Tag Archives: Car repair

Adding Insult to Injury with a Dose of Minivan Thrown In

As mentioned the other day the Triple B Family Truckster has been ill over the past week or so with a faulty sensor that has all kinds of lights on the dash illuminated and prevents the use of cruise control among other creature comforts.

This is a bad thing since it is the main mode of transportation to get to the various sights and sounds that make it onto the pages of Triple B.

Knowing that the car was in need of repair I made an appointment to have it fixed. I learned of the need for appointments last week and following the Dealership’s guidelines I called and got my place in the queue.

When the time for my appointment came I went to the dealership with plenty of snacks and my laptop since I wanted to be productive while waiting for my car to get fixed. I also figured that they were more likely to put a rush on the repair if they knew that I was sitting there as opposed to dropping off the car and returning later to pick it up.

I should have known that the day would not go to plan upon my arrival at the service department counter when they could not find any record of my appointment in their system.  I assured the technician that I did in fact have an appointment and they agreed to fit me in.

Bryce Harper's debut showing in the Home Run Derby Monday night was to be the focus of today's column. Unfortunately in the words of John Lennon, "Life is what happens while you are busy making other plans." Photo R. Anderson

Bryce Harper’s debut showing in the Home Run Derby Monday night was to be the focus of today’s column. Unfortunately in the words of John Lennon, “Life is what happens while you are busy making other plans.”
Photo R. Anderson

As I was settling into the waiting area for what I figured would be several hours I pondered what to write about for today’s column.

I thought about how an article about the father/son dynamic of Bryce Harper and his dad finishing second in the Home Run Derby would be both timely and entertaining.  I have seen many Spring Training games that Bryce has played in and he is always fun to watch.

I even thought about writing about the epic spread of food that I was going to have for the All-Star Game. Picturing Nathan’s Hot Dogs on pumpernickel bread with all kinds of condiments as I watched the American and National League squads battle each other would have been a stroke of culinary genius.

And then as I settled on a topic and my fingers started hitting the keys bringing the words to life, fate stepped in to show me that this would not be a day for a column about baseball, instead it would be a column about a man, a Jeep and a minivan.

It turned out that the service technicians were pushing back on the crazy promise that the service manager made me that they could finish my car yesterday. So they sent the red shirted ensign to the customer lounge to tell me the news that they were too scared to tell me themselves.

So as I looked up and saw him approaching at first I thought that perhaps they needed another signature or had a question for me. Instead I was informed that the repair would not be completed and that they were getting me a loaner car at no expense for my trouble.

While I was disappointed that I was not getting my car repaired and would have to make yet another trip to the dealership I was excited at the thought of what new vehicle in the Dodge/Jeep family I would get to play with while my car was repaired.

A Jeep Grand Cherokee Laredo would have been a lovely choice for a loaner car while my jeep was in the shop. Unfortunately it was not to be. Photo R. Anderson

A Jeep Grand Cherokee Laredo would have been a lovely choice for a loaner car while my Jeep was in the shop. Unfortunately it was not to be.
Photo R. Anderson

My initial thought was that a Grand Cherokee Laredo might be offered if they needed to keep it in the Jeep family.  My next thought was that perhaps it would be a Dodge Charger since I know that they are often included as part of rental car fleets.

So, as I waited to see what car would arrive I got a few essentials out of my car and my excitement level grew at the chance to have a new driving experience.

As the big white minivan approached I thought surely that is not for me. Sadly I was wrong and indeed it was.

Now, let me start by saying I have nothing against minivans, as long as someone else is driving them.  I know that they serve a great purpose for people with large families and dogs or other animals that like going for rides. As an aside, I was told that I was not allowed to haul any dogs in the loaner minivan during the time that I had it.

Instead of a Grand Cherokee I was presented with a Grand Caravan. Photo R. Anderson

Instead of a Grand Cherokee I was presented with a Grand Caravan.
Photo R. Anderson

This would have been bad news if I was actually an owner of a dog.

So while the service advisor was telling me about all of the features of the minivan and trying to compare it to my Jeep all I could keep repeating was when will my car be ready? The service advisor did not have an answer to that question but assured me that I could keep the minivan for up to seven days while my car is in the shop.

I am sure that somehow the fact that I have a minivan as a rental car is payback for making fun of other minivan drivers in the past.  I am also sure that there has to be some other lesson or reason why instead of getting another Jeep to drive or a lovely Charger I am instead driving a vehicle that comfortably seats 8 with a fold flat third row.

That much passenger capacity is completely wasted on me and makes me wonder what vibe I gave off that said; let’s give this guy a minivan that is big enough for his car to fit comfortably in.

If I ever find myself needing to move a whole orchestra on short notive I think I have the van for the job. until then, this really is too much storage space for one guy to fill. Photo R. Anderson

If I ever find myself needing to move a whole orchestra on short notice I think I have the van for the job. until then, this really is too much storage space for one guy to fill.
Photo R. Anderson

It is my hope that by the time many of you read this I am already back in my Jeep where I belong and not cruising the streets of Houston in a Grand Caravan of fun.

Don’t get me wrong, I am glad that the repair is under warranty and that I have a vehicle to drive and that there is no out of pocket expense for me, which is rarely said when it comes to car repair. I just wish that the vehicle was not large enough to hold an entire youth soccer team and their gear, and the gear of all of their friends.

Now if you’ll excuse me, my minivan driving self has a feeling like I am supposed to be heading to a soccer game for some reason. I really want my car back.

Copyright 2013 R. Anderson

Car Karma Finally Works in My Favor, Sort Of

It has been well documented that we here at Triple B enjoy taking road trips to various ballparks, beaches and places beyond.

With few exceptions the preferred mode of transportation to get to each of those places is by car. So when my trusty car started acting up this week it was certainly cause for alarm. After all, a car is usually required in order to hit the open road.

The problems started when a series of lights illuminated on my dash indicating an issue with the traction control and brake system.

It is never a good thing when the dash warning lights stay on. Photo R. Anderson

It is never a good thing when the dash warning lights stay on.
Photo R. Anderson

Doing what any wise driver would do I consulted my owner’s manual to see what the lights meant. Apparently I did not get the fully informative owner’s manual when I bought my car since the only advice it gave for the lights in question was to take it to the local repair shop for diagnostics.

Thankfully there is a Firestone Auto Service Center within walking distance of the Triple B Gigaplex. So I dropped the car off and feared for the worst while hoping for the best.

This fear was heightened by the fact that I was going to be charged $60 just to have the car hooked up to the computer to diagnosis the problem. This did not count whatever the cost of repair would be.

Thankfully, after a few hours of worry I was greeted with some good news as it turned out that the sensor at the bottom of all of the issues was still under warranty for 1500 miles.

Now, Firestone could have easily just charged me to replace the sensor and not mentioned that it was a covered part.  The fact that they told me to take it to the dealership for a free repair helps me know that all of those other times I think they are charging me an arm and a leg they probably aren’t.

So I paid my $60 and headed off to the local Jeep dealership to get my under warranty repair done before hitting that midnight hour where the car is no longer covered by the manufacturer’s protection.

As an aside I have actually never had anything break while a vehicle of mine was still under warranty so the prospect of having a repair done that did not lead me digging deep in my wallet was definitely a good thing.

Unfortunately my visions of a quick fix were dashed upon arrival at the dealership. I walked into the service office and told the person behind the counter what the issue was and what needed replaced and she asked if I had an appointment.

Of course I did not have an appointment and the earliest they can get me in is the start of next week. So much for having a quick and easy repair.

While I am certainly unlikely to drive 1500 miles between now and next week leading to a currently covered repair turning into an out of pocket repair I will admit that I have been doing a bit of odometer watching to ensure that I still have enough miles to go by the time I do pull into the dealership for my appointment.

34,000 thousand miles or so ago when the future was wide open and it seemed like it would take forever for the wrranty to expire. Two years later there are 1500 miles or so to go of warranty. Photo R. Anderson

34,000 thousand miles or so ago when the future was wide open and it seemed like it would take forever for the warranty to expire. Two years later there are 1500 miles or so to go of warranty.
Photo R. Anderson

Of course the sensor failing this close to the end of the warranty has me concerned in other ways wondering what is going to break when the car hits 36,001 miles and no longer has the protection of Mopar.

Such is the nature of warranties with the manufacturer betting that its parts won’t break during the covered period and the consumer betting that they will. Sometimes the dealer wins and sometimes the customer does. Such is the dance that has gone on for generations.

So I will certainly savor this small victory of a covered repair and will certainly be more attuned to the sounds the car makes over the next 1500 miles trying to find any indication of something about to go bad that can get repaired before it is too late.

Of course, as this is the first issues I have had with the car in the two years that I have owned it I very well could go another couple of years before experiencing another failure with this merely being a fluke.

Of course this could also be the tip of the iceberg with many more issues lurking beneath the surface.

Either way I know that with averaging around 17,000 miles of driving a year I definitely depend on my car to get me to all of the places I want to see. Of course it takes me to the non-fun things as well. But the key is focusing more on the open road wind in my hair trips as opposed to the every day trips to Walmart to get supplies.

Of course stopping at Walmart for supplies in another state while on a road trip is an entirely different thing altogether.

Now if you’ll excuse me, I’m off to plan where to go to celebrate my car’s new sensor being installed next week.

Copyright 2013 R. Anderson