Tag Archives: auto repair

How a knight in a shiny tow truck saved the day with a bottle of Coke

Having just finished a yoga class I was pretty relaxed when I discovered that my car wouldn’t start.  Greeted by silence apart from an almost inaudible click when I turned the key, it was obvious I wasn’t going anywhere.

With the help of receptionist Amy at Beyond Yoga, I calmly contacted my emergency roadside assistance number.  I was told I would receive a call from the towing company to tell when they would be there to rescue me.  While I waited I checked out the bus times, found the towing company’s phone number, knowing that once the studio closed I would no longer have internet connection.

It was almost closing time and I hadn’t received a call, so it was obvious that the studio would close before tow truck arrived.  Concerned about me having to wait alone and get home by bus Amy offered to drive me home.  However, a call to Sharkey’s thwarted that plan as they don’t tow unattended cars.  So it became a matter of waiting and taking my chances that they would get the car started instead of towed, thereby avoiding a bus ride home and a very late night.

Fortunately I didn’t have to sit in the car for too long before my knight in shiny tow truck arrived.  I had deduced that it wasn’t a battery problem and thought it might be the starter motor.  I  wasn’t far off.

It didn’t take Kyle long to figure out the root of the problem with the hood up, as he watched and listened while I turned the key.  Yes, it was an issue with the starter motor.  At first he was going to tow the car to my garage.  However, he hesitated because he thought he just might be able to get it started, but no promises as he went to his truck for the necessary tools.

Only the tools proved to be nothing more than a bottle of Coke.   “Your not going to pour that over the engine are you?” I asked in disbelief, but as he began to explain that the problem was corrosion, I soon clued in.  “You mean you are going to use it the way they use Coke to clean pennies?”

“Exactly, the contacts are copper,” he replied.  He shone the torch on the green corroded contacts and pointed them out to me.  (I later took a photo of the area while he kindly pointed once more, to ensure I would recognize that part of the engine again and he demonstrated exactly what I had to wiggle).

One bottle of Coke later, when I turned the key, the engine roared into action without hesitation.  The Coke was rinsed off with a bottle of water to remove the residue.  What an amazing trick.

At this point, I could have had the car towed to the garage but Kyle advised that it wasn’t really necessary now and I too could start the car this way as long I was prepared, with a couple of bottles of Coke and a bottle of water.  How simple and how effective.  He even gave me a pair of latex gloves to keep in the glove compartment, so I am ready for action should the need arise in the future.

So thoughtful, and how appreciative I am.   After all, he could have just towed the car to the garage resulting in a repair bill, leaving me to find my way home by bus.  Instead he went that one step further, to try a simple solution that would allow me to drive home and perhaps even avoid a trip to the garage for a job that, obviously, I could do for myself.

So all this to say a great big thank you to two people in our community, who went beyond the call of duty, proving that a little kindness goes a long way.

Amy Pham at Beyond Yoga on Hearst Avenue, Kanata, who was prepared to drive me home, called emergency road assistance for me twice, and stayed later than she normally would.

And Kyle Abraham, on night shifts at Sharkey’s Towing, Iber Road, Stittsville, who did not take advantage of a damsel in distress, but instead solved the problem and gave her a useful lesson in simple, albeit unconventional, emergency auto mechanics.

Janice Blain's car in front of Beyond Yoga in Kanata.
Janice Blain’s car in front of Beyond Yoga in Kanata.

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