January 18, 2005

Door Bonking


-- Dick Dietrich

DESPITE THE TITLE -- heh heh heh -- we can assure readers this post is not about that, or anything related to that, at all. No. This deals with something entirely different -- namely, our car.

Like everywhere else in America, New Hampshire has seen its share of patently weird weather over the past week or so. Here in the Granite State, we had rather a lot of rain, and then bone-chilling cold following it. While we were originally thankful for the spate of abnormally warm weather late last week, we have now come to realize it was Satan's handiwork. You see, over the past two days, we have found ourselves facing the troublesome automotive problem known as "door bonking."

"Door bonking" -- as it's called because of the sound that goes with it -- is the opposite of most cold-weather auto troubles. These generally deal with frozen locks and windows that refuse to roll down, things which prevent one from getting into one's car. "Door bonking," on the other hand, means that when one gets into one's car after a cold spell, one finds the door latch gets jammed, and as such one can't close the driver's side door. This is very uncool, as the following things happen:

1) The dome light goes on and stays on, because the door isn't closed. This is often followed by an annoying dinging noise from the car.
2) Because the door isn't closed, a driver may attempt to jimmy it closed using persuasion, brute force, and finally, outbursts of profanity not seen since Drake went after the Spanish treasure fleet.
3) The driver will not drive the car, as he could fall out of it upon making a right turn at an otherwise placid intersection.

It was natural the first instance of this happened on Sunday, when we were rushing to get to work. However, after a few despondent minutes, we realized the severe temperature change in the prior 48 hours -- combined with the humidity -- had somehow caused the car to get annoyed. Therefore, we simply warmed it up, and once the door latch secured, off we went.

Thinking we had solved the problem -- for it did not reappear over the next 36 hours -- we were no longer concerned. However, tonight it happened again -- when we were leaving work. After waiting for the car to warm up, we then realized we needed to Take Drastic Action. Clearly the only option was to go look on the Internet for information.

Well, as it turned out, we were somewhat lucky: we found that applying something called "silicone spray" would act as a water repellent, thus preventing any future freezes. Therefore, we sallied forth to a Very Large Chain Store, knowing for sure the store would have the stuff.

The Very Large Chain Store did not have silicone spray.

This was most annoying. We did, however, learn how this particular chain delivers such amazing returns for its investors. Apparently, they broadcast security-camera images of customers cluelessly wandering around looking for various goods to the staff, all of whom are hiding in a back storeroom. These broadcasts boost employee morale to the point where they work at peak efficiency for the store stocking shelves, thus maximizing revenue flows. Yes, we are bitter -- but quite frankly, when we have to literally walk half the length of a store to find someone, and the only thing they do is page an employee who himself doesn't bother showing up, we don't exactly see Customer Service as a high priority.

In any event, 20 minutes after our futile attempts to actually get an employee to help us look for "silicone spray," the guy at the sporting goods desk informed us the chain did not carry the stuff. We were most amazed at this, because we were sure the Chinese had mastered the production of pretty much everything. But instead, we were told "any hardware store" would carry the spray, and we ought go there.

At this point, we were ready to concede defeat. However, a Helpful Citizen at the weaponry counter came to our rescue. This enlightened soul kindly told us that WD-40 would solve the problem, and displace any moisture affecting our door latch. We, of course, had WD-40 in our car, having found it quite useful for fixing lots of the car's minor ailments. So, we went home and liberally applied the stuff to the affected area, and we closed the door with the lightest amount of force possible.

It shut.

So we would like to offer a public thanks to this Helpful Citizen, who charitably acted as a Good Samaritan and will hopefully have this remembered on the Final Day. Also, we got a kickass extendable snowbrush while we were at the store. Do they even have snow in Guangdong?

Posted by Benjamin Kepple at January 18, 2005 12:04 AM | TrackBack