Trouble with the mixtlflap?

My car’s in the shop right now — it started hesitating and even stalling
every now and again (while driving) last weekend, and yesterday morning, I
couldn’t keep the engine running for more than a few seconds. Earlier this
week, I had it into Canadian Tire three times — the first time, they
guessed at something and replaced it ($90), this has no effect. The second time
it sat in the parking lot all day because their scope wasn’t working, and the
third time they tried to hook it up to their newly-fixed scope, but it still
wasn’t working. On Thursday when I couldn’t start it, I had it towed to the
garage across the street (Al’s Auto Service).

At the end of the day, I still hadn’t heard back from Al, so I called to check on
the status. He said that he had had it out earlier, and it ran fine,
so he didn’t yet know. I had to come into work today for a conference call, and
Gail’s away, so I
had to rent a car (more on that later). I didn’t know when I would be able to
return the rental, so I asked Al if they were open on Saturday, and he actually
laughed out loud at the thought of coming in to work on my car on a Saturday.

When I got home from work today, I finally heard back. They have no idea what
the problem was, but it seems to be fixed now. He said they unplugged
a bunch of things and plugged them back in, so it’s possible that one of those
connections was loose and is now OK. It’s also possible that the problem has
simply gone away temporarily, and it will stall on the way to work on Monday.
Time will tell.

This is when I hate the fact that I know jack about cars. I can change my own air filter and windshield wipers, but that’s about it. I have a vague idea on how the things work, but there are so many parts that I don’t understand that I am always afraid I’m going to get taken to the cleaners when I go to the garage. I’m worried that I’ll hear “We found the problem — your mixtlflap is burnt out. It’ll be $850 to replace, plus two hours of labour. Replacing the mixtlflap is a serious thing, since you have to remove the flurbnarg first, and you know how hard that is.” Sure I do, that’s the thing that’s right next to the flux capacitor, isn’t it?

The car I rented is a Kia Rio. I’m actually
more impressed with it than I
thought I’d be. It’s reasonably comfortable (at least as comfortable as my
Sunfire), handles pretty well (it’s quite small), and goes pretty fast. I looked
at the speedometer at one point today and was surprised to find that I
was doing 130 — I normally keep it around 110-115. It doesn’t
accelerate as fast as my Sunfire (which isn’t all that fast itself),
and acceleration is very loud, but once you’re at cruising speed (or above!),
it’s very quiet. I haven’t even looked at the trunk, but I suspect it doesn’t
hold very much, and the space in the back is fine for the kids, but I think
that adults would find it rather cramped back there. But it has heated seats (or
as I told Gail yesterday “seated heats”), a CD/MP3 player, power locks and
windows, and remote keyless entry. Not bad for a car that starts at only


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