Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Vroom vroom

Over the past couple of months, my car has been have a love affair with my bank account. I have been less than thrilled about the relationship. I'm typing this post from the waiting room at Sears Auto Center. Let's see, where did it all begin?

I drive a 2007 Honda Accord and it's a great car. However, want to know what year the iPod hookup came standard on the Accord? 2008. So I've been meaning to get that installed for awhile now. For Christmas I got the money to do just that. I figured I'd go to the dealer. I'd already talked to them about it and I didn't want just some random person messing with my car...and I'm too lazy to look into various options.

The appointment was set for an early March afternoon. There was also a recall on something and they were going to try to do that too. It would take about an hour. At least that's what they told me at Don Jacobs Honda. I want to call attention to the name of the business, and you'll see why soon enough.

When I got there, I found out that the recall would take several hours, so I set up an appointment for a day I didn't have to go to school. I didn't mind that since they hadn't promised to do that part of the service at that particular moment. Oh, and as long as they're working on it, my passenger side door no longer cares to lock or unlock automatically. After a solid 2 hours in the waiting room (thank God for my iPad), I was informed that they didn't have the right cable for the hookup or it was faulty or something. So now the original reason I brought my car in would have to wait until my other appointment. But don't worry, I didn't leave without having something done!

"There's a big chunk out of one of your front tires," they said. "We recommend replacing tires two at a time and since you've had to wait here we'll charge you for just the tires and not the labor." I actually knew about replacing tires two at a time, so I figured alright, go for it. "And, it would cost $100 just to open up the door and diagnose the problem let alone fix it," they told me. I figured it was cheaper for me to lean over and use my arm to lock and unlock the door, for free. About $300 later, I was on my way...not listening to my iPod.

Fast forward to the next appointment. My original plan was to wait there because it was only going to take a few hours. Luckily my brother had come home and was able to give me a lift. The shop looked busy. "There are going to be a lot of people hopping on and off your car today," they told me. I thought to myself, "Why wouldn't you just knock all the work out and get the car out of the way? Well, maybe that's why I teach Spanish rather than run an auto shop."

After about 4 hours or so, I get a call. The iPod hookup has still not been installed and the recall was in process. But apparently my front brake pads were at "about 5%," so we gotta fix those. I wondered how they'd missed that item when I'd been in two weeks earlier. Amy Jo later brought up the fact that I had the rear brakes replaced in December and they'd said my front brakes should be good for awhile. But whatever. A few hours later, no iPod but hey let's talk about alignment. They promise that it's going to be done by the end of business that day (7:30 pm or so). They even had a guy staying late to work on it, they said. A little while later, "Well it's definitely going to be ready first thing tomorrow morning. Oh and PS, you need some fluid replaced...we can't tell which one. It's either brake or transmission. We do that for $85 a piece. And do you need a rental car? Blah blah blah." Don't worry, I drew the line at the damn fluids. You can't tell which one it is? Seriously? There's no test you can do?

That's when I called Amy Jo and gave her the lowdown. So she calls down there and let's them know what's up. She knows cars and she knows they've been screwing me and if that car is not ready by noon (that's right, pushed back to noon) tomorrow there will be hell to pay." Later that night we discuss how she's always heard that Don Jacobs is notorious for this type of BS. Hmm, that would've been nice to know before now.

So at about 11:47 the next morning, she calls them. And what do you know, they juuuuust finished. A big part of me wanted them to miss the deadline because I wanted to watch my mom totally lose her cool at the dealership. But alas, that was not meant to be. Another $600 or so later, ta-da here's my car! For those of you keeping score at home, that's between $900-$1,000 I've spent on my car in about a 3 week period. I had planned to spend $300.

But wait! What about that mystery fluid that was dirty or whatever? I told my friend Gilfy about it. "Come to Sears," he said, "we do that for like $36." Sold. I took my car over the next day after work. He did a little litmus paper test (or car pregnancy test as I like to call it) on my fluids. See, I KNEW there was a test they could've done! He told me the fluids were fine. He even asked one of his colleagues to be sure. "What else on my car was perfectly fine?" I asked myself.

Then there was a blissful period in which all I had to do was fill 'er up with gas. That, I could handle. In early May, the oil light came on but I knew it was coming so I stayed cool. I planned out the world's most productive Saturday, complete with the world's most beautiful to do list. Oil change was #2 on the list, right after dropping the dog off to be groomed. There was no wait at all at VIOC. Sweet! I couldn't believe how fast it was going. I was going to crush my to do list.

"This back passenger tire is really low. There are two nails in it." Wait, wait, wait, wait. What? Are you shitting me? The Saturday of Productivity would be taking a detour via S&S Tire. Luckily Amy Jo could pick me up and let me use her car. Now, as previously mentioned, tires should be replaced in twos...so I was looking at 2 more tires. And an alignment because that's certainly been all jacked up driving on those crap tires.

Come to find out, the back tires were older than dirt. As in 2007 & 2008. They were down to their last bits of rubber. One had an impact bump on it; probably from hitting a curb or sidewalk...I wish I weren't familiar with that, but I'm not the best driver. All I could think of was, "Why didn't Don Jacobs try to get me for that, too?" The people at S&S Tire told me that anyone who knew anything should've told me about the tires. So, they (Don Jacobs Honda) charge me for crap I don't need while not fixing the things I do. Huh. "What an odd way to do business," thought the girl with a degree in business.

That was Saturday. Surely to the good Lord there could not be any more. Why hello, Tuesday. What's that car? You're making a strange whiny, chirpy noise. That seems foreboding. My boyfriend later diagnosed this issue as a fan belt. It's not a big deal but I was beyond frustrated. So I rolled on over to Sears after work and told them that I needed a fan belt belted or whatever it's called. It's all fixed now, and it wasn't very expensive but it just felt like it's all hit me at once. My car is almost 6 years old, so it makes sense. I understand it...but that doesn't mean I have to like it. I'm not going to jinx myself by saying that nothing else will go wrong. For all I know, there's a family of possums living in the wheel wells or something.

I suppose that's the end of my car saga. I'm long-winded. The moral of the story is: don't ever take your car to Don Jacobs Honda. They are shady folk. My plan was to buy another Honda there whenever I need a new car. That is no longer my plan.

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