My Car Lost Power Going 60mph

Posted On: 2012-03-02

After having breakfast at my mom's restaurant I left Seattle ready to go home, put the kids down, and relax. Little did I know I was in for a really long delay in getting home, no naps for the kids, a missed meal, and no relaxing for me.

As I left Seattle and headed north on I-5 over the Ship Canal Bridge my car suddenly flickered the dashboard lights and then lost all power. It took only a millisecond for me to realize just how serious this was. There was no shoulder, I was not in the far right lane, I had no way to indicate to the other cars why my car was losing speed so fast, I had both my kids in the back seat. As I gathered my thoughts, I began inching into the slow lane which opened up at just the right time.

I watched in my rear view mirror as the cars had to quickly slow down behind me and I prepared for impact. Thankfully no cars ended up hitting each other or my car while I coasted to the NE 45th St exit which did have a small shoulder I could park on.

Once I was on the off ramp my hands were shaking so bad, I called my husband and told him what happened and that the car wouldn't start. I called the roadside assistance that came with the warranty on the car and was told they could be there within 30 minutes once the call is scheduled. I called my mother in law to come pick up my oldest because the tow truck only allows 1 passenger. I wasn't sure what I was going to do with my daughter, her car seat doesn't fit in my mother in law's car.

While I waited in the car a police officer pulled up and informed me I was under surveillance and then quickly added "Are you okay?" I explained what happened and he said he'll swing by later and check on me and to put my seat belt back on.

Forty-five minutes later the tow truck arrived but I couldn't roll down my window to talk to him, so he stood in the traffic so I could open my door. I got out and he said it was my alternator and began lowering his truck bed until I told him that something looked weird with the battery. Sure enough the positive charge cable had popped off causing the power outage. He put it back on and my hazards began flashing (because I turned them on when I first lost power despite there not being power).

My car started and he advised me to take the exit I was on and go to Jiffy Lube. Once there my mother in law picked up my son and the guys working there found there was a missing nut and a nut that couldn't get tight enough even with their work on it. I had to go to the dealership next.

I waited at the dealership for more than an hour and a half, my daughter was a bit tough to handle with the missing nap and all. Thankfully she is still breastfeeding so I was able to nurse her while we waited. By the time they "fixed" it, it had already been 3 hours since I left my mom's restaurant. I say "fixed" because all they did was insert two little pieces of metal inside the clamp instead of just replacing the clamp.

I left exhausted, ready to pick up my son. Upon arriving I was mortified to see that the slightly puffy eye he had on the side of the freeway had turned into something MUCH MUCH worse. I'll cover that next Friday.

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