Monday 28th August – SMOG, The First Step

Right when the clock hit 8am, I started calling the mechanic I wanted to take the car to for a look at the IAC valve and the SMOG. I’d talked to them earlier and even though they were going to charge more than anyone else for the SMOG, he at least seemed happy to give me information so they were my first bet. After calling them five times with no answer over the next hour, I gave up and started calling around. The third place I tried actually had a number that was connected and they were happy to help. I spoke to the boss of Century Automotive and told him about my problem and how I needed the IAC engine code gone before I could pass smog. After a bit of back and forth on the phone, I thought it’d be easier to talk face-to-face so I drove over there, it was only 5 minutes away.

Once sitting in front of the shop’s owner who was an older Asian guy with a no-nonsense personality about him which is just my style. I ran through the Astro’s current status again and he still liked the idea of doing the SMOG test before fixing anything that didn’t necessarily need to be fixed. We went out to the car and he started it in the carpark. He explained that he saw the engine light come on when in RUN, then saw it disappear when he started the car. As far as he was concerned, this meant a pass mark for that section of the SMOG test. Nothing in the test stipulates that engine codes should not appear throughout the test. That was good to know! He offered to SMOG it in the next couple of hours so I took Kylie’s commuter bike out of the back and rode back to base.

Back at Kylie’s house, I did some planning and booked a flight to Phoenix after much deliberation. Since I had a bunch of points with Delta, I paid a whopping $12 for the flight, a price well within my league! Sick of decision making, I watched a bit of John Oliver over lunch until Kylie and the kids came home. Emma was full of beans ready to play but it was time for me to go back to the mechanic and get an update. It wasn’t good news, the Astro had failed for hydrocarbon emissions. My man explained that it was most likely my catalytic converter not doing its job but since I only failed by a small margin, he was confident a fuel additive to clean the system would correct the issue so he sent me away to an O’Reilly’s to get a can of Sea Foam (don’t ask me why it’s called that, I don’t know).

I asked at O’Reilly’s what they knew about this Sea Foam, trying to decide if I was being scammed, and they suggested a better version of the product called “Guaranteed to Pass” (G2P). CRC were so confidence in their product that they offered twice your money back if your vehicle failed an emissions test. That seemed like a pretty solid guarantee to me so I suckered up and bought two bottles. I already had a full tank so I just put them straight in then drove back to D&Ks.

I had to empty the tank of the mixed fuel so I had a lot of driving ahead of me, but shortly after getting home I decided I wouldn’t be doing any of it in the heat of the afternoon. Instead, I played with Emma and Oliver the rest of the day. Emma had a good day at preschool so we were best friends again, playing balloons and watching a bit of Dori on the couch together. When it was near dinner time, we both walked to the pizza shop together, her riding her bike as I carried the hot boxed. Derek was home for dinner and Emma still hadn’t had enough of me, picking me to have a bath with her. We both squeezed into the bathtub and proceeded to play and splash about, getting somewhat clean in the process.

Still besties, we read at least three stories before bed when Mummy took over to tuck her in. The adults were up well past midnight packing and organising.

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