Real problems or false alarms, subtly disguised?  There’s no way of knowing at first.  Meanwhile expect more than a few anxious moments as you’re driving along.

Cruising down the highway altogether relaxed you suddenly hear and feel the car wheels begin bumping.  Instantly you’re put on alert; you’ve had tire problems before.  A flat at this point would be utterly dreadful.  (You’re dressed up, the trunk is packed, and you haven’t checked the spare in ages.)  But could it simply be you’ve come across a pitted or irregular stretch of roadway?  The surface, in fact, does appear uneven.  Still the car continues to roll along.  Were the tire deflating, it should have been flat by now.  You switch lanes hoping to discover a smoother surface.  No difference, however.  Fearing the worst, your grip on the steering wheel grows every tighter and you glance over at the side of the road.  You may, in a few moments, be forced to pull over.

But then, as suddenly as it began, it disappears.  All is smooth once more, tires registering a reassuring hum as you now accelerate to celebrate the joyful release from uncertainty and dread.

You’ve detected a distinct odor within the car.  Repeated inhaling confirms it.  Definitely cause for concern.  A burning smell?  Maybe.  But whatever it is, it cannot augur well as you begin considering everything from frayed, smoldering wire and burst tubing to a medley of escaping gasses.  Leaning forward, nose protruding, you systematically sniff along the surface of the dashboard hoping to uncover the source.  Additionally all indicators are checked for possible clues.  Is it getting worse?  Hard to determine because by now repeated sniffing has blunted your olfactory capacities.

Rolling down the windows allows a stream of air to pour in.  The hope is of course to discover an outside source for the malodorous intrusion.  But the instant chill offers no clues.  And with the windows closed once again, the odor yet remains.  But the good news is there’s no smoke, no flame, no loss of power or any obvious mechanical multifunctioning.  As the minutes pass you begin to breathe easier.  The odor is less apparent, maybe even gone.

And so it is that auto mysteries can be set aside, need not be solved.

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