Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Car Maintenance

I love my car.  I love it so much that when I first had a car I named him Craig.  Craig has been reincarnated three times since we first started driving together.  He was first a Hyundai Excel.  After that body died, he was reincarnated into the body of a Saturn.  After that, he had a brief stint as a Toyota Avalon before finally becoming the Corolla that he is now.  As much as I love Craig, I HATE dealing with my car.  It’s something I think most women feel—certainty that we’re getting ripped off just because we’re women and presumably don’t know any better.  I did get ripped off (almost) once with my first car.  I took it to the place my dad told me to  for a safety inspection and came out with a bill for far more than I’d ever had at one time in my meager college student checking account.  They listed item after item that needed to be fixed in order to pass inspection.  I left, telling them not to do anything until I talked to my dad.  He took one look at the estimate and knew I was being fed a line of you-know-what.  He then went up to the shop and was recognized immediately.

“Hey Mike, how’s it going?”

“Well I’m a little confused at the estimate you gave my daughter here.”  That’s right, his daughter.  Suddenly things had changed.

“Oh, well, that’s just what we recommend.”  Uh huh.  A more modest few hundred dollars later and I had a car that passed inspection.  Ever since then, I've always sent my husband or my dad to do my car “dirty work”.

Now that I've moved too far for daddy to rescue me and Nick is gone four out of seven days a week, I've often had to deal with Craig’s minor maintenance issues on my own.  It wasn't so bad in Arizona when we had a nice factory warranty and anything the Toyota dealer wanted to do was covered.  Not so much anymore. 

Last week, Craig needed an oil change.  I took it to Jiffy Lube on my lunch hour, expecting them to find something else wrong with it and of course they did.  New air filters (inside and out—whatever that means), new windshield wipers (which I’m pretty sure I did need) and they wanted to rotate my tires. 

I’m convinced that tire rotation is a scam.  It used to be every 10,000 miles they recommend it.  Now it’s every 5,000.  I only get my oil changed every 5,000 miles (recommended by the dealer) so now, I need a tire rotation EVERY TIME?  What’s the point?  They say it’s so the tires wear evenly.  Well why do I need that to happen?  That just means that when I need one new tire, I’m gonna need four!  I’d rather they wear unevenly and only replace one at a time.  THAT seems to make more sense to me. 

Not a few days later, I was getting ready to leave for work and Craig decided he didn't want to start.  It was lightly snowing so I got the girls out of the car and called AAA.  The guy showed up, revved my engine a bit and tells me my car has a cold.

What?  Excuse me, do I have STUPID written across my face? I must have because that’s the most ridiculous thing I've ever heard. 


No, really—my car is congested.  I need to have my fuel injectors cleaned.  OK—whatever.  The car was started so off to work I went.  Nick can deal with that when he gets home from wherever he is.  The last thing I’m going to do is go into a car store (or whatever they call them) and say, “My car has a cold.  Can I get some car Sudafed?”  I don’t think I’d be taken seriously at all.