Car is broken, we are stranded

46 posts in this topic

Our car suddenly switched off while taking and exit from a motorway, nothing weird, no overheat, just off. I tried to switch it on and it was like the battery was gone, but then suddenly it turned on but making a weird noise in the engine, we were about to reach our destination so I just drove and when we arrived I called the ADAC. They checked and said the engine had almost no oil (it was refilled 3k km ago) and they were very tragic and said the engine is gone. So the car was towed an we were supposed to get a replacement car but then we could not get one because a passport has no address and we have not our registration of domicile with us. After hours of arguing over the phone they accepted to make an exception but now there are no cars in the area. So we are stranded with.a baby and a toddler. But at least it is not winter. We are supposed to drive back on Sunday afternoon an I am now thinking in just getting back my car and fill the oil back and buy extra oil and drive back not that fast. I am not sure if that is a good idea when driving with the whole family, maybe we just take the train. Anyway, I just wanted to write down my drama but it was not that easy typing from a phone

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Damn it Krieg, what a way to start off your Easter holidays. Good luck and arrive safely back home. BTW, was it an Opel?

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A bit late to say maybe, but it's always a good idea to carry a copy of your anmeldung with you. I have mine tucked in next to my passport (yes I know I don't need to have it with me at all times) in the main "wallet". Obviously I don't take it with me out on the town, but when traveling, trying to get a library card, rent a video, etc. it's saved me a lot of hassle.

 

Anyway, good luck and, yes, thank goodness it's not winter, take the train though if possible.

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I am so sorry to hear this. Whereabouts did it happen? Do you have a place to stay until your transportation is sorted?

 

And how on earth can I resist changing your subtitle to Easter breakdown?

 

I hope you can resolve your troubles and still have a relaxing Easter holiday.

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Ouch. I hope you figure out a way to get home.

 

Just a word about the engine: From what the ADAC said and your description of the problem, I would guess that the bearings are damaged. This will normally produce a knocking or squealing sound and the remaining life of the engine would be measured in minutes or seconds, not hours. In other words, I wouldn't try to drive this car at all, because you won't get very far. When the bearings sieze, the connecting rods will eventually weld themselves to the crankshaft, lock up the engine (and the wheels) or knock a huge hole into the engine block, dumping whatever oil is left on the road (and possibly the rear tires).

 

Right now you may be able to get away with a new short- or long-block, but if the bearings sieze, you may damage the injection system, the turbo, possibly even the body, because big chunks of metal may go flying.

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What bal00 said. Putting oil in now isn't gonna get you home because the damage to the engine is already done. Long story short, you're taking the train.

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If you can't get a replacement car to continue your journey would the ADAC offer recovery of the vehicle and yourselves home.

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As someone who has seized an engine (broken oil pan after bottoming out), I agree with bal100. You will not be driving this car any time soon. You probably don't want to hear this, but it was very expensive to replace the engine. I got lucky and managed to get my insurance to cover most of it [long story].

 

Sorry this has happened... hope you can get a rental car and enjoy the rest of your holiday weekend.

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I got lucky and managed to get my insurance to cover most of it [long story].

That would actually be another thing to consider. Driving around with obvious major engine damage would almost certainly be regarded as grossly negligent, so if the car goes up in flames (hole in the block + oil leaking onto the hot exhaust manifold), your Vollkasko insurance would probably tell you to pound sand. Your liability coverage should still be in effect though.

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I would not try to drive either especially with minis in tow. Good luck Krieg. Where did you end up stranded?

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Hannover so we are 250km from home, a rented car seems unlikely so most probably we wlll take a train tomorrow night the problem is we will have to leave most of the stuff in the car an it will take 10 days to be brought home. An if we do not get the car fixed we will have to pay for the transportation of the car. We are staying with friends and the mood is positive. The kids are too small and they do not really care much. I think I will be riding my bicycle for a month.

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Sorry krieg, super shitty. I hate cars almost as much as I love them- Nothing is more upsetting then when one goes down the crap shoot.

 

Wish we were closer and could help out.

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Sorry to read that, Krieg.

 

May I give a hint/advice, since what I've been reading in your post happens quite often to people who run their car usually only on short distances, in cities like Berlin where the engine never really gets warm enough.

 

In a cold engine there is always a substantial amount of gasoline which doesn't get burned and this gasoline will sink down into the oil reservoir and mix with the engine oil. If you now check your oil level you get a more or less wrong result, a level which doesn't actually show the amount of oil rather the amount of a mix of oil and gasoline.

 

Now you go riding out of town, the engine gets hotter and hotter, the gasoline will vaporise and get burned, the oil level will sink and sooner or later there is no more or to little oil left for a proper lubrication- engine gone.

 

So, when leaving town make a stop after 50-100 km and check your oil level, be prepared to fill up.

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An if we do not get the car fixed we will have to pay for the transportation of the car.

<_< and you are a member of the ADAC? If so you signed up for the wrong category of service.

 

With the full service program they not only bring your car to a garage to repair it, but also provide you with a temporary car.

The part with your passport, not saying a address, should not bother them when you are a member, they know where you live.

 

ADAC is not the only car club in Germany, there is a few others who offer the same service.

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N.B. You can call ADAC for assistance without being a member, but you have to pay for their work and you don't get all the perks mentioned above.

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If you nee assistance away from home, ADAC and other automobil CLUBS will give you assistance WITHOUT you being member and this service has to be free, since ADAC is no company , it's a club , which prohibits offering service against money, only allowed to businesses. This applies only to "first aid", like minor repairs or towing to the next garage.

 

So someone not being menber shouldn't be scared to call them in need .

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We have ADAC Plus, they tow the car back to a garage in your city with no problem but to get another car you should ba able to be IDed and for a foreigner that means passport and registration of domicile, we argued about it for literally hours and it was escalated to the headquarters in Munich and finally they decided to make an exception due to the situation,

 

It seems they found a car for us from a renting company they do not have agreement with and they call me and ask me to bring the papers including the registration of domicile but they said since I don't have it they said I just fax it when I am back home, I'm on the way now,

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So sorry! My husband just said that we would be buying another bottle of oil! We were very fortunate- the engine light came on as we were on the hghwy Thursday and we stopped at a rest area and put a whole litre in. He was shocked, because we checked our oil before we left. I thought we needed more, but he wanted to wait until our tune-up next month: now we are certain we need to add more and are very sorry that your misfortune gave us this info- it must be exactly as above- that we never get really hot over the winter with short trips in Berlin!

I hope that it is not your engine black and that you still have a bit of fun on vacation!

(And we will check our ADAC coverage as well- with the premium we thought they would tow us back to Berlin, but now we aren't so certain!)

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Most car clubs only tow you to the closest garage, not to your hometown. Better check things like that before you decide if you sign a Premium, Plus or however they call their "all inclusive" membership.

 

@krieg I too am a foreigner in Germany and do not have my domicile on my ID or Passport but the car club I am a member of knows where I live by just checking my membership number. They never made any problems about not having my address in my ID or Passport. Besides that, on your car registration papers you do have your address. (unless you are riding with a company, military or diplomatic vehicle.)

 

I think the people you had to deal with were simple... let's call them ignorant or dumb.

 

Anyway, sorry for the pain in the a$$ you had to get through. Hope your engine just had a bad day and you do not get huge bills for whatever is broken. :)

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