How to break your engine

This is a my story  when I did umrah to mecca and this was my damaged car engine:


How did it happen? The date was 22th april 2016.

This umrah was prepared long time before that day, at first we planned to go on my first’s son two weeks holiday, in his first of class ending holiday. He is now in grade one, FYI. Qadarallah he got ill, so we thought perhaps in his second week he would recover but qadarallah his sister got sick :), so we postponed and wait until she recovered. Then we realized that we have to move to our new house since the rent of the current house was almost done. Okay now we postponed for 3 weeks right, if you have counted 🙂

Moving to a new house we were in hurry to do umrah desperately because we missed the Haram and Ka’ba. But again at that time, my wife got her period, and it was for 2 weeks, plus 1 week we had to tidy up the house, arranged the household, cleaned and etc. Oh, I forgot to tell that I already had  approval to have one unpaid day leave from my company and I have to cancel it.

Okay  total how many weeks? 2 + 1 + 1 + 2 = 6 weeks. Eventually we were able to make it after another 2 weeks so total 2 months.

You should know that even though we are living in KSA not at any time we are “being called” to His House. When I first came to saudi I have to postpone for 6 months due to my Iqama (expatriates ID) took 2 months to be created then I found out the religion written on it is not “Muslim”, it was zoroaster, hahaha..can you imagine that. Then after 6 months I was able to do my first umrah and it was in Ramadhan, subhanallah.

Let’s get back to the story, so a day before that day my wife already cooked “Rendang”, typically Indonesian food which could stay much longer. We also brought the rice cooker, snacks, a carton of water bottle and of course clothes. I still remembered how my face turned red when I transferred those items from my car to a rental car, the saudi guy who runs the “satha” or towing car asked “were you not stopping by? why so many stuff you bring?”, hahaha..

The trip from Dammam was okay, nothing peculiar happened and I wast not that nubie as this was my 4th trip going to west province. We stopped one time between Dammam-Riyadh to fill in the petrol and to washroom.

Reaching outside riyadh we drove as usual 140-160KM/h, which is “normal” speed. I calculated with this speed it should take around 4 or 5 P.M. to reach the miqat (qarnun manazil/sail kabeer). Then the incident happened, I pushed my car to the limit until the accelerator/gas pedal reach the bottom. Note that this was not my first time doing this, I did it also before, last year on the same trip with my parents, so technically it was more full loaded that at this time. At this moment the max speed was only reaching 175km/h while before it could reach 180km/h. And suddenly I heard the sound coming, it was like sound of something sticking on a circular, “tick..tick..tick”.

Owh boy, what did I do, even we hadn’t reach the miqat. So I stopped the car and thought of doing clever thing,  opened the engine hood and tried to hear maybe I was day dreaming, it was just hallucination. I closed the engine hood and keep driving but now tried to reduce the speed. Let’s try 80km/h, right?

Then the sound became much louder and the engine stopped and the malfunction indicator turned on. God, was this real? In the middle of nowhere especially with no-english-speaking country. I tried to start the engine again but it did not move, I was very sure the engine was damaged and I was screwed.

You know what, Subhanallah, I was stranded like 136 km before taif and in front of me like 150 meter there was a towing car/satha. I reached that guy, he was trying to fix one car. There were two of them, one is the satha driver and another one is the one whose car was broken. So I started to speak in jungle arabic “please take a look at my car, may be you can help me”. I added some impression that I was going for umrah, probably it would move his heart, but it did not. He was asking for 200 SAR no negotiation.

The satha car was very old so as the driver, he was struggling to fix the motor loader which was used to pull the car up to on top of the satha, it took hours until he fixed it – yes, I exaggerated. Owh, btw, a heavy rain poured down as to make the sadness feeling became more. I still could not believe if this was happening to me :(.

I would not share the story how I called the police, well what they called it, the highway patrol, only to find out they hand it over from one to another just for disappointment.

At last our car now on top of the satha car, moving to taif. In taif he took me to some satha professionals where they could took my car back to Dammam. After negotiation it was finally came to 1500 SAR. This was happening after we went to one of the car workshop to analyze my car. He said it needed engine overhaul which took 2000SAR and to replace the engine which would cost 4000SAR. Hearing that I became weak and suddenly I said to myself, this year would not be any vacation again.

I told the the 2nd satha driver, his name was Mr. Otaibi to help me to find a cheap rental car. This umrah must be done no matter what. At first we thought to find a taxi and he called his friend, he was asking for 300 SAR. The negotiation went dead end, so we went to find rental car.

We found a shop and ALHAMDULILLAH, the guy could speak english well or maybe very well. He was egyption. I told my story and he offered me the Corolla for 90 SAR per day. I said I need cheaper one. Then he showed me this Hyundai accent, the car condition was very bad – I was late to find out. I told him to revert back to corolla and he insisted that the car was driveable. Probably because I was already registered in the police traffic system.

In order to start the card, you had to ignite 2-3 time and kept ignite until it turned on. I found out also, the EPS indicator was blinking and if you drove more than 100km it would start out of control and difficult to steer. That time I really regretted how miser I was just for 20 SAR I risked my family life. Owh, also the petrol indicator was broken, so I had to fill in the gas when starting the trip if not I could run out in the middle of my trip.

In the miqat another incident happend, we lost one part of my daughter’s slipper. We struggled for an hour to look for her size. I was thinking, what sin I had made o Allah? Finally we found one slipper the last one and it was display. You know what, after taking shower I found out the other half of the slipper was at the car trunk. What a life!

We reached the hotel and that was the time of tawakkal. After what we had faced, I surrender to Allah whatever happened there must be something behind it and it was for our goodness.

Next day we went for thawaf. At that time the temporary mataf was almost completely removed only remaining what was in front of the hajar aswad. Then this incident happened, (again Bondhan? what have you done?). I got separated with my wife on the last thawaf due to the cleaning of the floors. I was able to stop near the maqam ibrahim/near the hajar aswad face. I called my wife “where are you? Let’s meet here”, I told her my location. Instead she insisted to pray first 2 rakaah after the thawaf. Then I said “okay, let’s meet in the sai from safa” and she agreed. Which it turned out I made a mistake.

You know that “woman cannot read map” is very true, after many times, my wife failed to find my location. I was waiting in safa, at the most lowest part where you would see the rocks/hill. I was handicapped because I am with my youngest child. Moving was not easy as I had to keep her rested. So to avoid more tiredness,  finally we did sai by ourselves in order to finish it before the Jumah prayer. I would like to thank personally to a guy who offered a free dates/tamr. I took only 2 pieces for my daughter and alhamdulillah she did not feel hungry -at least not very hungry-, and I fed her with zamzam water. When I searched for that guy again, he was already gone, maybe he was an “angel”? Jazakallahu khair for your help.

I finally finished the sai at the time of Jum’ah prayer, qadarallah. The place was full. I stopped in marwah, exactly behind the round about of the marwah hill. And you know what my daugher said “Dad, I want to go to pee”. Can you imagine.

That time the haram was already closed, you could go out but you were not allowed to go inside, there was a security guard. It was a mess, really. I finally took her to the wash room after struggling, the wash room was quite far and like on top of hill. Which meant that when returned back, I could not find entrance except I have to jump from like a 2 meters floor. Subhanallah, the muslim brotherhood was really there. Somebody catched me up and someone helped my daughter to go down from the floor.

I was able to catch the friday shalah even though I was thinking at the beginning to just pray for Zuhur because of what happened. My daughter was crying because of the heat of the floor, we were praying outside the masjid and because she was scared of the foreign faces.

Finally after the prayer I as able to find my wife and my son :). Then we drank zamzam and went to find lunch in zamzam tower.

We decided to go home that night and canceled the plan to go home the next morning. This is to avoid the heat.

After cleaning ourselves, we drove back to taif to return back the rental car. On the way to taif which probably 100KM, storm came. It was very heavy like thunder was upon our head. Heavy rain poured down and you know what, there was no fluid on the wiper tank. Really it was very scary moment. I cannot see clearly because the wiper rubber cannot clean the windshield completely. I  thought myself if I died that time at least we were coming from umrah, which hopefully to be husnul khatimah? 🙂

Finally reaching taif, I returned the car and start going home with this satha/towing car. I will stop the story here because it is already more than 1 hour writing this unforgettable story, hahaha..Alhamdulillah ‘ala kulli haal.

I suggest for you who own a korean car to be careful with your car engine, not to overrun it. Also in my own opinion, try to use a more thicker engine oil during your long trip and especially in hot weather. I changed the engine oil one day before in petromin but cannot avoid breaking it. Also try not to test your engine in your trip except in your own daily route.

My friend told me -he is a toyota mechanic- that may be I over run my engine, means that in very high speed there is no transfer to the transmission so theoretically there is no load. The piston run out the track and damaged the engine block. Maybe, I don’t know exactly. The K*A service in KSA sucks and ali baba.

This is typical saudi satha:



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