Squeaks and Rattles

Ron Karpinski  1999


A friend of mine owns an old car.  He is always complaining about the funny noises it makes.  He wonders if he should take it to the shop or not.

There is an old corollary at work here: the more squeaks and rattles you hear coming from under the hood of your car, the more money it will cost you.  I tell my friend to do what I do, ignore them.

That's right, ignore them until they become so loud you can't hear your favorite song on the car radio.  Wait until the car grinds to a halt in the middle of an intersection.

Then you know for sure that something is wrong; and, what's more, the service manager down at the local dealership will know it, too.  Believe me, this approach saves a lot of frustration and aggravation in the long run.

How many times have you tried to explain a phantom noise to some deaf mechanic? They are trained to stand there, hands in their pockets, and stare at you as though you are out of your mind.  No more of that for me.

Leave a noise unattended long enough, and it will run its course.  Let that small, ticking noise age into a screaming metal-against-metal screech that hurts your dog's ears.  Eventually, the noise, whatever the cause, will kill the car.  At that point, diagnosis is easy.

Call AAA and tell them to come get the thing and tow it to the nearest dealership.  Now, all you have to tell the service manager is, "Fix it, please."  When he asks what's wrong with the car, you say "It quit running."

Later, when you pick up the car, and it motors off under its own power, you have won the battle.  After all, you got the car back in better shape than you left it.  How often does that happen?  This should keep you smiling until the next strange noise pops up.

Isn't it enough that we must insure these rusting hulks and continuously feed them gas and oil?  Why give our cars better maintenance than we give our own bodies?  When was the last time you took yourself in for a checkup?

Want to hear some real squeaks and rattles?  Listen to my creaking bones when I crawl out of bed in the morning.  Now, that is cause for concern.


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