On our way to the library last night, there was much fussing from the back seat. Once we got her out of the car, Emily was happer, but it was clear that she would still rather be at home eating dinner instead of browsing for books. We made our library visit a quick one, and upon our return home, I drove while Misty sat in the back in order to curtail any further eruptions.
About a quarter mile from the house, as we passed a small dirt and gravel patch on the side of the road where I've sometimes seen cars parked, there was suddenly a loud bang as if something had exploded. It sounded like it had come from inside the car, but obviously it hadn't since we were sitting right there.
I immediately thought that someone had thrown a bottle at my car and it had burst against the door. I pulled over at the neighborhood pool to check, but neither Misty nor I could find any signs of damage. Surely if a bottle had broken against the side, the paint would be all scratched up, but there was nothing.
Running through possibilities in my head, I then considered that I might had run over a large branch. If it was bent right, it could have acted like a lever, smashing one end into the bottom of the car as a tire pressed the other end. It didn't seem very probable, but it was the best I could come up with.
Whatever it was, I couldn't find anything wrong with the car. The explosive noise would have to remain a mystery.
I had put the incident out of my mind, but as she was getting out of the car at lunch this afternoon, Misty picked up an inch-long piece of plastic off the floor and handed it to me, suggesting that perhaps this was what exploded last night. The plastic piece had clearly broken off something, but it didn't look anywhere near capable of producing the noise we had heard. I fished around under the seat for something else, but found nothing but a couple of pens.
On our way home from work, though, Misty found the something else. A large, tightly-coiled spring rolled out from under her seat, and suddenly it became clear what had happened. Whatever the spring was attached to had given way and snapped. The breaking of the plastic, accompanied by the recoil of the spring had resulted in the loud bang.
So that mystery solved, a new question has emerged: Where does this spring go? It seems that it's time for a trip to the VW service station.