Master of the One-Man Pop Start

Even more annoying than that little stint involving the alarm sounding each and every time I pulled the key out of the ignition, my Jetta has developed a starting problem in the afternoons.

The car starts fine in the morning and at night, but if the sun is in a warm spot, sliding down the Western horizon, the VW would rather sit and watch it than turn over its 2.0L’s. Push in the clutch, turn the key and all the lights come on, but not a single mechanical sound occurs from under the hood.

Thought it was the starter.

Changed it.

Wasn’t the starter.

Luckily, it has a manual transmission, so it can be pop started. For those of you not familiar with this term, it generally means getting the dead car up to around 7-10 mph, putting the transmission into first gear and popping the clutch. Magically, the engine turns over and the car is good to go. Friday, four engineers pushed me to get it started. Monday, one engineer pushed me to get it started. Yesterday, no one was around, so I rolled down the window and pushed 2500 lbs of blue German steel out of its parking spot. Normally, you want to pop start going down a hill. This makes it easy to build up momentum. We don’t have hills in the parking lot. So, I began to push. I was running alongside the car until I thought I had it up to around 7mph, then I threw open the driver’s side door. As I clumsily jumped into the open door of a moving car, I ran my face into the radio antenna. Normally, the antenna would point straight up, but the rubber grommet that held it in place had disintegrated in the California sun several months ago and I haven’t replaced it. The antenna slipped under my sunglasses, and stabbed me just below my left tear duct, breaking the skin. No time to bitch about that though, the momentum was sliding! I sat down, pushed in the clutch, threw the shifter into first and popped the clutch to hear the engine reluctantly turn over and burble to life.

18 more months, you piece of crap. That’s all I ask.

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2 thoughts on “Master of the One-Man Pop Start

  1. Hello!
    Very Interesting post! Thank you for such interesting resource!
    PS: Sorry for my bad english, I’v just started to learn this language 😉
    See you!
    Your, Raiul Baztepo

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