Car trouble

It is deafening, the sound.

I turn to my husband: “What’s the matter with the car?”

He’s driving. He looks perplexed. “What do you mean?”

“That droning sound. It’s so loud.”

“Oh, that. It’s just the road.”

This is a man who once worked at a major auto parts store. Granted, he took the job because he needed one if we were going to get married, long, LONG ago, when he was twenty-three and I was just turning twenty…he jokes that all he knew about cars at the time is you put gas in them.

Ahem. How much has he learned since?

“It’s NOT just the road! My car doesn’t make this noise on this road! We’re not on a steel drawbridge or anything.” (Anyone who’s ever driven across a metal draw on a bridge will know what I mean. It’s a loud, hollow, wiggly sound, directly related to the sensation in one’s stomach).

This droning sound changes with acceleration and deceleration.

“I think it’s your tires.”

Eventually he checks his tires, after I say the noise is so unnerving that I won’t ride with him anywhere else until he does. I am imagining blowouts, being stranded on the roadside, swerving in traffic when anything could happen… although I looked at the tires myself and thought they had okay-looking treads (confession: I am clearly not a car-ish kinda person, either).

He gets four nice new tires.

I happily climb into the passenger side to ride with him to… I forget, actually…when:


“IT’S STILL MAKING THAT SOUND!” I exclaim (shout? holler?).

“Well, it’s not AS loud,” he says, driving right along.

“YES IT IS! Something’s not right. This sounds like go-carts I rode as a kid. Only louder.”

He then informs me his friend tells him it may be a hole in the muffler.

He still does not seem to be concerned about driving this car.

I do not understand it.

At all.

And by the way, the tire-changing establishment told him, when they loaded him up with the four nice new tires, that he needed some brake work also.

I am getting suspicious.

He gets the brake work done and mentions to the establishment that he (and in particular, his wife) still hears the droning sound.

The establishment says: It’s probably something in your transmission. We don’t do that kind of work. You will have to take it to a full-service auto repair.

But they fix up his brakes quite nicely, graciously throwing in a couple of coupons, which is akin to throwing a cup of water on a raging bonfire… moving on, however…

Of course the droning continues. I ride with my husband to the grocery store. This is when we encounter two beautiful, fly-masked horses trotting along the backroads, completely unattended, but that is another story. I’ve begun to feel like imagery of potential harm and disaster is practically screaming at me with every turn. We manage to get home (apparently the horses did, too, as we would have heard otherwise from friends…in the countryside, news travels fast, especially if it’s bad).

I look up all the possible things that could be making the droning sound.

One of them is bad wheel bearings.

“Did the tire-brake people ever say anything about your wheel bearings?” I ask.

“Oh yeah, they checked ’em. Said they were fine.”

Something is definitely NOT fine…and it better NOT be a bearing.

Today my husband takes the car to a full-service repair, local, privately-owned, folks who’ve been in the area forever. Reputable and reliable.

A few hours later, a call: It’s a bearing….

Alrighty then.

As soon as the bearing is repaired and we are allowed to get that car, I will be riding with my husband straight to the former tire-and-brake establishment to have, shall we say, a discussion.

And I better NOT hear the tiniest hint of droning along the way…

Car Trouble. Jan Tik.CC BY 2.0


with thanks to the Two Writing Teachers community for the weekly Slice of Life Story Challenge. Life is full of challenges, is it not. The writing challenge, at least, is a welcome one…

11 thoughts on “Car trouble

  1. My husband and I have various opinions too about what the car sounds could be. We’ve been fortunate to have a trusted mechanic give his more reliable diagnostic opinion. Fun story that had all kinds of overwhelming possibilities.


  2. The comment about the coupons is hilarious and reminded me of when we ate at a seafood buffet while at the beach, and the website offered two dollars off our bill; not two dollars per adult, but off the final bill. 🙄


  3. Can I tell you how nice it is to have a husband who knows cars and who knows how to work on them, or would that be impolite? 😉 I had a bearing go out on my car years ago so fancy myself somewhat of an armchair mechanical sideline expert, too. Anyway, it is worrisome to *know* something is wrong and not know what or be told it’s nothing. My car is no longer under warranty, despite its age being under three years, and I worry something very expensive will go wrong. I voiced this concern prior to my recent road trip, and my husband told me to trade it in if I had any problems. Fortunately, all went well and the car is ready for its next road trip.


  4. Fran, I’m so thrilled to see the feisty and spunky side of you! I love, love, love your voice and hear the passion and determination to make things right about the car. Why do our men never hear the tics and dings and drones and roars that we hear??? I love this piece!


  5. Fran, this post strikes a chord with me. We’ve been having…shall we say…a fair amount of roundabout with different mechanics about a couple of our cards. A full brake job here, new tires and transmission there, to the shop and back again to fix things that were done incorrectly the first time…whew. All of which is to say I get this post! And thank heavens for your perseverance in trying to figure out what that galdurn noise was to begin with!


  6. You took me on a car ride with you and it was, unnerving. Would you get stranded on the side of the road, in the middle of traffic, some place in the middle of nowhere? My favorite line: throwing a cup of water on a raging bonfire. I have a baby heart attack any time I hear a weird sound or notice something that feels “off.” I’m glad you finally got answers and were able to get rid of the droning sound.

    Liked by 1 person

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