Friday, January 9, 2009

Car Repair

Starter for 1999-2003 Mitsubishi.
Starter for 1999-2003 Mitsubishi.

“I've got the Car Shop Blues...”

After lunch at the diner yesterday afternoon, the ignition turned over once.

Then... Nothing.

Had my car towed (AAA) to the repair shop at the top of the East Hill. Turns out my mechanic went out of business six to eight months ago, so I'm using the Goodyear shop. It appears to just be the starter, however when we got there it was too late to put it in the shop and tell for sure. A starter is about $150 on the Internet, so figure they'll charge me $175 plus (again, guessing) an hour's labor.

The real test will be if the Goodyear shop charges me for a new oil filter. See, you don't have to change the oil filter when you change the starter. It's possible to simply cover over the filter, thus keeping debris out while working. If instead Goodyear charges me for a new oil filter without asking first, it speaks to sloppiness or a willingness to run up the bill. (And no, I don't want them to do a lube and oil, thank you, nor have I given them permission to do anything other than fix the starter.)

We shall see. It's a question of trust. And honesty.

Before this car I had an Acura Legend which I absolutely loved, the most favorite car I've owned, ever. Which I drove into the ground I loved it so much. Simply could not accept it was long past its prime. Ended up with over 400,000 miles and still on the original engine (I got it at 171k.) The car still sits in my carport, one (perhaps two) tires flat. And the battery dead of course. It was the brakes which died. Completely. The final drive I coasted into the driveway very slowly, dragging my feet. Seriously.

The car in the shop now is a Mitsubishi (a 2000) which I've had two years, maybe three? My oldest, Avian, was dating the youngest son of one of Puget Sound's better car dealers. The father did me a real solid, putting me in a car which hasn't needed any repairs beyond routine maintenance since I drove it home.

This spring I'm selling my home in the suburbs and moving to Bellevue. (With all the kids off to college or moved out, I don't need this huge place anymore. I can get an apartment in Bellevue with an extra bedroom for when a kid wants to stay. That will be easy for a cleaning service to handle, and Bellevue is more central to my life now.) Shortly after I move it'll be time to sell this used car and buy another. Quite possibly through the same dealer seeing as how he did such a wonderful job last time. I'm planning on taking my time and letting him find me another Acura, hopefully a used Legend.

Thursday afternoon AAA showed up promptly, packaged my car for towing quickly, and hauled the car and me up to Goodyear rapidly. First-rate professionals. It was inside the four mile limit on the AAA Basic membership. Of course, there's also the 100 mile towing of the AAA Plus membership, which has saved my ass MANY times over the years. What I love about AAA is it's valid for the PERSON, not the car, so you can help the people you're with when they get in trouble (or when you're in a car which gets in trouble.) Other than condoms, birth control pills, two or three Plan B packs and a cell phone, a AAA Plus associate membership card (off of your membership) is one of the major gifts on the Mandatory list for a college-age daughter headed off to school. (All of the above except the birth control pills will be on my son's list.)

Now the question is, will Goodyear have the job done in time for me to get to my appointment with my hair stylist at 3:15 this afternoon. Or should I call at 8 am and reschedule for early next week. I need to have my hair done before my flight to New York City Wednesday night. Also, I have dry cleaning I was going to take in today which now I'm worried about getting done. Decisions, decisions.

Plus now I've been up all night, so I need to sleep. And eat, but I can't drive down to the diner and get breakfast, 'cause my car is in the shop. Grrrr.

Good morning everyone. It's Friday!

Open Thread on anything in this Post.