One of those mechanic’s spine chilling jobs came in last Thursday. An older lady customer of mine arrived with her 1996 Chevy Lumina with a coolant leak coming from the intake manifold gaskets on her 3.1L V6 engine. These are labor intensive jobs I won’t bore anyone here with. The chilling part happened when I had assembled the job and started the vehicle up. When it started I pushed the accelerator and the throttle jammed. The only thing I had done to the throttle cable was disconnect it from the throttle body. I thought maybe something had hung up on the throttle body but such was not the case. I removed the throttle cable and it was frayed inside the throttle cable casing. I then removed the whole cable from the car, finding my potential nightmare. Where the cable was connected inside the vehicle at the accelerator pedal numerous frayed strands were sticking out. I called the dealer immediately and ordered the cable which won’t be here until tomorrow. It was a bad thing for the customer in that she would not have use of her vehicle until I get the cable.
It was one of those God sends for me which I have been blessed with over the decades. If the cable had not stuck on me, I would have sent the Chevy out with my customer at the wheel driving a time bomb. My nightmare job I could legitimately claim no responsibility for would have been out in the city, or disaster of disasters on the freeway, when the accelerator stuck. Non-mechanics would think ‘no problem, I’ll shut off the car’. True, this would shut the engine down, but it also leaves the driver with no power steering and no power brakes, possibly hurtling down the freeway at seventy miles an hour. With my imagination I can see a scenario of carnage so tragic my blood freezes when I think about it. Needless to say, when my customer asked how much more the cable would add to the job I said no charge – and silently said a prayer in thanks to God it happened to me before I sent her out on the road. My customer and I must have had our guardian angels on alert for this near miss. :)