Saturday, May 1, 2010

How much did you say that cost??

   If you have read our other post about our little mishap with our old car, you would know that we received a substantial amount of money from the insurance company. Now we didn't get millions of course, but lets just say we got more that the car was worth. Instead of blowing the money on frivolous things, or other nonsense, we took the money and of course replaced our car. We decided to use all the money to get a car that was well worth it, a little newer, and what we both liked. We found a great car, which we both loved. It was well below book value, and in great shape. Once we test drove it, we instantly fell in love with it.  Now it was only a 2003 model, but for us, that was new, and it drove like it too. But isn't that the way it always goes. Needless to say, after a month or so of owning it, things began to happen. Somehow the evil car gremlin had found its way back to us. It started one day with the trans-axle or transmission. It began to make a rattling noise when the clutch was disengaged and out of gear. Then the front struts began to go bad, then the clutch, then the back shocks, and now the trans-axle again. Oh!, I almost forgot, the rotors are now warped. It would seem the car gremlin had been busy at work, while we peacefully slept in our bed, dreaming of racing, and cruising in the new ride. As we filled our heads with visions of sleek rims and tires, leather seats and a pearl paint job, while we cuddled closely in bed as our brain projected these thoughts and images, and feelings of excitement and content. The damn gremlin was up to no good, destroying one critical item after another. Ripping the visions and feelings of happiness and triumph from our fragile dreams and hopes. We come to the realization, that you can not escape the car gremlin, no matter how hard you try. But, as horrid as the gremlin is, as mischievous and unemotional he can be, we realize that is just how he is, that is his purpose. Too destroy cars, to ruin them and break things you didn't even know existed on or in your automobile. That is his nature, that is what he knows. So I guess you cant really blame him for doing what he does, cause that's who he is. Deep breath..... The true evil ones, the true masters of broken dreams and broken spirits, are the repair specialists! Oh..., you know them well, you know, the "Experts". Hell, they may even hire or somehow coax the gremlins into doing what they do, just so they can offer you their "Expert" advice or "Expert" services. Some try to trick you, by calling themselves " Mechanics", or "Car Care Specialists". These guys, or girls, are the real threat, the true harbingers of misfortune and terror. I guess you could say, the real terrorists are, "Al Carda", and not Al Qaeda. I bet "they" even got to Bin Laden. You must have been in the presence of one or more in your life. You can easily spot them when you bring you vehicle in for one problem, and they tell you that there are dozens of problems, or they fix the problem, but somehow it still exists, and they fix another problem, and yet it is still there. The repair or fix fifty things, until they finally get it, and try to charge you for the whole thing. They are also the ones who charge you triple or quadruple the actual price of the part, and then charge you to put it in! They are also the ones who tell you what the problem is, in some alien language, that is incomprehensible to the human brain. " Well Sir, we need to replenish the No. 5 blue dyed methanol mixture, into the manufactures specially designed container, so that it may travel through the delivery system on your car. That way your forward silica preformed protective visor can be cleansed of any foreign matter that may hinder your ability to drive, and we need to charge you $30 dollars for the special solution, and $50 dollars to have one of our specialists inject it on to the specially designed container." Now for those of you who do not understand the "Language" they use, that pretty much means, we have to put windshield wiper fluid in your car.

   My new concern now, is with today's economy, and the complicated design and technology of newer cars, is how much will these type of repairs cost us. It used to be that cars were easy to work on. Nowadays, you have to have a degree and a super computer to fix many of the problems cars have. With companies like Toyota and others, one has to wonder if these problems are created purposely by the manufactures, to put money into not only their pockets, but the pockets of parts manufactures, and the pockets of the repair "specialists". Why not, crazier things have happened.
   The real craziness is, is that we continue to spend our hard earned money into the pockets of all of them, not by choice, of course! So while our dreams turn into nightmares, and our "hopes" turn into "hope nots", we do it. We do it, because we have to, so we can go to work, take the kids to school, shop for food and clothing, and to just enjoy the thrill of the drive. But that doesn't mean we have to go without a fight, and one way of doing that is to use one of our best resources, the Internet. Be smart, and check the Internet for DIY causes and solutions to common problems, you'd be surprised by how much information and help is on the net. Another great thing about the net, is you can always find great prices on parts and tools. Almost all the time, you can find the parts you need cheaper than what the parts store want, and definitely cheaper than what a repair specialist would charge. The only draw back to that, is some repair shops wont use parts other than theirs, or they will not offer an as good,or no warranty at all on the work, since your not using their recommended parts. So, like anything, it has its pros and cons. So you have to use your knowledge and common sense. Shop around, and do your research. Be sure to check out any parts supplier and repair shops with the BBB (Better Business Bureau). Always read the warranties, and especially the fine print.
   Now I have to get my holy water, garlic, silver bullets, and wooden stakes ready, for our next visit to the repair shop.