New Castle News

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February 1, 2014

Josh Drespling: If you can’t take the heat — get outta my car!

NEW CASTLE — I've found that my body really can't tell the difference between 4 degrees above zero and 10 below.

You may wonder how I know such a weird fact about myself. It is quite simple. The heater in my car has not worked since late last spring.

It was not a big deal back then, and I was able to squeak through the last few cool days of April and May. It really didn’t take much fortitude to withstand 40-degree weather.

I nearly forgot about the entire problem as spring progressed into summer. Who needs to worry about a heater when you are cruising around town with the wind blowing through your ever-decreasing, yet incredibly sexy, hair.

Before I knew it, the days were growing shorter and shorter and the nights were becoming cooler. As the foliage began to cast its golden glow on us through the brisk fall air, I still had that nagging thought in the back of my head about fixing the heater. However, procrastination and proverbial laziness won out every time.

Thus, my heater remained in its state of ill-repair.

I knew exactly what the problem was. I had put a “fail-safe” thermostat in my car and now it was stuck in the full open position. The “fail-safe” thermostat is a lifesaving automotive innovation. If the car happens to overheat and reaches a certain temperature, the thermostat will lock in the open position, allowing coolant to circulate freely. However, this mass flow of cooling chemicals completely eliminates the output of hot air through the heating system.

Fast forward to mid-January and our frigid Pennsylvania winter. We are encompassed in a Polar Vortex. That just sounds scary. In fact, it has been so cold lately that school has been canceled many times and countless people are having problems with their pipes freezing. The city of Pittsburgh even gave their Public Works employees the day off last week due to the cold.

And here I am, driving around with no heat.

I have nearly an hour drive into Pittsburgh each day, and I leave around 4 a.m. I must look like some kind of Eskimo refugee with my extra jackets, scarves, and blanket covering my legs.

It has been impressively cold the last few weeks. So cold that my fingers and toes have been numb, and I can feel the sting of the cold on my face. I shiver and shake my way down the road, all the while cursing my own procrastination.

Enough was enough, and I finally chiseled out some time from my busy schedule to do the repair. I am happy to report that after an hour or so under the hood, I now have blazing-hot heat pumping from my car. I can now be seen driving around with the windows down and the heat on high.

I'm soaking in as much of the heat as possible after weeks and months of frigid drives, the sauna that my car has become is like a little bit of heaven.


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