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Cheap Oil Filter

Some one once told me that my misfortunes are all my own doing. I don’t believe that. One bright sunny spring Friday, I popped my jeep into the service station across the street from where I worked for oil change. When my shift ended, I picked up my car and headed home.

The next morning, I planned to meet several friends for a trip to Disneyland. Cruising down the street, I heard a light thunk. I looked in the mirror and a small object was tumbling in the road behind me, followed by a large oil slick. My oil filter had popped off. I quickly made my way through traffic to the side of the road. The engine raced with the oddest sound, and I knew that when I turned off the key it would never move again. I can’t explain how I knew, I just did. Sure enough, the engine died. Later investigation showed that even that short time with zero oil was bad. The engine had seized, and would never to never run again. The car was ruined; thank goodness, the loan was almost completely paid off.

I learned from prior experience that my dad was not going to help me, so I turned to my mother for some type of help. She said that since she didn’t’ help me the last time I needed a car, she would come through this time help me come up with the money for a new car, but I had to wait two weeks. Well, those two weeks dragged on for 3 months, then 4, and 5. I tried to make the best of it, but my work and school schedule was so tight, that public transportation couldn’t’ get me to both on time. Work won, and I lost an entire semester (this was not the first nor the last time my mother caused me to loose an entire semester, but that is another story). After 6 months, she managed to come up with a few hundred, far short of what most lenders wanted for a down payment.

I took that few hundred, plus the few hundred that I came up with and visited every weekend car auction I could reach. I managed to buy a used police car with six digit miles on it (100,000+), which was just a nightmare to own. The main gear on the starter had a few teeth missing, but it only affected start up. I had to hand-crank the flywheel so that the starter had a good bite. Every so often, a few more teeth would chip out, making it harder and harder to get it started. Because of the placement of the flywheel and the starter, I couldn’t’ see where they meet. I had to crank a little, try staring the car, crank a little, and try starting the car, until I got it running.

I can remember standing in the pouring rain, cranking that car over and over and over until I would give up and walk down the hill to work, dreading the walk back up in the rain. I would walk through the parking lot looking at the occasional jeep thinking “soon”. I would stand on my feet all day at my crummy retail job watching the rain fall, hoping the store would be robbed so the criminal could just shoot me just so I wouldn’t’ have to walk up that hill again in the rain.

This story does have a happy ending. One morning, for some odd reason, fate smiled upon me. A credit card arrived in the mail with my name on with enough of a limit to be the down payment on another used jeep.

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