Monday, April 09, 2007

Monday Moron Mechanics

I have this awful desire to blog about my husband today. Not about the whole what the hell were you thinking last year, but just why did you have to be a pain yesterday? I'm so trying to keep my mouth shut about stuff he's doing, and he has to tell me I'm a bad person for some imaginary thing I did. Most weeks we only see each other for two days, but he'll manage to ruin one of those.

According to Tara, today is kiss a stranger day. I feel like I have been married to a stranger for seventeen years. I kissed my husband today. Does that count the same as kissing a stranger?

Probably won't get to that new recipe thing either.

But never mind about all that. We are here today to talk about mechanics.

So this is what happened. I have three annoying extra expenses in March. I have my annual. And I have to register and buy tags for the car. And I have to get an inspection sticker for the car.

The annual exam we have already discussed.

The tags for the car cost about fifty-three dollars. You usually have to wait in a long line to pay your fifty-three dollars, but getting the tags is not usually a problem. If you lived somewhere else last year, or you had a different car last year, you might hit a snag, but not usually. And I had both the same car and the same address as last year, so my only thing is remembering to either bring actual cash or at least a paper check. They don't take credit cards or debit cards.

I have sort of a tradition of getting my inspection sticker before my tags. I used to worry that my old car wouldn't pass inspection. Not that I worried it wasn't safe to drive, but I worried that it wouldn't pass the emissions test. Then you have to pay for a lot of expensive useless repairs that do not actually make the car pass the emissions test, and usually the car is f***** up more after the "repairs" than before. So I used to get the inspection sticker first, just in case I finally had it with the car and decide to drive it into the lake rather than "repair" it. And I might as well do that before I spend fifty-three dollars on the tags.

But my current car is a 1996 and the emissions test is not the great headache that it was with the 1980 car. So I didn't give it much thought. I didn't run out the first week and get the inspection over with. And I didn't go the second week because I was out of town for spring break. And I didn't go the third week before I only had sixty dollars left for the week. I meant to go, but I got there just after the place had closed on Wednesday. Thursday morning I was driving by the vehicle registration place and decided to do that instead. Only four people ahead of me. Not much of a line at all.

The fourth week of March I finally took the car to an inspection place and was told that it had a few problems. I'd gotten so used to the emissions being my only problem, I kind of forgot about the rest of the test.

The windshield wipers needed to be replaced. I probably knew that, but didn't think about it being part of the test. And I had a brake light out, which now that I think about it maybe someone had mentioned it before and I just forgot about it. But those are not expensive things and I didn't think that they would take long to fix.

And the power steering fluid is leaking.

Okay. Well, I'd known that I should have that looked at, but it had been a really long time since I'd given that any thought. I'd forgotten all about it. I just got used to it not working properly. I could still drive it. I quit noticing that there was a problem.

Okay, so it is the last Thursday of March, and I take the car to have someone look at it and give me an estimate. I can either leave it there Thursday if I can have the car back Friday afternoon, or I can bring the car back on Saturday afternoon and pick it up any time before Wednesday night. I need the car until 3:00 or so on Saturday. The rest of the time I either don't need to be anywhere or I can get a ride.

They tell me to leave it Thursday.

That was a surprise. The last few times I have needed repairs they've told me to bring it back later. But that's great, if they can get it back to me Friday.

If it is just a leaky hose, they might even give it back today. They'll check all the inspection sticker stuff, check for leaks, and inspect the car.

Great. One of them drives me home.

A couple hours later they call and tell me that a pump needs to be replaced to fix the power steering, and that they've also found an oil leak. Fixing all that stuff and getting an inspection sticker will cost me just under a thousand dollars.

I do not have a thousand dollars. I have five hundred dollars, and I wasn't expecting to pay that much. If I had heard a thousand dollars earlier, I might have thought about selling the car and getting a newer one.

Okay, is this oil leak thing going to ruin the car or make the engine blow up or anything like that?

Not really. You still need to bring it in sometime, and you have to check the oil pressure a lot. But you should be okay to drive the car for a while without it. The other repairs without fixing the oil leak cost almost five hundred dollars.

Fine. I have five hundred dollars. Do the other repairs.

Should be finished about 2:00 on Friday afternoon.

2:00 on Friday passes. 3:00 on Friday passes. I call them and ask about my car.

They got the wrong part for it. They don't think I can have my car on Friday. Probably first thing Saturday morning.

That will make me late for something Saturday, but I don't know what else to do about it.

Saturday morning I call and ask about the car, but it still isn't ready. Saturday at lunch I call, but it is still not ready. At 3:00 I call, but the car is still not ready. I have totally missed ceramics class and everything else I had planned for the day. The car is still not fixed. They are still waiting on some part.

Why couldn't they have just been honest about it as soon as they knew there was a problem? I could have taken the car home Friday and brought it back Saturday before 4. I would have missed some stuff, but I still could have gone to ceramics class. What do they get out of misleading people about the repair time?

Monday morning, still no car. Two people called in sick. I spend the rest of the day with my husband, running errands that I couldn't do over the weekend without a car. Monday night there was no message on my machine about the car.

Tuesday morning my husband drove me to ceramics class. He went home for a couple of hours, and still there was no word on the car. We went to lunch and such. Still no car. This time my husband called. No luck.

About 4:00 I ask them what is going on with the car. They claim to be waiting on another part.

The car has been there since Thursday. I can't believe they are still waiting on windshield-wipers, brake lights, or a pump for the power steering fluid. And they aren't supposed to be fixing anything else. What part are they waiting on?

They'll call me back in a hour.

No one calls me in an hour. I call them back. What is going on with the car.

The car is ready, but the paperwork isn't done, and the guy that has to do that is gone for the day. But I can pick it up first thing Wednesday morning.

About nine thirty on Wednesday, someone calls to tell me I can go and get my car. My mom drives me over. I check and make sure that it has an inspection sticker before I give them any money. It cost just about five hundred dollars. On the receipt it says that the customer declined to have some repairs done. And there were three parts that were added to the bill and then later taken off the bill. Whatever.

So I'm not sure what happened. Did they fix the car by mistake and then just not want to give me back my car since I hadn't agreed to pay for the other repairs? Did they un-repair the car and take off the parts? Did they really wait four days for parts to arrive cause they forgot that I couldn't pay for them? I just hear this bit about waiting for parts so often that I don't really believe them any more. It might happen one day, but from Thursday til the next Tuesday? I don't think so.

Why won't mechanics just be honest and tell you that it will be several days before they can fix what's wrong with the car?


Babybull40 said...

Our mechanic is pretty good.. especially when it comes to paying the final bill.. Well we had a power steering pump go on it.. the the tires.. luckily just the two front ones.. Something busted inside the tire.. the car was all shaky.. got that fixed and for the last few month's we have noticed that the starter and the cellunoid needs to completely changed dout.. some days the car starts and other days it doesn't turn over.. lift up the F#$%$#@ hood and stick some metal object down inside and voila it starts when you turn the key.. well I think it's time to get that sucker fixed.. before we get stranded somewhere I don't want to be...(in-laws) Hope it all works out for you

evil-e said...

The mechanic can be a nightmare. Back when I had an older car (pre 02)I would marvel at the aparent lack of parts in this world. My 92 Cavalier spent more days in the shop the last year than it did on the road. Good luck with all that.

We cannot get tags in Ohio until the inspection has been completed.