Communicating with people is challenging at times. Communicating with people about an inanimate object can be more so.
It was a warm summer day and I stopped at the school to do some work. A number of my colleagues were doing the same. I worked for a while and decided to head home. The maroon Malibu would not turn over. I checked the battery plenty of juice.
Several male friends came and checked it over. Still couldn't get it started. I mentioned to each of them I thought it was some kind of sensor. I was reassured that "those sensors wouldn't be the problem". Finally I called a tow truck and had it carted to a new mechanic.
The tow truck dropped the Malibu off at the repair shop. They called me later and said it started just fine. They would keep it for a couple of days and see if it would stop again. It didn't.
A few more weeks passed. I was leaving the house and it wouldn't start. I called the mechanic.
"Hi, I have a dead car that won't start would you send someone over to look at it. This is the Malibu that was in the shop a few weeks ago."
"It's probably just your battery."
"No. I checked that."
"Call a tow truck and we'll take a look at it."
"No. I want someone to come look at it here. The last time the tow truck picked it up and literally dropped it at the shop something reset and it started just fine. I need someone to come look at it here. Please bring your tools."
About 20 minutes later a mechanic arrives. He pops the hood and the first thing he does is check the battery.
"Well, your battery has juice."
"Yah, you asked me about that on the phone."
"You're not out of gas."
He tinkered a little under the hood. But I did not see him bring out any tools.
"Um, you're going to need to call a tow truck and we'll look at it at the shop. I'm not sure what is wrong."
"Why can't you check it here?"
"I didn't bring my tools because I thought it would turn out to be the battery."
"I specifically asked you to bring tools. What ever it is gets re-set when the tow truck drops the car on the ground. It will start and you won't be able to determine what's wrong. I think its a sensor."
"Ma'am that's not how these things work. If it doesn't start now it won't start when it gets to the shop."
"Well, you'd be wrong. I'll call the tow truck but when it drops it will start."
The tow truck arrives slides the car onto a flat bed and takes it a few blocks to the repair shop. I follow. As soon as it is dropped in the yard I get the mechanic and walk over to the car.
"Watch this, it's going to start." The machine snickered as it purred like a contented cat.
Eye brows up, "Ma'am this doesn't make sense."
"It's a sensor. Good luck finding it. This is what happened the last time I brought it in."
They kept it for several days. The mechanic called me and said he'd found the problem. Dan was home so he went with me.
Ironically when we got there he turned to Dan and started explaining, completely ignoring me. To give him his credit he had dug into files and discovered that the Malibu cars had problems with the starter system. After a specific number of starts some of the cars would freeze and shut down because it thought it was being stolen. This little shop did not have the computer tools to fix the problem. He did give Dan the print outs and the code. He had spent hours researching the problem.
We decided to trade the Malibu in before it froze again. I took the manual out of the jockey box and in the front wrote. "If the car stops this is the code to the problem, its a sensor. Tell them to bring there tools."