When last we left the Mighty Taurus, it had been struck down by a mysterious ailment that defied diagnosis.
Today, a new chapter begins: The Taurus Dies Again.
Since my sister's car work (thus far - we still think something needs adjusting) prompted us to bring the Taurus home, it's mostly been sitting collecting road dust and bird waste in the driveway. We couldn't trust it, what with its bad habit of dying in traffic and not wanting to restart intermittently. It couldn't even be trusted to be untrustworthy. Recently, Dad began trying to force it to stall: he would replicate the last route he drove in which it stalled (out to my job and back to town), and hope it would die as he approached the auto shop. Until today, it hadn't worked. Then we received a call from the cell phone... Yes, the Mighty Taurus stalled out again on the offramp. He tried calling his auto club (Allstate), but they were singularly unhelpful, so we had to try calling a tow truck for him. By the time we managed this, he'd gotten the Taurus restarted and limped into the auto shop, so we had to call and cancel the tow before going down to pick him up.
Part of the flurry of calls during this ten-minute phonefest was a call to the auto shop, so they knew the Taurus was on its way, by tow or not. This Taurus, by now, has quite a long record at this auto shop, so they knew all about it. They were ready for it this time, and gave it a try as soon as it came in. It started fine for them, but Dad, on a hunch, told the mechanic to idle it for a bit. He did, and sure enough the engine stalled out and refused to restart.
Insert the Hallelujeah Chorus here.
This was the moment we've all been waiting for! It had finally acted up in front of a mechanic! Furthermore, by the time Mom and I showed up with Dad's ride home, they finally believed they had a diagnosis! It boiled down to me being right about the electrical system being wonky; no spark, ergo no spark plug action, ergo dead car. They also plan to replace the engine module thingy which we had hoped they would try replacing before, because the only reason it would only pull this at idle is if that module was malfunctioning. And there were a few more thingies and dealies and whatchamacallits that needed adjusting or replacing or sacrificing to. Total damage is expected to be around five hundred bucks, which is less than I could get a reliable replacement.
So there is a very real possibility that I'll get what I really want for my birthday this year: a car I can trust to drive again.
And, after Allstate Auto Club's stellar performance in his hour of need, I think Dad's finally going to listen to us and switch to AAA.