Road trip from hell: fact or friction

A little bit of foresight can save you a whole lot of time, and needless drama under the hood.

A little bit of foresight can save you a whole lot of time, and needless drama under the hood.

I referred last week to my theory that everyone knows something I don't.

Now I hear you say that's mostly because they've dedicated themselves to the task of learning these things.

And you'd be right there's all sorts of complicated things people know that I don't and all power to them. I'm really referring to the more organic things that should just be more less learned by osmosis. Simple but important things like putting oil in the car

Drive August 31 Dave Moore
Oil check

Drive August 31 Dave Moore Oil check

Oil is a lubricant.

Now cars need oil because oil eases friction if you don't put any in something called the crankshaft suffers. If the crankshaft suffers the whole car goes down in sympathy.

I called my wife a crankshaft once and there is no lubricant known to man that could ease the friction that created.

Of course I know that cars need oil, it's up there with putting air in the tires, but its not a one time only deal. It also needs checking. Its not even an especially complicated procedure - pull out the dipstick have a look, put it back in and the shaft will live to crank another day.

Forget to check and say hypothetically embark on a road trip around the South Island with your pregnant wife and infant daughter and you're well on track to discover what possibly could go wrong.

Of course when that moment comes when that last drop of oil left in your car has been killed in the line of duty there is no fireworks, no siren and no balloons dropping from the ceiling.

Just a small red light and a faint ticking noise, like a bomb, that grows less faint until you feel compelled to do something about it.

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There is some dignity to be salvaged here so instead of going to a mechanic you go to a parts store and buy a lot of oil. Should you mention that you're car is going to drink every last drop because it's a little low you're inviting the considerable weight of the 18-year-old counter assistant's mechanical expertise to be brought down upon you. Sort of like a mechanic really just more condescending.

So you bite your lip and refrain from saying maybe you could borrow some from their hair and limp home to discover that there is no such thing as a new crankshaft'll fix it there is only chuck the whole engine out and start again.

Personally I think that bit was a bit shortsighted of the motor industry but then it could be said they can't be responsible for my stupidity.

Needless to say my mechanic made the down payment on an ocean-going boat that month and me and the dipstick are more intimately acquainted and not in the way that my wife threatened at the roadside.

 - Stuff


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