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fix-it

I've been struggling with transportation. I've got two winter bikes both of which need work and a car, which also needs work. However, thanks to my ignorance, curiosity, and can-do attitude, I discovered what is wrong with my car.

For a month now people have been telling me that something is wrong with the oxygen sensor or something of that sort because, as I put it, my four-wheeled-motorized-vehicle is "idly challenged". Not all the time, but irregularly when in neutral it sounded like I was trying to race some one. My rpm meter would oscillate anywhere between a few millimeters and whole inch depending on lord only knows what. There were a few other weird symptoms that really made me want to call "car talk". Maybe I should still call them just to see if they can figure it out:
Occasionally revving engine (only when in neutral)
My heater would stop working
The engine temperature would go up
When in gear sometimes the car would act jerky - as if I didn't know how to drive a stick (which I swear I do).

Upon recommendation I threw some fuel-injector cleaner in the tank but that didn't do much (that I know of).

Have you diagnosed the problem yet?

Well, to give you a hint, I am a really bad car owner.
For example, I meant to change the oil this summer but never got around to it.

Nor have I checked any fluid levels.
Before taking it to any mechanics I decided to check the fluids and add some oil (it burns a bit - but just a bit!).

I totally needed windshield wiper fluid.
Power steering fluid was bit low but not dying.
Brake and transmission levels were fine - I didn't even know what those reservoirs were before this!
I had to add about a half a quart of oil (I told you it doesn't burn much).

But

The bigger winner was coolant/radiator fluid. It was at the bottom of the reservoir. I added this and drove home. The car acted the same but this morning when I climbed in and went to work I was surprised to notice that the heat worked fine, no jerky action, and best of all - no demon taking over my gas pedal making me appear like a much more obnoxious driver than I really am (I swear! Though my nerves did get a bit worn listing to that rev all the time...).

I could hardly believe it! My car was fixed with a ten dollar bottle of coolant (and only partially used at that).

Unfortunately a car-intelligent friend (who also misdiagnosed the problem!) said that a car almost never loses coolant so there must be a leak somewhere. So alas, the problem is only diagosed properly - not fixed. However, I am thrilled that while identifying the root cause (the leak) at least the symptoms shouldn't be plaguing me so much.

Then, just to add some cream on top - I fixed my windshield wiper blade too (just had to adjust it a bit - the ice knocked it out of whack). My luck seemed to run out when I tried to fix my holiday lights though...

Oh well - if I manage to get my bikes on track so I can actually get out and enjoy this weather I'll be happy as a a guinea pig with a green pepper.

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