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Car Emergency on the NLEX

September 12 - Today, we went to visit Uncle Dennis and his family in Pampanga. This time, we were joined by Stevie and his family as well. It was a good time spent catching up, mostly it was Stevie and Uncle Dennis because we were there recently. Around 5 PM, Stevie announced we were going home and so we packed up and left.

Immediately after exiting the tollway station, Stanley (for those who don't remember, Stanley is the name of our car) just started to shake and the steering wheel was really going crazy. We immediately stopped at the shoulder of the road. We tried driving slow to see if it was caused by the speed. It wasn't. Even if we were traveling at 20km/hour there was a minor "wiggle" to the car that can't be ignored. So we decided to stop at the nearest gas station to have a mechanic check the problem and if it's possible, to fix it. Surprisingly enough there wasn't a mechanic available at the Caltex Station. They gave us a number to a mechanic in San Simon whom we had to wait for. When he arrived 30 minutes later, he looked at the tires pronounced them unfit, released some of the pressure and sent us on our way. Oh and he told us that there was an accident on the Southbound lane of the NLEX. What a joy! right!

So on we went, it was now 6 PM. Oh and we let Stevie and his family go on ahead because the kids were getting fussy. And when you're traveling you don't want fussy kids in the car LOL

We were moving again but the wheels were still a problem. I asked Patrick to stop and call the emergency service of NLEX using their phone on the side of the road. That's what they're there for, right? So that in itself was an adventure for Patrick LOL Because he said, it wasn't technically a phone but a box - a talking box LOL He wanted to take a picture but it was getting dark and it was drizzling. Perfect timing and weather for your car to breakdown.

He talked to someone, they said they'll send the nearest Patrol Car (which happened to be a few minutes away at the scene of the accident we just passed LOL) They examined the car, said it was something else that was the trouble. Finally, we decided we can't go on like this forever and so we asked them the rates for towing. P1,200 up to the nearest exit which was Pulilan. P4,200 up to the end of the NLEX, further than that, they charge more of course. hmm.. so that kept us thinking LOL

And so we thought. And the solution at that time was to call Sharon (my sister) and have Jowell (her husband) tow us back to Manila by any means necessary LOL But that didn't pan out because as the Patrol guys said, only the accredited towing service of NLEX is allowed to tow vehicles there. The option was, we get towed to Pulilan have them pick us up there and then use the McArthur Highway to get back to Manila. So that was our option. Better, P1,200 than P4,200 LOL

When the towing service came, it was from AAP or the Automobile Association of the Philippines.. Woohoo!! We were members which meant we didn't have to pay the P1,200!! hahahah one less problem solved LOL

They towed us to Pulilan and they recommended a car shop who can probably fix Stanley. By that time, Sharon and her family arrived in Pulilan too and Jowell was there at the shop with a watchful eye.

They replaced the left wheel with the spare tire. They fiddled with something. Jowell test drove it. It seemed to work fine. So we were off, no towing necessary but we were running at 40km/hr on the shoulder of the road because it was still wiggling. The steering kept fighting with Patrick.

We arrived at the house around 12. The kids were tired. We were tired but we arrived safe though not so sound LOL In our stress, we even landed on the truck lane at the exit tollgate because we were concentrating on every sound and move that Stanley was making, we didn't notice that the lanes were widening LOL

Monday morning, we took Stanley to my aunt's vulcanizing shop and one look at Stanley's underside and we saw the problem. The CV joints were busted. Not the tie rod, not the wheels. The CV joints were blown out, bearings gone, it was a surprise they didn't break off too, the mechanic said. Got those parts replaced from Banawe (original parts for P3,000) each.. expensive but at least they're not surplus.

And Stanley was as good as new.. well sort of :) Here are the pictures, forgive them if they're dark LOL
The Towing Truck

Preparing to get Stanley on the truck

Stanley on the truck. As Dana said, Stanley has his own driver now :)

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