So, heading home from Dayton, OH to Parkersburg, WV last week, I struck a piece of debris that was slap-bang in the middle of the passing lane. I had the following choices (names safe for work :P): Crap! (Running over it and HOPING it was short enough); Crappier! (Dive into the right lane and hope I didn't swipe anyone in that lane); Crappiest! (Drive off to the left, and play my chances at the median and keeping control). Chose Crap!
Object looked to be something like a battery cover or something somewhat solid off a truck, black, a few inches tall with a silver handle-like object (that I couldn't see until I was just about to hit it) on two of the visible sides. Front bumper cleared it without any issue, not as much as a scuff. However, the undertray for the engine and others were not so lucky. It snagged somewhere and I immediately had Eyesight warnings come on, power steering light, check engine light, AT OIL TEMP light, and not to mention the jolt of impact. I reacted immediately, and shot a gap in cars and pulled off driver's right, leaving a trail of fluid on the highway. Four hours later, one-man towing company my insurance company contacted got me, and took me to the dealer, and we're waiting on the insurance adjuster to come pay it a visit. Dealer reported at least a hole in the transmission.
I'm curious if anyone has any ideas on why I might've lost steering ability - I could not get the wheel to budge one bit after about 3 seconds after impact. I was locked in my trajectory of initial reaction. Possible severing of all steering lines? Possible knocking of transmission into park and severing of the gear selection wire? I would've expected at least to be able to wrestle it to turn if I'd just dumped all the power steering fluid out.
Here's a few photos I made while waiting for the tow truck to show up
, and a couple after it got on the tilt bed and the grass plug for the transmission had been removed. I'm hoping it doesn't get totaled, the car is otherwise in pristine shape (was in need of a trip through the car wash!) and serving me very well. But I'm afraid I'm looking at 15k or more in repairs....