Yes the car we just bought less than a month ago. It went boom. We were in the middle of our road trip vacation from the boat, driving to Constanza, which is high up in the mountains of DR. We could see that our little car was struggle with heat issues going up those mountains so we were taking extra precautions, stopping often, refilling the coolant tank, making sure not to push it too much, and Eben actually said out loud, “when we get there we will take it in to check the radiator fluid, coolant and oil”.
We had reached Constanza, we were in the home stretch towards our hotel when we thought we took a wrong turn and went to turn the car around. It got stuck in a dip between the roads and as Eben put it in reverse it went “boom”. Then we saw what you never want to see, smoke coming out from under the hood.
There we were, the gringos, stuck between two roads, our nose blocking one street and our tail blocking another. Eben lifted the hood and there was oil everywhere, except in the oil tank. Tried starting it but it wouldn’t turn over and only spurts flying out of the radiator. Crap.
It wasn’t too long before some locals came to help us out. They pushed our car out of the way of traffic and tried to assess the damage. It was decided we needed a mechanic but that it was not safe to leave our car there or it would get robbed. These guys towed us up the hill to the nearest hotel, it just happened to be the one we were trying to find. However once we were there we found out the rooms were about 50% pricier than we would’ve liked, but what can we do? We have no car and our car has now been towed into their parking lot. We accept to take one of their rooms and hope that if we end up stranded here for a few days while we get the car fixed they will give us a discount.
This is when the intriguing part began. The guy that towed us went off to look for a mechanic for us. Then another guy that was at the original breakdown site shows up saying the tower couldn’t find a mechanic and that he could take us to see his brother who is in the next town over to pick him up and bring him to fix it. . .dodgy? YES. We turned that offer down, politely said we would get back to him tomorrow if we needed help. Then the tower shows up saying his mechanic friend can come tomorrow in the morning and to give him a call. And lastly the worker from the hotel went and found his cousin’s husband, also a mechanic, and he assessed our car as having a broken head gasket. We trusted the third mechanic (and the hotel worker) most and so made plans to meet with them tomorrow. Everyone wanted a piece of this action.
Hopefully this all goes smoothly (because my spanish barely covers ” car mechanics”) and doesn’t cost us too much (taking into account the “foreigners’ tax).