Wednesday, March 09, 2011

Fast & efficient

I had to go get my oil changed yesterday

No one nearly died this time.

Go me!

Seriously. One bad experience makes you dread the next time.

I was 6000 miles overdue for that oil change.

I tend to put off things at places where I have been traumatized in some way.

Lets not discuss how long I go between dental visits.

I also had them look at – guess what?

The engine light! Which is still coming on at random just like last time.

And just like last time it was the gas cap.

Only here is the odd (and no doubt expensive) twist.

The engine light? It doesn’t come on right after I replace the gas cap, or even later that day, but up to 4 DAYS later. I haven’t touched the gas cap in that time.

Probably my neighbors are not sneaking over after midnight & syphoning my gas on a regular basis (though considering the price of gas ‘probably’ is as certain as I can get)

It comes on while I am driving on perfectly flat paved roads. It comes on when I am driving on bumpy dirt roads. It comes on while I am idling in the parking lot waiting for the audiobook I am listening to too get to the end of a chapter.

It’s random & cannot be reproduced.

My years of tech support tell me it is one of two things –

A) something internal & expensive is not attached as well as it should be

B) the user is a crazy, whiny complainer and probably lying and/or exaggerating about it in an attempt to get it all replaced

Since I am the user, I’ll go with option A.

I am fairly sure I am not lying and/or exaggerating.

Crazy, whiny complainer I’ll give you.

It lit up again while I was driving home & I wanted to turn around & go back to the mechanic and say “SEE!” because I’m starting to think they don’t believe me.

I was in and out of the repair place in an hour, which has got to be some sort of record. I have a worksheet detailing what they did & what recommendations they have. Someone with very bad handwriting wrote those recommendations. It says

squiggle squiggle ‘front tire’ squiggle ‘depth’ several more squiggles and what looks like ‘slaggart retantion BAH”

I think they want me to have my tires rotated next time. I’m guessing that because the colorful check sheet they gave me has the yellow boxes checked for tires (as opposed to green or red). Everything else is green.

DH thinks “BAH” in not mocking me, but is actually FEA, or front end alignment

They told me they could run some sort of diagnostic thing for the engine light & jargon jargon wiring jargon replacement motherboard jargon order something jargon jargon. $150 and up.

Then they said if it was the actual engine, the light would flash instead of being steady.

So I said ‘I’ll live with it for now’

Sooner or later some other issue will force my hand on the hourly labor charges and I’ll have them look at it then.

10 comments:

Lizziemade said...

Ah, sympathy coming over the sea to yooooou.... I had similar issues with my old car. A peculiar rattling sound that was intermittent and would never, ever happen when I was at the garage. The guy even got me to take him out in the car for a drive, to demostrate this rattle... would it rattle - of course not. The only remotely rattly sound was coins jingling in the door-pocket, where I kept them for the car park. The guy had the cheek to suggest that this jingling was my "rattle". I think he re-considered after I'd finished explaining that I could recognise the sound of jingling coins... you get the idea. However, I'm sure they didn't believe me about the stupid rattle. The thing that really wound me up was that the rattle had only started After the car had been at the garage for a service. I am sure something was loose, but did they ever find it? Hmmm... And the problem stopped as suddenly as it started too. One day I realised I hadn't heard the rattle for ages and ages... that, in fact, it was probably gone altogether. Hmmm...
My advice is to get a "new" car, before that light becomes a problem that you have to pay lots of bucks to have fixed!! Mind you, there's no guarantee, of course, that the "new" car won't have its own share of lights, rattles or squeaks, that no-one can reproduce and the garage never believe is happening at all!
Sigh... life was easier when we used a horse and cart!
And I am sure that mechanics are sent to the same writing classes as doctors and dentists - their writing also looks like a collection of squiggles which only other drs, dentists or mechanics can decipher.
You really need Havoc or Mayhem to become a mechanic - problem solved!

Katie said...

Are you me? Seriously. I kid you, but I've had issues with my car since I got it in 2005. I'll admit I've put off oil changes when I'm tight on cash (read: cheap) and it hasn't been good.

This jumped out at me:

"The engine light? It doesn’t come on right after I replace the gas cap, or even later that day, but up to 4 DAYS later. I haven’t touched the gas cap in that time.

Probably my neighbors are not sneaking over after midnight & syphoning my gas on a regular basis (though considering the price of gas ‘probably’ is as certain as I can get)"

I say this, because the last time the gas prices jumped up super high around here (about 2008) I was leaving work one day to find a guy syphoning my gas in the parking lot....I wish I was kidding.

Andrea @ The Creative Junkie said...

My check engine light has come on so many damn times, I feel like it's talking to me in morse code. I hate that thing. Every time it comes on, I hold my breath, thinking my car is just going to explode or something.

Cindy Carlson said...

I'm in that boat too. We had gas cap light thing on our van. I got a new cap, the cheap fix, and luckily for us, it actually worked. For about two months we were check-engine-light-free, but then the light came on again. Our oil change guys tell me its something about the car engine not firing on all cylinders. As if I didn't have that problem as a personal issue already. Then the check engine light came on in the other car as well. That car is the one we used to think of as reliable (except for that exhaust smell we get inside it whenever we stop with the car running for a minute and then move again). Sadly, now that it's paid off, it's needed lots of work. We had the transmission replaced a few months ago and there is yet another expensive job to do related to that still to be done that I've been avoiding. I haven't found out what the engine light thing is yet. I figure I'll just take it in for repairs and have to hand over my wallet sometime not too far in the future. Now that I am not getting paid, I am reluctant to even admit I have a wallet, much less hand it over, but you don't have much choice if there is a safety issue involved and your kids ride in the car. And did I mention the van breaks?

Pat, pat on you. you are not alone.

humel said...

Hooray, nobody nearly died! That is good news :-)

I bet even horses and carts had problems. The horses would need their hooves rotated every so many clops. Their left ears would flicker to indicate a problem (like running low on oats). I'd take this further but I'm too tired tonight....

Ptooie said...

Having lived with the engine light on in my truck for a year now and the past month on our car, I will gladly point out to you that LOTS of the things that cause the darn light trigger it 3 cycles after the fault happens (or clears). So possibly the fault occurs when you get gas, but if it's one of the 3 cycle ones the light doesn't show up for a few days?
For the record- we know why the light's on in the truck, but hubby's nervous about buying the correct part and getting access to replacing the part. Car he finally fixed this past weekend- replaced oxygen sensor (took 3 tries to get the old one out).

Comfy Mom said...

We're seriously considering encouraging that. Or plumbing & electric.

Comfy Mom said...

omg! I came out of the mall in 2007 to find my gas tank had been drained & it had been half full when I parked

Comfy Mom said...

Me too

Comfy Mom said...

I remember reading horses were always throwing their shoes, which I suppose is like getting a flat.