Saturday, May 3, 2014

The Appendix of the Car

That car part is indeed the heat shield that covers the catalytic converter.  Suburban Correspondent wins!  I want to hire her and my friend JJ (who also answered correctly) to teach an automotive maintenance course.

As for me, I know how to spell ‘catalytic converter’ but I have no idea what one does or why it needs a heat shield.  This is not the first time the heat shield has created trouble.  This time I was about to be really angry that it was causing me problems while I was out of town and without my husband.

But I was surprised when my brother told me that the car didn’t need the heat shield.  He said, “You can take it off and throw it away.  The only reason it’s on there is in case you park on top of dead leaves.  A spark might hit the leaves and start a fire.”  He is a software designer, not a car mechanic.  Why should I believe him? 

My brother very kindly removed the heat shield for me very early Saturday morning.

We had a big party to run at noon on Saturday, so I got up at 7:30 a.m. and drove to the nearest Meineke with the recalcitrant heat shield.  I walked up to the mechanic like a Pharisee approaching Jesus to ask a trick question.  I held up the heat shield and said, “What is this?”  I was not going to give him any clues.

The mechanic smiled and said, “Oh, that’s the heat shield.  You don’t need that.   The only reason it’s on there is in case you park on top of dead leaves.  A spark might hit the leaves and start a fire.” I said, “You mean this is like an appendix?  It’s just really not necessary?  I can drive 250 miles back home without it?”  He said, “Yes, that’s right.  Do you want me to throw it away for you?”  I found myself converted by the truth (having heard it now for the second time), thanked him, and went back to get ready for the party.

The moral of the story is:  always believe my brother about car parts and software.

I wonder if I will remember not to park on dead leaves in the fall.

I took my kindle with me to the car repair place because
I was expecting the repair to take as long as, say,
an emergency appendix surgery.


Green Girl in Wisconsin said...

So it's like a spleen, kind of. A spleen for cars. That SC, so car smart, isn't she?
I'm glad you were able to move forward without a pricey repair.

The Crislers said...

But... but what if you park on top of dead leaves? What if you park on a dead leaf-free space, but some blow under your car and get stuck? What if it happens while you're in your car?

I feel like if this were a movie some very menacing music would be playing right now.