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The joys of owning a car

April 15, 2011 - Pam Rodgers
Cars are great, right? They are a much needed machine in today’s world, especially when one lives in a different town then where he or she works ... like me. So when something goes wrong or the car starts making funny sounds, you begin worry that your mode of transportation is going stop working, leave you stranded or maybe even blow up (maybe the last one is a bit of an overreaction, but you get my point).

Well, last week my car started to make a funny noise when I started it. It was a mix between a grind and growl. I wasn’t sure if it was just a belt or the whole starter that was going bad. So, I called Withum Auto in Cedar Falls (that’s where I bought the car), and they couldn’t get me in until the next week. OK, I’ll go there on Friday, it’s my day off so no big deal, right? Wrong. My work schedule was switched suddenly I had to work Friday. So I said to myself, I have an oil change here in town already scheduled, I’ll have them take a listen on my new off-day, Monday. The downfall of the randomly changed work week is that I scheduled it first thing in the morning, thinking I would already be in town for work. So I still had to be up bright and early on my day off!

Monday morning, I drop my car off at the service department, mention the problem, tell them to call me when they know what is wrong, and I’ll tell them if I want them to go ahead and fix it or schedule another appointment. Thankfully, my brother came and picked me up and let me hang out at his house for awhile. I had my Macbook and his 52” plasma. I was set for the morning.

Well, 11:30 a.m. rolls around, and I still haven’t heard from the car place so I call in, the guy I talked to was very nice but he didn’t know what was going on with my car. He said it was on the hoist and the technician was not there right now. Ooookay. “Let me know when you find out what’s wrong,” I replied and ended the conversation.

James came home for lunch. We watch the ACM’s because he hadn’t seen them yet. I was hoping they’d call while he was there so he didn’t have to make a special trip ... no such luck. James starts to head back to work around 1 p.m., I call in quick to check on it, no update and James leaves, thinking I would call anytime early afternoon.

So there I was, spending my day off in my brother’s house, working away on a video, checking Twitter for Chuck updates (Monday is ChuckDay after all) and desperately praying for my phone to ring. It does! However, it was my dad asking if I’d heard on the car, I frustratedly tell him “no” and tell him I will call when I know something.

By about 2 p.m., I call in again to see if anyone could give me any useful information, still no. Hmm, I’m starting to wonder if I should have just got the oil changed and kept my appointment in Cedar Falls. By 3 p.m., I’m really mad, I call in and speak to the manager. He’s said he’ll check on it and see what the issue is. He said that service people said they had been calling me with regular updates, I don’t think so. I was the only one doing the calling, and I still had no idea what was wrong with my car, except that it had old oil that needed to be changed.

Finally I had had enough, I call James to take me into the car place. I get there, give them a little piece of my mind only to find that my car needed a new starter, and they had already replaced it. OK, well I’m glad it’s fixed but didn’t I ask them to call me when they knew what the problem was BEFORE they fixed it? I have an extended warranty, and I hadn’t given them the information yet. Maybe it was a dumb move on my part not to just give them the paperwork first, but I was operating under the assumption that they would call me before fixing the problem. Guess I won’t be doing that again.

I give them my claim number and the 800 number to call. I stand there and wait until everything is turned in to make sure the claim went through. Luckily, there was no problem, the first time that day! All I had to do pay was my deductible and the oil change. Now, my car runs fine, and they got me a replacement knob for my heater that had fallen off two weeks ago. All’s well that ends well, right?

P.S. I left the name of the car dealer out on purpose. With the exception of this time, I have always received great service from them.


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