Sometimes, that squeak under the hood is a pulley. Sometimes, it’s a terminal issue.

The other day, we were unexpectedly down a car and I had to drive my husband’s oversized mudding Jeep — the one he built on tires so large, I can barely climb in without a stepladder. No big deal, I thought; wheels are wheels, and we’re blessed to have an extra set!

The neighbors must’ve gotten a kick out of seeing this very pregnant momma-to-be gamely lumbering into the driver’s seat, though.

As I drove the giant rig down Grand Avenue, I could occasionally hear a small squeak coming from the engine bay. To me, squeaks and whines and all other odd sounds are usually indistinguishable “funny noises.”

Full disclosure: I forgot to tell him when he got home from work, but I remembered later — “it sounded a little funny when I drove it.” He took a look under the hood.

He felt like he’d jinxed himself that morning with a joke about off-roading rigs always signaling their major issues with a funny noise. Because this one, as he described it, meant his Jeep had “decided to blow up really good.”

Don’t ask me what exactly was wrong, but I found him hoisting the engine out two days later and loading it into a friend’s pickup to be rebuilt at a shop.

At least he fixed the car in the meantime!

Sarah Einselen is editor and general manager of the Gainesville Daily Register. Reach her at

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