Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Car Update

So, the car drama continues, but we've made some progress. I just want to point out here that we still feel like no one is a straight shooter. I understand mechanics have a trade most of us normal people don't know and they need to make money. However, as with any trade or service, there should be some amount of honesty expected by the consumer.

I do not feel like Sallie and I have gotten much honesty here.

So, to recap, the first place we brought it to for safety and emissions wanted us to pay this:

- Swaybar is busted - $110 - A legit fix
- Side view mirror has a crack - $80 or go to a glass place and get a new one cut
- Battery - $120 - This was laughable. I can get a battery for $70 and put it in within 10 minutes.
- Failed emissions because they couldn't hook the computer up to the OBD connection - $300 just to fix the connector. That's not to pass emissions, just to fix the connector so they could run emissions.

We took the car to Nick. He was unable to fix the sway bar because it was rusted, but the OBD connection, he fixed with a piece of tape. That's right, a piece of tape. It's not perfect and he has a little bit of work to do still, but he saved us $300.

We took the car to a second emissions place, they said we failed because the check engine light was on and it was a manufacturer's code. So we had to take the car to... duh DUH DUHHHHHHN.... the dealership.

Dealerships are notoriously the shadiest of all mechanics. Unless you have a full warranty, they will probably screw you.

They turn the check engine light off and tell us to drive around for a few days and see if it comes back on. They didn't know if anything was actually wrong with it, but they charged us $75 to get the light turned off.

We bought a sway bar kit when we thought Nick could fix it, and thank God, the mechanics used our part. They said it wouldn't be under warranty, but it saved us $60 on the part alone. (First place wanted to charge $75 for the part, we bought it for $12.99 at O'Reiley's Autoparts.)

They then said they couldn't pass us for safety inspection because, and I quote, "the ball joints on the suspension are starting to show signs of wear." So first off, the ball joints are starting to show signs of wear. They aren't showing wear, they aren't worn, they are starting to show signs of wear. This car is 12 years old, the entire car is starting to show signs of wear, but it still drives.

Second, the other place didn't notice this on our inspection.

Third, they want $524 to fix this and said it will take about 3 hours.

Sallie takes the car from the dealership and drives it to the place we got our original inspection. Passes without issue. They even overlook the side view mirror this time.

So, we have now saved about $964.

The unfortunate thing is, the Check Engine light came back on today. Which means we have to take it back to the dealership so they can start troubleshooting our emissions system. Yesterday, they said the might require them driving it around for 3-4 hours.

So Sallie might have to use more of her PTO and who knows what's wrong with this. Could be as simple as a worn out hose or something not being as tight, or it could be a crack somewhere in the system.