Disney Road Trip, part 5: When things go wrong.

This will be my final installment in this series and I think this very well may cover the reason why people are nervous to do road trips.  What do you do when things go wrong?

Trust me.  It’s a valid concern.

As you can tell from some of the first installments of this series, I know that its important to keep your vehicle maintained and ready for the trip.  The things that you get fixed are most likely items that you need to get fixed anyway.  Might as well get them done now to prepare for your trip.

But things can, and do, go wrong.

A few years ago, I had the engine replaced in my truck.  I got a new rebuilt engine from GM.  It was a great investment.  During my first trip with this engine, things were going fine.  All of a sudden, a little light came on the dash.  “Service Engine Soon.”

My heart sank.  What the heck can it be?

I subscribe to OnStar.  And while I don’t usually plug things in this blog, let me say that it gave me some piece of mind.  I hit that little button on my mirror and they were able to tell me that it was a random misfire.

A misfire?  I never felt anything that would indicate such.  So I got the code from the advisor and kept going.

The light eventually went off.  But it came back on.  Called OnStar again.  They told me the same thing.  Truck was running great – so I kept on going.  I attributed the issue to going through some hilly terrain.

Once I got home, I checked things out but could not determine the issue.  The issue never came back up… Until the next time we went to Florida.  Thats right – I have some odd thing going on where as soon as I go south out of the state, the light comes on.  Ive never been able to understand it.  Its been doing this for 4 years now.  Does it come on any other time?  No.  Its enough to make a person go mad.

But it goes to show that sometimes you just need to know your vehicle.

Last week, that light came on a few times as we went to WDW.  I just brought my scan tool, checked the codes, send myself some data, and reset it each time.  No biggie.

However, an unexpected issue came up that I would have never suspected.  My speedometer went out on me.  For a while, it got stuck at 45 MPH.  Later, 45 was the new zero and when I was going 70, it said I was going 110 MPH. It eventually reset itself, but I kept verifying my speed with my GPS.  But that brings me to  some of my tips as to what to do if something goes wrong:

  • First off: Don’t panic!  Really – don’t.  Not every issue is going to ruin your trip.  Take a moment to figure things out.  Using my speedo issue as an example, in a few moments, I realized that my trip computer, fuel gauge and other indicators were not impacted.  The problem was isolated to just my speed and my GPS just took its place.
  • If you need to act fast, like if your oil pressure bottoms out or your car starts to overheat or if you blow a tire, calmly move to the side of the road safely.
  • Don’t Panic!
  • Have an idea of where you are.  Most GPS units and phones will help pinpoint your exact location.
  • Don’t Panic!
  • Google the problem.  It may be something simple like a fuse blowing causing an issue.
  • Don’t Panic
  • If you think you can’t resolve things yourself, call 911, OnStar or other assistance venues.  Even calling your insurance company if you have roadside assistance can be a benefit.
  • Did I mention not panicking?

Personally, I am one of those people that just want to get to my vacation in one piece and without delays.  Coming home – I can have all the delays I want.  I just learned that you may not control everything that happens, but keeping your cool is always the first step.



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