Thursday, January 25, 2007

Never been so happy to spend $850 (paca)

Our poor little 2000 Toyota Echo has been a much abused and under appreciated car of late. It's got dents; it's got scratches; the trunk is crammed with stuff; the engine light has been on for a year; it had a scraping sound from the front left wheel; and frequently when the car is just starting off or going up a mountain, it has a real problem getting up for the job.

Of the important things, the engine light came on first about a year ago. To my credit, I actually jumped on this relatively quickly (for me) and took it into a shop. I've always wanted to find that little local garage that's cheaper than the dealer but know what they are doing. Anyway, I took it to a garage near the school and spent over $750 trouble-shooting the engine light. Nothing was working. I also became very suspicious that they were clueless on this car when one day after driving my car home from the garage, it didn't start the next morning. I had it towed back in and that afternoon when the car was ready they didn't want to charge me anything and picked up by tow bill as well. While that is nice in and of itself, the only reason a business doesn't charge a customer is when they did something wrong. What exactly did they not attach correctly? Anyway, I gave up on them and just drove the car for the next year with the engine light on, while slowly collecting new maladies.

Finally, a couple weeks ago the car didn't start again, so after the vacation, I took it into the pseudo-dealer garage - they only fix Toyotas and Suzukis. I reported four different problems and they wanted $400 just to look at them. Then today they call with all these new fees and problems to fix, but I approved them. I could tell this wasn't going anywhere good.

But I just picked the car up from them for a total of $850. Unlike the last time where I got largely nothing for a fee of $750, this time I seem to have new front brake pads, a new battery, and a new air flow sensor for $850. And the engine light is gone. If I have to pay most of my monthly salary to a garage, I like getting stuff in return. I'm ecstatic in fact.

I just hope the engine light doesn't came back on tomorrow.

On the good side of broken cars, I did get to have a lot of bus fun lately. Yesterday, as I walked from the bus stop home, I had my backpack stuffed with groceries with another bag of groceries tied to it and B on my head. That's a good 50-60 pounds of stuff hanging on my back.


bunnygirl said...

The light was probably due to a faulty oxygen sensor all along. It's the only thing I can think of that will make the engine light come on but not make the car stop running in short order.

Yes, buses suck. Or rather, bus schedules suck, as does trying to schlep a lot of stuff onto a city bus. Everyone knows alpacas aren't pack animals!

pacatrue said...

Shhhh! Bunny, you are going to jinx it. I am hoping that the mass air sensor is different than the O2 sensor because that's what the first people changed, too. Either that or perhaps those at garage 1 were shoddy and put in a used O2 sensor or didn't put it in properly at all. I guess it would have been better if none of that were true, so it would have been fixed the first time around, but if they did everything right, and then garage 2 did the exact same thing, then.... my engine light is coming back!

If you take the bus at the right time and the right places, then the buses are just fine here. But if you want to get home after 6:30 from the U, you can wait a really long time.