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Your Engine Valve is Burnt

“Your engine valve is burnt” are not the exact words you expect to hear when you drop off your car for regular maintenance. Then again, regular maintenance for me has always been one of those items that fell on the back burner. Anyways, while driving to the Messiah College basketball tournament this past weekend I noticed that my car started shaking a bit more than usual. In the past couple of years I’ve had a lot of work done on the car and even replaced parts with names such as Starter, Distributor, Battery, Constant Velocity (CV) Joints, Alternator, Tires and even had my entire Exhaust System replaced (I’ve intentionally capitalized the letters to stress the importance of such parts). Furthermore, the car has been broken into twice so any problems I have with the car I automatically associate with such incidents. So based on this history I convinced myself that if anything were to cause the car to shake so violently it would probably be the lack of oil, something that I repeatedly forget to fill, or some rodent that had decided to take refuge in the warmth of the engine. Alas, such false hope.

As of yesterday, my first car, the trusty 4 piston 1990 Honda Accord with 186,000 miles and counting is now running on 3 pistons all because of a burnt engine valve. Seeing that the value of my car had fallen drastically over the years, my friendly mechanic did not have to say much to convince me that it would be quite pointless to try and repair the car one more time. And with those words I will soon begin the horrifying experience of trying to find a replacement for a car that drove me to my first job, got me through graduate school, many internships, trips to the store and various cities and most of all an experience I would never trade.

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