So if you’ve been following this misadventure, you’re probably wondering what the issue with my car ended up being. Well, I couldn’t have told you to save my life. But the various people I talked to, including the CDOT employees that rescued us, thought it sounded like an alternator issue.
If that’s all it turned out to be, while I wouldn’t say I’d be happy, I’d at least be relieved. I mean, a new alternator is an easier fix than a whole new engine. And like most things, once a problem has a name, it’s easier to deal with.
The shop across the way was able to take my car, started looking into the issue. Long story short (ironic, I know), the alternator was fine. The belt, however, was not. Apparently the “thunk” I heard was a bolt breaking. I’m not sure if the bolt knocked the belt loose, or vice versa. But looking back, I think it was the belt. I had noticed some squealing earlier, like several weeks ago. But only when the mornings were cold and wet. I thought the problem might go away on its own, but of course it didn’t.
Once the problem was fixed, I was on the road shortly. I also had the mechanics throw in a new battery; turns out my 10-year-old car was still running on its original battery. And since I didn’t want to get stranded yet again, I traded money for peace of mind, like a real adult!
Hopefully I’ll learn something from this. Something like “Don’t wait to take care of weird automotive sounds” or “Ignoring problems doesn’t make them go away.” But in the end, everyone was fine, the dog was a trooper, I’m out a bit more money than I planned, and got to spend some time in hot water. Honestly, it could have been a lot worse.