…and so the darn car would not start

Walking out of the gym after such an intense workout where I could last  no more than ten minutes in the sauna after lifting, I did not expect anything out of the ordinary.

The key turns the ignition of my car, but nothing happens.  Of course I try the key again, and still nothing.  The lights on my dashboard display light up like Christmas, but the starter will not make a sound.  After the chill of fear ran down my spine, I collected my thoughts and walked across the street to the auto shop, which happened to be convenient.

I knew it was my starter, and I was asked by the shop to have a tow truck bring my car across the street.  No problem, for I have an auto club membership.  No use risking life and limb pushing my car across one of the busiest streets in town at the time of the morning when people are on the way to work.

I left my car at the auto shop and returned home to shower and wait for a phone call with news.  I am strapped for cash, and I am hoping to see my family in So Cal the week after Christmas.  This car problem was the last thing I needed.  I anticipated a bill of $200-$300 for the work.  I have already replaced the starter, so I had a rough idea of what to expect.

Well, a little over an hour after I got home, I received a call with the results of the mechanic’s trouble shooting.  The car needed a new starter, and new battery.  The office manager of the shop said all of the parts and labor would come the the special holiday price of $650!


She was nice.  I will not paint her as a meanie.  She did explain that parts alone would come to $450 (aprox.).  She understood that I was on a budget, and that it was Christmas time.  She offered me the line that “Cars seem to know how much money we have in our check book”

My car truly has no clue!

I was crushed.  I told her I would be over to sign the papers and such in a half hour.  During that time I called some people who advised me to call around.  Well, I called the shop that had put the dead starter in way back when.  I was trying to avoid going back to them for personal reasons, but what did I have to lose?

So I called up the other shop, and that is when things turned.  It just happens to be that my dead starter was still under warranty.  So, replacing that starter would only cost me labor. I was quoted a much lower price.  Now all I had to do was get my car over to that shop.

I tried to get my Auto Club to tow the car for me again.  No dice!  I called the tow company who helped me earlier and asked how much for a tow.  $50.  No problem.  The tow truck driver came right over, but somehow he got my car to start.  He told me there would be no charge for having him come out.  What a guy!!!

I paid the office manager $96 for their shop time to evaluate my car. (they had my car for just about an hour, holiday prices for sure)

I drove my car over to the other shop.  Well, the mechanics there did their own check of the starter and battery.  Sure enough, they found the same issues that the other place did.  However, the warranty was still good, so they replaced the starter and put in a new battery.

Cost to Tapperass: $310

Unfortunately, I still have to pay rent and my regular set of bills.  So my trip to see my family has been pushed back to February. (sniff)  It will be over a year now since I saw my borthers and my mom.  It hurts to think about that right now.

I now wonder if it is worth it to have an automobile?

When and where do Cirtical Mass meet?


2 thoughts on “…and so the darn car would not start

  1. That sounds a bit pricey all around to me. If you buy a battery at Sears or Les Scwab, they install the battery for free.

    It also seems strange to me that they charged you labor on a warranty item. I know I bought a new alternator(?) from Dan’s Auto Electric in Eureka some years ago. It went bad not a mile away from the shop as I drove away. I went back, they tested it and put a new one in right away. No charge.

    If you’ve never done it before, putting a new starter in your car can be fairly easy, depending on the model of the car. You can always buy a rebuilt starter from the auto parts stores, too, which can be considerably less expensive than the new one.

  2. Oh no! I’m so sorry. I know you’ll miss your family, but you’re more than welcome at Chez Mama Xanax where we will be celebrating Unchristmas with take-out Chinese and The Shining in hi-def. Love you!

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