Wednesday, April 30, 2008

False Start

For the past week my car has been a little quiffy with me about starting up. My first thought was that it had to be the starter, but my second thought was, "Corrosion, it could totally be corrosion," and I didn't check the problem until this morning, when my car refused to even pretend to start.

There was a lot of corrosion and that buoyed my spirits considerably...until I cleaned it off and my car behaved in the exact same way. A call to my father was less than encouraging and prompted more calls to every garage in town.

Garage #1 was not home. No recorded message of when the hours are. No answering machine.

Garage #2 Quoted me a price that seemed astronomical, given what my father told me the part cost. But, they did promise a nice waiting area (I hate garage waiting areas, they're so uncomfortable).

Calls to garages #3-6 made me realize that Garage #2 was actually a steal, but I had one more call to make.

Whenever my dad can't fix the car himself (which is not that often) he goes to Sears. It's not loyalty, it's just that Sears is cheap without being detrimental (like Wal-mart). And since my least favorite way of spending money is on my car, cheap seemed like a good idea.

As it happens labor is really, really cheap at Sears, but the part wasn't all that cheap. Even if they'd only taken the one hour quoted to me by every other shop around, they would have come in $20 more than Garage #2. But they didn't quote me 1 hour, they told me it would take 3-4 hours and made foreboding suggestions that the other shops didn't know what they were talking about (all 6 of them?). The conversation went like this:

"Year? Make? Model? Air-Conditioning?"
I answered yes to that last and could hear the air disappearing inside the Sears auto center.
"That'll be a long job"
Asking what "long" meant, I wondered if Sears was simply so efficient than an hour seemed like a lifetime. Unfortunately long was, indeed, long.

The mechanic explained that when his Geo was fixed -
"It's a Chevy."
- when his Geo was fixed -
"It isn't a Geo I own a Chevy."
- when his Geo was fixed it took a fearful long time because of the a/c and the oil pan (???).
"But I own a Chevy. They're different cars."

Geos are pathetic cars. Cute. But pathetic. Once a little old lady backed her Geo Metro into my dad's Cadillac, going about 10-15 mph. The hood of the Caddy was imperceptibly bent. The entire back of the Metro was smashed in and as she pulled away there was a trail of Geo chunks left behind.

A mechanic who would drive a Geo is repulsive enough. If he doesn't know enough about cars to pick out a good one, how can he know enough to fix mine? But the fact that he thought we owned the same wimpy car (the makes sound alike) is just ridiculous. I do not own anything associated with Geo, my car's a frickin' Corolla on the inside! A Geo?! No.

This clinched it for Garage #2. They fixed my car. It took an hour and it cost what they said it would, almost down to the dollar. My one complaint is that my dad just fixed my radio the last time I was home...and now it doesn't work again. Bummer.


Ken said...

Actually, even though the Geo carries a Chevy name, it is built by Suzuki. So that shows the Sears car guy really did not know what he was talking about.

The only good thing about the Metro is that it has excellent gas mileage; around 40-45 mpg. It is a cheap car, and Suzuki does not design them with maintenance in mind.

I would actually stay away from WalMart's auto center. The guys there are hired off the street and half of them do not know what they are doing. The other half know something, but none of them have ever been to a mechanic school. I don't know about Sears, but I'd imagine it is the same (considering how cheap their labor is).

Emily said...

I hate having to get my car fixed. I'd rather go to the dentist. When I need to go (or it is suggested that I go), I put it off for a pretty while... until I feel waiting any longer would make me a repulsive human being.

Melody said...

Ken, I would actually stay away from WalMart's auto center.

So would I...I wasn't saying Wal-mart is a good place to get your car fixed.

Emily, I hate having to get my car fixed. I'd rather go to the dentist.

Ick. I need to go to the dentist too. :(

Emily said...

In case there was any confusion, I was referring to my car when I was going on about how I put it off...

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