Today I called my mechanic and told him I needed a car to make an annoying sound for a few days or weeks and then die. I explained that this was for a story and I did not intend to actually make a car do this. After a while we decided that the timing belt was making that kind of rubbing, ticking noise it can sometimes make in domestic cars before it snaps. And of course, once it snaps, your car is toast.
Given what people usually call their mechanic for, this was quite nice. (My mechanic
is a person of immense patience and good humor.)