Wednesday, June 04, 2008


AG came back last week. It is nice to be able to talk to him regularly on the phone, not to mention being able to put my arms around him! For once, we both had a three-day weekend off in common, so we seized the opportunity to jump in the car and make a break for it. Our trip was almost ruined before we even got to our destination. After stopping for dinner about 2 hours into the drive, we went back out to my car and it wouldn't start.

In fact, the key wouldn't even turn in the ignition.

I couldn't imagine what the problem could be as I had never had any problem with the key sticking before. We were in a small highway town in the middle of nowhere. There was no Saturn dealership for miles, and it was after-hours on a Friday night. Even if we could get into a dealer early on Saturday morning, our weekend would be wasted.

I was just about to throw up my hands in disgust and call a tow truck. However, tucked inside my wallet I had a roadside emergency key that came with the car in addition to the two sets of keys and remotes. My memory was that it was just a key to be used in the event that I locked my keys in the car, and it would only work in the doors, but not the ignition.

AG suggested we try it anyway, and wouldn't you know it: it worked! It was kind of clumsy to slip the key far enough out of its plastic sleeve to turn in the ignition, but it served us well the whole weekend.

When I got home on Monday, I tried my spare key, but it wouldn't turn in the ignition either. Tired and frustrated, I went in to work my evening shift-- which turned out to be crazy-- 3 GSW's and a bizarre ICU case.

On Tuesday, I got up early to take the car into the dealership. They checked the lock cylinder and said it was ok, that both keys had just gotten too worn down to work any more. The "spare" key was the one that I used almost exclusively for the first few years I had my car, until the remote battery died and I switched over to the second set. However, it worked perfectly fine the last time I used it.

It seems pretty odd to me that both keys would be worn down to an inoperable condition! However, I'll just blame it on Car Gremlins and be thankful that it wasn't a more expensive problem and that our weekend wasn't ruined (pictures later). Just the other day, I had considered removing the roadside key from my wallet because in the 6+ years I'd been carrying it around, I had never needed it. I guess now I will always keep a backup key around.


Chris said...

But it's better to have a car gremlin than to have a Gremlin for a car.

Oh're way too young to remember Gremlins and I doubt there are any on the road anymore;)


~~Silk said...

Old car?
Heavy keyring?
Soft lead keys?
That's weird.

ru said...

You are a good Girl Scout--always prepared!

Karen said...

I have to comment on this - I have had 3 Saturns (1 L-series & 2 VUEs) Both of the VUEs have had this same problem - it happens when the weather gets warm. They service guys were not surprised by this, it must be a Saturn thing.