My Truck Check Engine Light is My Tarot

creepper collage

It’s been a while since I’ve added anything to the ol’ blog.  I have had some significant life changes that make me feel a bit held back regarding having anything significant to add to the blog.  I have been working full time for 2 years now at a permanent maintenance electrician position with the federal government. Maintenance is a lot different than construction, we do not do major installations, we maintain them.   So I find myself assisting contractors to do the major work by helping them with gaining access, and with lock out tag out procedures. It’s awesome, I think its my dream electrical job.

I could also tell you about how I have concluded that I look at my check engine light the way some of my friends look at their Tarot cards.  It helps me come in contact with my higher self. When it flashes at me, I take a minute to consider my life choices and ponder if I am on the right path, or if perhaps there is something I could change to better myself, or to improve my relationships. I  will then pull the car over to the side of the road and turn the engine off. Since it is a dodge, I turn the key on and off into run three magic times, and voila the check engine code flashes before my very eyes on the dashboard where the kilometer usually are.  

Let’s go back in time two years ago, to when the check engine light first started coming on.  It was showing the code for evap leak p0456. I investigated underneath and discovered my evap canister was broken and some of the hoses were cracked and falling apart.  I also remembered the truck had been driven over a pylon when I let the person I was living with at the time drive it, that could have been what did the damage. It didn’t bother me too much and didn’t seem too sketchy to drive it like that. So I continued to drive with my new friend check engine light coming on, significant also because that’s when things started to go sour in that relationship.  

 Check yourself, my Tarot engine light was saying to me.  That is also when I started my amazing job that I love. Its regular hours of work, guaranteed hours of work. Plus all the perks of federal employee workers, such as paid sick days, paid vacation days, family related paid days off, paid personal days off, health and dental care coverage, and a huge union to work with regarding negotiating contracts. I find myself out numbered by old men, many of whom are looking forward to retirement soon.  This is good news for other people interested in scooping up these awesome jobs, so keep your eyes open for the postings that turn up on the federal government job posting page only. 

  I tried putting a new gas cap on just like I tried talk therapy with the ex. I moved out. We were done. I bought a used evap canister at the junk yard and swapped that out along with a few hoses.  The light went off for a while and I was happy.

But not for long. My old friend check engine came back on, only this time it flashed a p0300, random misfire.  This was strange because it otherwise ran well. Is it because I’m in a new relationship? The job is going well, minimal conflict.  The comic of the weeks to document and deal with workplace uncomfortableness and harassment were at an all time low as I got comfortable in my routine, seeing the same people everyday, performing the same preventative maintenance, inspections, and repairs.  

The new relationship is also going well. Really well.  He came over to help me with the spark plugs, and just ended up changing them all for me.  He noticed there was a possible problem with one of the coils. We noted it, reset the codes by disconnecting and reconnecting the battery. It drove without check engine for a while.  

Then it came back on. P0300 was back. Check yourself it said to me. I reflected on myself.  I worried about it enough to be stumped and decided to take the truck to a mechanic because for the life of me I could not get rid of the check engine light. The mechanic did not fix the problem. They just  changed the spark plugs again and put in a new battery. I now feel better about not being able to solve it myself.

My work sent me away on a course and I had to leave right after getting the truck back. It threw a p0302 code. Cylinder 2 misfire. Maybe check engine was telling me to stop going away so much for work.  I find traveling for work stressful. It’s hard being away from home and doing a lot of driving to ensure my dog was taken care of, and the course was hard to experience. It made me feel good to solve at least one problem. I knew this meant I needed to focus on cylinder 2. So I replaced the coil on that cylinder. Reset the codes by disconnecting and reconnecting the battery.   I drove it a few days without the check engine light returning, but, alas, like an old friend, my check engine light eventually came back on.

 A p0300, then a p2097. Thats an engine misfire code, post catalyst fuel trim system too rich bank 1. Have I been misfiring in how I act to my people?  Do I need a new catalytic converter? Is the truck upset because I have been talking about replacing it with a more fuel efficient vehicle that handles better in the snow?  Is the truck upset because it’s not a Toyota?  WAIT. I just checked the codes again. Its showing only p0300 now, and the p2097 went away.  Maybe it was the chevron gas it liked….

I think I’m ready for a new vehicle, as I have learned when to quit.  I have spent the last 3 years learning about the dodge truck and myself, and how to do the self care required to keep things running smoothly and generally feel happy and content.  I have also been learning about two massive organizations that I am now tied to: the federal government and the Public Servants Alliance of Canada Union. They are very complicated systems, as fascinating as truck and its Tarot check engine light.  I am in my glory, feeling as thought muddling through an apprenticeship was completely worth every horrible minute that I spent learning about endurance, acceptance, being methodical and efficient. To conclude, even though I am no longer apprenticing as an Electrician, I am still learning, and continue to use all of the surprise skills I learned. As I sit in my truck and sigh at the check engine light mystery, taking the time to ponder my Tarot check engine light personal meanings, I have decided, I am getting a new vehicle soon.


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