Friday, August 31, 2007

Fueled and Pumped

I’m feeling very manly right now. I wish I had some rebar in front of me so I could try to bend it in half. Ayup, I stared down a potential swindling mechanic and won.

Rewind: Wednesday, Val's car stalled as she backed out from her parking spot at work and put the car in drive. It started right up and she continued on her merry way. That morning, however, she said the car had hesitated when she started to go. Today I decided that when we dropped her car off at Roland's for an oil change, we'd ask them to take a look, maybe run a diagnostic, make sure nothing's wrong. We tell them exactly what happened and went about our merry way.

Two hours later, she gets a call from Roland's, and the guy's telling Val that they changed her oil, and now the car will start but it died when they put the car into any gear other than neutral. Their solution? A new fuel pump. Why did they all-of-a-sudden know this? Because when they called, the guy asks what exactly the problem is, as if we didn't already go over that when we dropped it off, and decides when Val tells him again what happened that it must be something expensive.

My suspicions? Raised. It's like the zombie movies when you get a tingle and realize your best friend is trying to nibble your neck. You just know something's wrong. My solution? Drive back to Roland's and get a confirmation that they've done the work, the car won't go and they are, in fact, 100 percent sure that $300 worth of work will fix the problem.

Val stays in the car during all this, because her temper is aboutthisshort and she's fuming. I walk in, point to her Corolla through the doors of the garage and say that I'm here to see what exactly is happening with my wife's car.

(I tell you, one thing I've learned to love in ten months of marriage is how much people will take you seriously when you use the phrase "my wife" when there's a potential problem. It takes the solution to the next level, that you mean business and frankly, you'll write nasty things on your blog if it's not solved. Take THAT, nasty swindlers!)

Outside, the three guys working on the car see me approaching something fierce like that environmental prick in Ghostbusters and proceed to tell me that they could "barely get the car" in the shop, even before the oil change, and that Val said that the car wouldn't go. This is when everything tipped in my favor.

Even my newly astigmatized eyes could clearly see a load of manure five feet in front of me. I'd buy a 500-foot Twinkie terrorizing New York before I'd believe these guys by this point.

I held out my finger (the pointy one, not that other one), said strongly, firmly and monotonely, "She told you that it stalled ONE time. ONE time. And now you're telling me you can't get it start at all?" That's when the seemingly nice old grandfatherly guy from behind the counter comes up, yells at me that Val told them the car was on its last legs, only he's pretty done when I remind him, "I was standing RIGHT THERE when she told you this."

That's when the crotchety old guy really gets defensive, says to the mechanics to put the car together and take it out front, that her fuel pump is so very very bad and that I would pay for the oil change, get off his lawn and then they would be done with this. Okey-dokey by me. I figured going in that if I wasn't satisfied that we'd have her car towed to another mechanic if there was a continuing problem.

Only there's this. Val's car started right up in the garage, they drove it out front, handed me the key, I started it up, went on my merry way, drove it 20 minutes in heavy rush hour traffic down major roads, side roads, fast, slow and happily burning precious glacier-killing gas, and had not one single problem. Curious, isn't it? It's almost as if they were, um, what's the word? Oh yeah, LYING to me about not being able to get the car running.

Now, while I'm driving her car around this weekend - just in case - and the fuel pump dies, crotchety old guy is right and yet I'll still be upset at how we were treated, and someone else can fix the problem and get our cash. It won't be Roland's, for that you can be sure. I'd rather buy her a new car than go back there.

(Shh, my wife is right behind me. Don't tell her I wrote that!)


Karen said...

LOL, they have always been a little shady over there. I have taken my car (and have had several family members take their cars) to a place on the side street by Backyard Burgers (sorry its been a while and I can't think of the name). Twice they had to order parts and got them discount for me and once charged low labor, second time (different problem) free labor. They are really nice. If you need the name, let me know, I'll get it for you!

Jeff said...

Heck yeah, give me that name! I'll take any trusted source I can find. I don't trust any of 'em!

Scott said...

Jennifer and I have been VERY fortunate to have found trustworthy mechanics in both Nashville and Waco. Both of them were recommended to us by our pastors in those respective locations.

OF course, that doesn't help you with your problem in Millington...

The funny thing is, the only mechanic friends I know in the world are in Memphis, but neither could help you out. One of them works for a Schneider trucks shop, and the other for a Dodge dealership (I think that's right - I know its on Mount Moriah).

Rann said...

Hey, where is your post on the Red Sox rookie throwing a no-hitter tonight???? Magic number is 22!

Karen said...

OK, the place I was thinking of was Norman's Body Shop, but they are only a body shop, sorry:( They could probably recommend someone reputable in the area though. When I asked my mom for the name, she said I should send you to Quon's (I think that is spelled right) off of Covington Pike near Elmore and Raleigh that area. She said they specialize in Toyotas (she has only had Camry's for decades) and that is where she takes hers when it needs work. She also knows several other people who have taken their cars there and they were all pleased with the price and quality of work...hope that helps:)

Jeff said...

Thanks Karen. I think we're going to drop it off at Sears in the morning, but if we feel queasy about them we'll look for your mom's fave.

Julie said...

if she's got a toyota, take it to Edmunds Automotive over on Summer, in between Raleigh-Lagrange & Stage. they only work on toyotas & nissans, and are WONDERFUL...he saved me about $1200 of work on my '94 altima that the dealership told me i "had to have."

Jeff said...

I just don't get why they all have to make me feel queasy, slimy and untrusting.