Teenagers. More specifically, my teenager.
My car has been having some issues recently, so before I left for Key West, my father, my son and myself gave the engine a once over along with installing a temporary fix for the ignition issue I have. One of the things that needed to happen was that the radiator fluid needed to be topped off. Dad took the cap off and set it aside and my son was told to fill it up and put the cap back on, then put all the tools away and close up the car.
So, I get as far as the south side of Key Largo and my car starts running a little warm. I pull over to check things out. Not only did the boy fail to put radiator fluid in, he left the radiator cap off and left a couple tools in the engine. Thankfully the cap was still there. So, I let it sit for a few minutes, put the radiator cap on and go on my merry way. The engine was running a tad warm, but as long as I kept moving, it stayed at a reasonable operating temperature. Unfortunately, if you has ever run US1 down into the lower keys, you would know that "keeping moving" is not always possible. Traffic can be a real bear. Saturday night was no exception. So a little after 5, the engine was too warm for my comfort. Also, the sun was at just the right angle to make seeing my dashboard gauges impossible. I pulled over in Marathon, just north of the 7 mile bridge and killed time until the sun went down. I was annoyed because I was hungry and I didn't want to eat because my host in Key West already had dinner planned, and I didn't want to not be hungry once I got there.
So, the car made it all the way to Key West with a fair amount of stress on my part. Watching the symptoms, I figured the problem was one of two things. Either one of the fan relays went bad or I had a vapor lock from when the engine was running with no radiator cap. I decided to take the wait and see approach. I let it sit overnight and checked the next day. Radiator was bone dry (it hadn't been when I had the cap back off after the engine was cool enough to remove it). This points to a vapor lock. I filled the thing back up and headed north. I had no issues on the northbound journey, which means that all the trouble I had going south was a direct result of my teenager not doing as he was told. Ugh. Of course, to be fair, it's my car. I should have checked, but still, he really should do a better job of following instructions.