Honky Cat

July 6, 2014

So Peter got his driver’s license on Thursday the 3rd, and seeing as how it was his first day of driving, we cut him a lot of slack.

Sure, take the car, drive all over the place, knock yourself out.

He was on a cloud, so happy to drive by himself anywhere he wanted–to see friends, go get Subway, go to the creek to swim, or just drive. ┬áHe did all that. I even gave him my credit card so he could fill the tank. I’m sure he put in a lot of solo miles going absolutely nowhere in particular and felt like a totally rad teenager.

As far as we were concerned, this was exactly as it was supposed to be.

He ended up at a friend’s for a sleepover with a bunch of other guys and planned to return in the morning. Which he did.

But on his drive back home, he experienced a problem. Every time he turned the wheel, the horn would sound. At first he thought people were honking at him, but then realized it was his horn. It would sound long and loud for the duration of the turn which was confusing and embarrassing. And I guess people were staring. Mortified by this, he found a route with the fewest turns possible and ended up driving past our house, parking a couple blocks up the street. I’m not sure exactly what this accomplished, but I’m gathering panic had a lot to do with it.

He walked into the house saying something like, “Something’s wrong with the car,” looking shell shocked and laughing nervously.

He also mentioned that he’d been playing with a quarter (while driving!?) and maybe this had something to do with it…?

Parental units exchange pained, confused expressions.

Cutting to the chase, this is what happened: Peter was tossing around a quarter and it managed to lodge itself into a gap on the steering wheel between the horn and the airbag assembly. Or some such thing. So Jim, being Jim, did some Honda CRV airbag/steering wheel research and came up with a plan.

He disengaged the battery (so the airbag wouldn’t explode on him while taking apart the steering wheel), then proceeded to take apart the steering wheel.

Here are some pictures:

The steering wheel and airbag assembly, with nice fat gaps into which quarters can fall (should one be playing with a quarter while driving):




What it looks like after you’ve removed the airbag:






A close up of the slot where the quarter lodged… see it?… middle of picture, just above that yellow thing:





And now, quarter gone, steering wheel back together, turns executable without embarrassing honks. Yay.

And, all this is okay because Peter learned a couple things–how to open a hood, how to disconnect a battery–and that with some research and tools, there are some problems a person can address, certain things are easily fixed… stuff like that.

We’re thinking it might be a good idea for him to take some kind of car repair class to further demystify that freedom-on-wheels contraption he now has a license to drive.