Is that smoke?

So I’ve known for a while now that I had an oil leak. The billowing clouds of smoke, and the wonderful smell of burning motor-oil was a bit of a give away.

Last week, I finally made arrangements with my mechanic to get it fixed. Tuesday, valve-cover gaskets. While I have the engine open, we’ll do the spark plugs too. Great, says I.
Sunday afternoon. I’m at Borders to pre-order the next Harry Potter. I park the car, and we start walking to the doors. A car pulls up next to us, and the girl in the passenger seat asks us if we’re the folks in the Dark Green Camry.

Why yes, in fact we are.

Well, your cars on fire.

No no, it’s just an oil leak.

With flames.


There were flames out the bottom, like your engine were on fire.

So I hoof it back to the car, and sure enough, the oil that has been dripping on the exhaust manifold and catalytic converter has caught fire. It’s a small fire, but a fire nontheless. After I dance around (the Mystic ‘holy crap my cars on fire’ Dance), the flames sputter out.

So we get our books and our other bits and pieces, and head home. We decide not to drive the car again until we take it to get fixed.

We get bumped to Wednesday.

Wednesday afternoon, I start up the car, and we head to my mechanics. About 3/4 of the way, someone runs up and yells at me through the window that my car is one fire.

Yeah, I know. Is that Douglas Blvd up there?

::shocked look::

We get to the mechanics, pat out the flame with a sweat shirt I had in the trunk, and he gets to work.
Elapsed time 2.5 hours. The Camry v6 is a hellish maze of wires and tubes.
When all is said and done, the car starts up great.

Be careful, says the mechanic. Their might still be a bit of oil dripping down. You might catch on fire again.

No problem, we say, and journey off. We get about .5 miles before someone starts screaming that our car is about to blow. I nod my head, and turn into a gas-station, readying my trusty sweatshirt.
I look under the car, and see a portal to Hades, red with flame and billowing smoke. The tiny little flame from earlier had returned, and brought it’s big brother. I, very calmly, run into the gas station and ask if he’s got a fire extinguisher. See, my cars on fire…
He runs, and returns with sweaty hands and a fire extinguisher.


I spent about 20 minutes under my car tonite, with a couple of shop towels, scraping and rubbing off the oil that had coated the exahust manifold, cat, and numerous other pieces parts.

I’m happy to say, no more fire and the smoke, finally, is gone.
How was your evening?

Now THAT could (potentially) have earnt you a Darwin Award!


Wow. I just laid my car to rest after it began leaking a quart of oil every 25 miles, and I never thought that it had the potential to catch on fire! I guess I was lucky.

Good news. After a day of running, no more fires, and minimal smoke.

This weekend I’m getting under it with a scrubbrush and some simple green, and hopefully I can get rid of the rest of the smoke.