Sunday, May 11, 2008

Lucky to be alive

Yesterday was not a fun day.

We were headed to a friend's house for a barbeque. After about ten minutes of driving, the ESP (Electronic Stability Program) indicator light came on. I asked Patty to check out the manual to see if it was something serious. Due to a lane closure, the traffic on the highway was stop-and-go. We continued driving for another five minutes and then at one of the short stops, the dreaded "Check Engine" light came on and after I pressed on the accelerator, the car wouldn't move.

CRAP! PANIC! We were stopped in the middle lane of I-10 (a major interstate highway).

No...stay calm...

I turned off the engine and tried again. No luck. I first called DPS to let them know that we were stopped in the roadway. Then I called Audi Roadside Assistance.

A DPS officer came after about 10 minutes. He blocked off traffic and pushed me (using his patrol car) to the side of the road.

As we waited for the tow truck to come, two DPS patrol cars stopped by to see if we were ok. Thank you DPS!

The tow truck came after two hours of waiting (it was about 100 degrees outside and we were roasting in the car). The tow truck was held up in traffic as well, getting to us. Luckily, we had brought a bottle of water along for the ride...

Here's a pic of the car being loaded onto the tow truck (note the traffic in the background):

We arrived at the Audi dealer just as they were closing for the night (and right before they had closed the gates to the parking lot). So lucky...

The tow truck driver unloaded the car. I noticed as he was unloading the car that one of the rear tires went over the truck bed edge rail. I didn't think it was a big deal at the time...

I tipped him and he left. Then I put my key in an envelope and dropped off the key in an "overnight key drop slot".

As were we walking by the car again, we noticed a hissing sound...what the heck...?

CRAP! (#2)

Here's a picture of the tire (see the gash near the "M"...):

Here's the completely deflated tire after five minutes of slow "hissing"...
I called the towing company and they called the driver back (we had to wait about forty five minutes).

Lots of details that I left out in between (involving retrieving the key back from the slot, etc.)...anyways - I don't want to rehash my nightmare. I was more than ready for the day to end.

Although we had a terrible experience, I think we were actually very lucky in many ways. If the car would have stopped in the middle of the highway under normal highway conditions (with normal traffic flow), we could have very easily been rear-ended and things would have turned out far worse.

So while it was (and still is) an inconvenience, I am so thankful that we were able to walk away safely!


Yankee1969 said...

The water pump on my old A4 blew up heading to work one day on the 101. Luckily I made it to Desert Ridge right after it happened and was able to get off the highway safely. That and the ignition plug recall for the 2002s were the only problems I had mechanically with that car in the four years I had it.
Hopefully yours is nothing serious. Sucks about the tire, though. They ain't cheap. Hopefully the tow company will make good.

Darin said...

Man, that's a tough day. I hope everything is fine.

Matthew Davis said...

ouch. sorry to hear about your difficult car troubles.
Can help but thing back to problems with by bug, where one day randomly 3 out of 4 cylinders blew... completely, and for no apparent reason the car would not move above 5 mph... in the middle on the way home from work (highway as well).
Took it back to VW and apparently it was a known problem that they just hadn't gotten a chance to notify drivers of yet. sheesh.
Hope it is a simple fix in the end... or dare you hope - a brand new car!