRRRRRRRR went the engine again. The transmission went a second time. I managed to get to a reasonably safe shoulder on the expressway and called AAA for the second time in a week. (My husband was still far away in Connecticut, so I had to figure this one out quickly.)
Here’s where I need to give MAJOR praise to AAA. For the second time in a week, they rescued me from the side of the road, this time in big traffic after dark. They moved us to the top of the priority list for the tow truck drivers since we were on a busy expressway. Our dispatcher, Kai, knew I was an hour and a half from home with alternative way of getting there, so he actually arranged a free one-day car rental for us at the airport. The driver, Ken, got to us quickly and kindly offered to take us to the airport which he was not required to do, but did anyway! He was kind, professional, and helpful.
Friends, I will be a AAA member for life. And having the Premier level membership paid for itself in that one week. I am not a paid affiliate for AAA, and get nothing in exchange for this recommendation, but I do so very highly recommend getting the Premier AAA membership if you can at all. It offers up to 200 mile towing, one free rental car day annually after breakdown, they’ll BRING you two gallons of gas if you run out. We won’t be without this again, if we can help it!
But my husband is now home, and our van is back in the shop getting a fully covered, brand new transmission. And this is where I have to praise our dealership -Geneseee Valley Chrysler Dodge Jeep in Avon, NY- for all the help they’ve given us, too.
They honoured the warranty without question and have kept me up to date at every turn, giving me honest estimates about how long it would take for them to do the repairs and what was involved. My husband and I will be buying our vehicles from there for life, too.
I guess the point is this; if you have to have a transmission fail, may it go as smoothly for you as it did for us. We are surrounded by excellent people who help us. I wish that for everyone.
I’ll be back next week with more recipes and the usual. Thanks for being here and being some of the excellent people by whom I’m surrounded. You’re appreciated.
QUESTIONS OF THE WEEK:
Have you ever had a transmission fail or any other major breakdown on a vehicle you were driving?