Car Woes

posted in Miscellaneous, People on Aug 4, 2009

Everyone has gone through the troubled time of having their vehicle, for one reason or another, stop functioning as you’d like. My car recently – upon the direction of a local garage – needed new struts and new belts. Simple enough, right? No. Before you is another tale of car garage douchery of the highest degree.

About three weeks ago I needed an oil change. From what I understand, cars need these from time to time so they won’t explode or something, and that’s ok with me. I don’t want my car to explode, necessarily. After taking my car to a Jiffy Lube just down the road a few times, I decided it was time for a change. They loved to tell me everything under the sun was always wrong with my car, and the last time I went I had just changed my wiper blades. “Looks like your wiper blades need to be replaced as well.” “No, they don’t. I replaced them last week.” Needless to say, their business was not getting any more of my business.

I instead took my car this time to Hibdon Tires Plus, another garage that seemed to have a better reputation. Because Jiffy Lube had weaved intricate tales about my vehicle’s shortcomings, along with the oil change I decided to have the car inspected. The entire process took a fun 2.5 hours, but I was happy thinking I’d have some piece of mind. When they were finally finished, I was told that my front struts were shot and my belts needed replaced, my battery was about to die, and my air filter was dirty. With parts and labor, I’d only need to throw away $1,120. Not that much, you know; everyone has that laying around. I took my business elsewhere.

I now had a rap sheet for my vehicle, detailing its worthlessness, but I’d be damned if I paid that much for what seemed like – to me – to be fairly routine maintenance. Struts and belts sound like things most garages do every day. But who knows, maybe I’m crazy. I spoke with my father on the matter since he knows a few people and can generally get parts at a lower rate. We were able to secure the struts and belts, and we only needed to find a place to put them in. It just so happened that a shop in my old hometown would do the labor for half of what these big city bullies charged. And so it was settled. I had that Friday off, I could take my car in to get the repairs, and then be done with this whole mess.

Friday came, and I drove home. I gathered the parts for the repair from my folks’ house and took them to the Red Horse Tire in McAlester, OK. It once was a pretty good garage, one that I actually had worked at before in highschool. Now, however, those good times are over.

I arrived at noon at the appointment time with parts in hand. “This will be simple enough,” I thought. They took my vehicle and said they’d call me when they were done, so I went home. (I had a ride.) Four o’clock rolls around and still no call. How could these things take so long? My mother took me to the shop so I could pick up the car. Surely they’ve had enough time to fix things. Apparently not. The belts had been replaced, but the struts were hardly touched. “Well, our strut guy is out on vacation this week,” they say. “We could get you in for next Wednesday; he’s all booked up until then.” Oh, really? This would have been fantastic information earlier in the week when we scheduled the appointment to have the work done. The best part is that they were willing to not call and let us know all of that. We had to go down there to figure it out. I paid for the belt change, and I took my business elsewhere.

There was one shop on the highway that was still open at 5pm, and we queried them on if they could replace struts. They could! But it would be a close call because they were only open for four hours on Saturday and they might not be able to get the work done in that time. Apparently replacing struts IS a time consuming process.

This part of the story actually ends fairly pleasantly. Saturday morning I took my car for the repairs and they called at 11:30am saying they were done. Interestingly enough, this shop said my front struts really weren’t that bad. “Blowed out” was a gross overstatement, and only one was showing considerable wear. Way to be, Hibdon. Way to want that money. Oh well. I got my car back and everything was fine. UNTIL….

My passenger side window stopped working. Out of the blue the motor decides to crap out. My dad and I took the door apart and that’s about all we could figure out. It just wasn’t working. I left my car at home for the weekend because my parents have covered parking (the window was rolled down). On Monday my dad would take it to a local shop to get this NEW problem fixed.

Fast forward to the end of the week. All the repairs were done and my car finally would be ready to stop being parked. This time, however, it seems like the shop that replaced the door motor found it in their hearts to scratch up the tinting on my window. There are a few quarter inch wide marks that run about an inch in length near the front of the window. I think they know they did this, because somehow $100 was knocked off the estimate. The crapstorm will never end.

But at the end of the day, I have my car back. My struts are new, my belts are new, the door motor is new, and I ended up washing and Armor-Alling during all this work. That $1120 seemed outrageous, but after it was all said and done, about $750 was spent on all the repairs. Ce la vie. I will say that Jiffy Lube, Hibdon Tires, and Redhorse Tires can all go suck it.