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The Zen of Auto maintenance

Thursday, February 26, 2009


One day about 18 months ago, I was in the car with my graduate assistant. I explained to Rashel the difficulties that I had been experiencing in order to find a suitable route to work. I needed to repair a tire on my car and I had been avoiding rail road tracks. I had counted ten tracks along the path of the shortest route to work. By adding 4 minutes to my commute, I only encountered 4 sets of tracks. They were still too much. I had been racking my brain in order to find a route that had less tracks.
She gave me an incredulous look and said, “Why don’t you just get your car fixed?” I hadn’t expected that. I was hoping for some route suggestions. Instead I am made to feel shame. Darn her.
I scheduled the appointment the next week. While I am waiting, I speak to the salesman that sold to me the car. You know, just to be cordial and ask about the industry. While we are chatting, the service guy tells me they found some more problems with the wheel area it will be another $200. I had sadness but I continued speaking to the salesman about the new vision of the Saturn line. Three hours later I drove off with a new car. I still blame Rashel for that. I was doing fine with the funny sound under my wheel every time I went over a bump.

I hated my car for over a year. I am still kinda angry with Rashel but that is another story. If she had just kept her mouth shut. I felt tricked. I would have had the old car paid off by now. And besides, my new car is Foreign. I was told that it was an American car but it was not. It was a European car that was being sold by an American car company. I learned this when tried to order accessories like a bike rack. I was a sucker. I kicked myself for a year. It wasn’t until I started looking for a new car that I realized how much I had grown accustomed to the features it had. So, a year later, I like my car. It has Onstar which is hella cool. It has traction control which is ubercool.

I have noticed that my car likes to go extended lengths of time without presenting the oil change indicator light. Since I have always subscribed to the 3 month or 3000 mile rule, I have gotten used to just taking it in when the miles coincide with the sticker that the tire shop places on my windshield. I scheduled an appointment last week. I took the day off to take it in. Yes, I don’t like using my weekend time to get oil changes. It is either during lunch or on a vacation day.

An hour later, the clerk tells me that the mechanics do not have the correct wrench to complete my oil and filter change. I was stupefied. I could not believe it. He explained it to me again, slower. It seemed strange that a tire shop would not have the tools to give me an oil change. And, hadn’t I been there before for an oil change?

Hadn’t I?

The clerk said, “No, charge but be sure to schedule an appointment with your dealer. You need an oil change.”

Hadn’t I been there before for an oil change?

I get into my car. I glance up at the little sticker on my windshield. I compare the sticker with the logo of the store. I look in my purse for the oil change reminder postcard and compare the address on the card to my current location. It was all the same. I had been there before. I sat for a few more seconds before I understood.

Someone had stolen the freaking wrench just to ruin my day off.

I went home and found another postcard in the mail from Saturn. Apparently the Oil Change reminder signal does not work in my model car. Really? I guess I had noticed that. So I have to get this recall resolved and an oil change from the dealer. On the bright side, I did not have to worry about washing my car. They will do that for me.

A few days later, I tried to clean my windshield without fluid. It didn’t work. I guess when they did not change my oil they did not fill my critical fluids. I hoped that it wouldn’t snow until I had my oil change.

I know what you are thinking. “Oh, that is easy you just pop your hood….blah blah blah blah.” Yeah, shove it. I haven’t popped my hood in ten years. I see no reason to do it now. Besides it rained yesterday. See, someone is looking out for me. My oil change and oil light indicator recall appointment is today and guess what? It is raining again. No worries.

2 comments:

h3dakota said...

ROFL - may I just say how much I enjoyed this post? Seriously, that sounds like my kinda luck. Oh, and the youngest manlet loved the cartoon. :D He has clearly inherited my sense of humor.

OMFG... guess what my word verification is for my comment posting? wait for it... "chead"!

Fat Chick said...

I gave you an award on my blog.

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