You know, men like to joke about women and cars…but what happens when you are a single woman who has to deal with the automotive mechanics or buying of a new or used car???
YIKES!!! I am here to tell you that this is the single most shaming, frustrating experience I have ever had (including rape, in fact it’s a lot like being raped). The automotive industry is a man’s world…and a man’s game. I have had a never-ending nightmare series of electrical and engine problems with my old car which is a Saturn, and have sunk over a thousand dollars into it so far for the mechanics to try to figure out how to accurately diagnose the problem. The car has 68k miles on it and is good condition for the most part. Here’s what happened. It started like out like any beautiful summer morning. I went out to start my car for work, and…
R-R-R-R-R…R-R-R-R-R…R-R-R-R-R-R-R! It made kind of a machine gun sound when I turned the key like it didn’t want to turn over. So I took it to a new mechanic shop in my town that my brother-in-law recommended. Told them I needed it fixed because I was headed back east across the country to take care of a relative who was dying. They kept it all day and called and said it needed a new solenoid. $260. Picked it up and paid and headed out (they closed for the day). Stopped to buy shoes for my trip and…door locks not working. After I returned from burying my mother-in-law, took the car in on Friday again. Told them to fix the locks and that the engine was still not starting right. They kept it all day again and at 4:30 called me and said it was ready. Said they fixed the door locks, but now I needed a new fuel pump. Said that if I let them outsource the part the pump would be $597 including part and labor, but it would take ten days to get it and in the meantime it was safe to drive it because I was leaving on another trip to go see my son. Paid another hundred for the door locks and went on my way. Wait, this time I stopped to test locks first before I left and they closed. Still no joy. Went back in and told her (office manager who doubles as a mechanic), and she said not to worry that if I brought in my other key fob, it just needed to be reprogrammed when I got back and they would do that with the fuel pump. SO…I left. Stopped for gas on the way to the airport. When I started the car, air conditioning quit, dashboard lights went off and temperature gauge went to zero not reading. I was really getting antsy and angry! I was worried about leaving it at the airport while gone on another trip, but had no choice. When I returned, it started up and after driving a few miles on the 100 mile trip home, the air conditioning came back on, the lights came back up in the dash and the temperature gauge began reading again. Needless to say, I was definitely taking it in to the mechanic the next day. The next morning, I went out to start it and…R-R-R-R-R. This went on for about six tries until after pumping the gas really hard it began revving the engine up, but it kept sputtering like it was going to die. Took to the mechanic and talked to the owner. He said they would “make it right.” Now I needed a rental car. There were none available in my town. He agreed to let me use his “loaner” vehicle. The week went by and Friday afternoon I got a call from the manager that it was ready. I needed to buy new key fobs and that would fix all the problems. I asked her if the dash lights were on, the temp gauge reading, etc. She said she didn’t know because she hadn’t checked. Told her curtly to go start the car, drive it and report back to me right away what condition it was in. She called me back just before closing to tell me that she had spoken to the owner who told her to tell me that it needed a cam shaft sensor. The fuel pump was a waste of time. They were going to “eat the cost of the fuel pump and not remove it.” So I asked to speak to him and she said he was unavailable until Monday. Monday morning, I drove over to meet with him. Told him this was the last thing I was doing with them.
That was the good experience. Made the mistake of accidentally stopping into a car dealership. How was it an accident? A couple weeks ago in the beginning of the car problems, I had the dashboard also tell me to check the tire pressure. What now??? It was a Sunday afternoon and I had just finished working out and swimming. I drove home slowly and carefully. Next door neighbor was in his driveway. Asked him what I should do, he said to put air in the tire. There is only one place you can buy air here and it was out of order. Went to Autozone and bought a small compressor unit. Next day drove to Santa Fe to get the tire checked/repaired; turns out there was a nail in it. When I left there, I had decided a shortcut route back to the highway and turned on the wrong sidestreet. A man was waving him arms at me to stop. I thought he was in trouble and needed help so I pulled over into the driveway he was pointing to. Turns out it was a car dealership. What an idiot. I should have just driven away. I made the further mistake of getting down and checking the place out for a new used vehicle. Three hours later with a blinding headache and high blood pressure I had several men pressuring me to buy a vehicle I could no way afford. The only reason I escaped with my life and my wallet was because I told them I had a migraine and had to go down the block to the CVS for Excedrin. I never went back. They kept calling me too.
What’s the lesson from all of this? No lesson. At times like this is when I really miss my late husband; he loved dealing with car salesmen. NOT ME!!!!
Now I have to do homework for school AND to find a car!!! Hope you don’t have this experience. If you do, peace, love and blessings…to all.