Come on, you know you want to.
For circumstances that are not relevant to the matter at hand, a friend occasionally allows me to drive her car. Today was one of those days. I hopped in the car (a Buick–not sure of the exact date it was made, but probably '95-'98). I drove about four miles, shut off the car, left for about ten minutes, started the car again, and drove about half a mile down the road–no sign of car trouble.
I stayed there for about an hour, during which time the car was sitting out in a very hot sun. The temperature was somewhere between eighty and ninety degrees (Fahrenheit! ). When I got back in the car to drive home, I noticed that the turn-signal indicator on the dashboard wouldn’t blink or make clicky noises (that’s the technical term for it, don’t you know), and that the Anti-Lock Brake System light on the dashboard was on. I really ought to have let the car be, but I did have one more errand to run, so I went out again immediately after I’d driven back home (three miles).
I drove to another place that I would estimate to be about three miles away. During the drive, I noticed that the turn-signal lights still wouldn’t work (I’m somewhat doubtful as to whether the outside lights were working), that the ABS light was still on, and that the Brake light (which I have always understood to mean that the emergency brake is engaged) was on. I checked the emergency brake, but I hadn’t accidentally engaged it.
I hurried up to run my errand, and came back within about five or ten minutes. When I went to restart the car, the engine sputtered several times before I could get it to start. The situation was still the same with the turn-signal lights and the brake lights.
I drove home with fear and trepidation and immediately telephoned a fellow who is somewhat vaguely knowledgeable about cars. This fellow came over about twenty minutes to half an hour later; he popped the hood and drove it around the block, and said that no Scary Indicator Lights had gone on for him.
“Maybe it’s just all this heat?” I asked.
“Maybe,” he said doubtfully. “When’s the last time this car had its oil changed?”
Of course, I hadn’t any idea, as the car doesn’t actually belong to me, and I’m afraid to say that my friend was equally ignorant when I asked her.
This fellow said that the car was most likely safe to drive, and I telephoned my friend to let her know about all this business, whereupon she said that I was still free to drive the car for the rest of the day.
Several hours later (it was evening, and considerably cooler), I drove to a friend’s house (I would estimate it’s about five to six miles away) and drove her back to my place for a visit. No noticeable car troubles. She stayed for about two hours; I drove her back home, not noticing any problems with the car. Then I decided to go for some late-night fast food, and we all know how late-night fast-food drive-throughs are.
Everybody shout it out: CROWDED!
I was probably there for twenty minutes or half an hour with the car on (I was downright terrified to turn it off), and during that time, the ABS light came on again, and the turn signals started not clicking/blinking again (although they did work later on in the drive).
All in all, I would estimate that I had the car on for a good hour during that last trip, and when I came back, the ABS light was on, but not the brake light, and the dashboard indicators for the turn signal were failing to blink/click.
When I told this story to my friend, she cast upon me the kind of cold and speculative look that just screams, “La Llorona, dear, you were driving it at the time, so don’t you think it would be only fair…?” I’m positive I’ll end up paying at least half of whatever the repairs cost.
Yes, I realize that I do not know you and that you are not my mechanic and that this is not a legally-binding car trouble diagnosis, etc. But what, based on that information, do you consider would be likely to be wrong with this car? What repairs would need to be made for a car with that type of problem, and roughly how expensive are they?
(P.S. Oh, and I should also mention that I have lately noticed a very faint, high-pitched whirring noise upon pressing the accelerator.)