Thursday, January 24, 2008

Would you like cheese with that?

So, a couple of weeks ago the Suburban (the parallel parking one) decides to blow the fuse that keeps the brake lights on. And it was now leaking more coolant than before. And it was drip drip dripping more oil on the driveway. And there was that terrible squeaking as the engine ran.

So it was time for a trip to some place for Expensive Repairs.

Now the place that I used to go to was a mile from GMI, where I used to work for a very long time until it was decided that my employment wasn't really that necessary since they were getting ready to get sold. Now this other place, as it turns out, was really great fixing the car. When they fixed it, it was fixed until it broke again and they never surprised me, though I was, let's just say, a Really Good Customer. Only problem was the location, 17 miles though lousy traffic from home.

Fast forward back to two weeks ago. After lots of "I don't know where to take this thing to get it fixed since I don't want to drive into Sunnyvale and then get a ride back to Redwood City" de-motivation for going to the old place, I (fatefully) chose the Firestone Car Care shop in Redwood City.

Their web site (they are a national chain) extols the virtues of the experience they bring to the job. After talking with the technician fellow about the problems, they seemed to understand and everything so I left the rapidly depreciating Suburban with them.

I'll compress this so you don't get bored.

They originally quoted just under $2K to fix everything. Ouch, but OK since there was a lot wrong. Then they took NINE DAYS to do the work. Every day after the third day, the job was "almost done" and I'd have the car that morning/lunchtime/afternoon/evening.

Finally the manager Medi, after god blessing me a dozen times during this process, assured me that he had Personally Driven the vehicle and it was completely repaired. He is the sort of fellow who is so busy telling you that everything is OK and he is looking out for you that you can't get a word in edgewise. So I came to pick it up.

The bill was now about $800 more. I expected some of this because they "discovered" (actually paid another shop with actual expertise to discover - so much for experience) a faulty fuel injector. The replacement of this one component was $555. Then they belatedly told me the giant squeaking noise was the alternator bearing so they had installed a new alternator (not a rebuild) without even asking me about this. $213.99. There was some other minor crap, blah blah blah.

So I get the thing home. Next day I notice it is still leaking oil, not as much but more than nothing. Then today, after a few days driving the engine starts missing while idling. Then the car is hesitating and surging (while presumably dripping oil) when starting from a stop. And there is this whine that tracks with engine speed that I never remember from before. And the transmission (which they drained and flushed and replaced a pan gasket to) is shifting strangely - too early and too late. And the power loss issue that I pointed out to them on day one is seemingly worse.

So I took it back to them this evening to report all these problems. They are looking at it again in the morning.

Sometimes, I just hate cars.


Anonymous said...

Oh, Bob. You shoulda called me. You turned me on to the shop in Sunnyvale, so I coulda turned you on to a shop I was happy with in Redwood City!

I hope things turn out well, but I won't hold my breath...


Anonymous said...

Sometimes you should just stick with what you know. But ouch! I feel your pain on the car repairs.