by Marlene Berlin
On recent Saturday, a close friend was driving in from Baltimore to help me celebrate my birthday. She was supposed to arrive by 11, and we planned to explore the Southeast DC riverfront and Yards Park.
At 11:30, she had yet to arrive, and I started fretting. But I soon received a phone call. She was having car trouble. Her engine light had come on, and she had pulled off the Beltway at a gas station on University Avenue.
When she opened the hood to check the oil, the plastic tube into which you put the dip stick had broken off. Otherwise, she had not a clue what was wrong. And, she could not get any advice since the mechanics at this service station did not work on weekends. She decided to put some new oil in the engine to see if that would turn off the warning light. She would call me back.
I knew that there was a service station that does car repairs on the weekends – and it’s right in our neighborhood. I called our local BP Amoco at Connecticut and Fessenden. It took care of our Dodge Grand Caravan well into its senescence and my daughter’s first car, an old Volvo. The mechanic told me if the warning light was yellow, she could drive the car to the station, and they would check it out. If red, she should leave it where it was. I called her back and left this message with their telephone number.
My friend ended up driving her car in, and they hooked it up to their diagnostic equipment right away. They found an air leak in one of the hoses. She needed to get it fixed soon, but the car could make it back to Baltimore. I walked over meet her, and we went to Terasol for a delightful lunch. After lunch, I took her to see a different kind of waterfront: the Broad Branch stream daylighting project. She was not disappointed.
Walking back to the car parked by the Amoco station, we stopped in to say thank you. I wanted to personally thank John Conner, the owner, for having weekend hours to take care of such emergencies, and mechanic Yaneudis (Jay) Alcantara, who did the diagnostic workup.
So, if you, a family member or friend gets stuck with car problems over a weekend, I recommend you call or head to Connecticut Avenue BP, 5001 Connecticut, 202-244-6975.