Friday, November 03, 2006

All My Fault

It usually is.

Monday I went to a doc-in-a-box after work with a cough and a sore throat. I'm having my belly button patched next week and pneumonia would be a bad deal prior to surgery.

Nope, no pneumonia, just cold. Here's some lame cough syrup and go forth and conquer!

But this is a story about my car.

When I originally bought my Cadillac of Korean Vehicles six years ago I drove immediately from the dealership to the tire shop to buy 4 snow tires and rims so I could change the tires myself. How brilliant is that?

Well, the trouble is that I bought some seriously cheap-assed rims. Not just aftermarket steel rims but bottom of the line aftermarket steel rims. I'd never thought all that much about it. Heck, it was a Hyundai - I didn’t need aluminum low-profile racing rims with the kung-fu grip.

Let's fast forward to last Tuesday. When I changed my tires out this year (a week earlier) I noticed some strange noises from the front driver's wheel. Last year I had the same thing and the dealership checked it (wanted to make sure it wasn’t CV joints or something expensive) and they mentioned that my cheap-ass rims didn’t exactly fit. As evidence, the plastic hubcaps never fit right. They took the hubcaps off and it the problem was solved.

Oh yeah and somewhere along the line I had over-tightened the lug nuts and I had a couple of lug bolts fail. Oh well, easy to get fixed. No worries.

So the noise from the front wheel this year wasn’t all that unexpected and I figured that I would just take my car back to my parents garage and whip those hubcaps off and I'd be good to go.

This is where the hilarity begins.

As I was driving out to their house (approximately 15 miles from where I was working that day) the noise kept getting worse. So I turned up the stereo. As the stereo got louder and louder I realized that things were probably worse than I anticipated. This was October 31 and trick or treaters were scared of my car driving by.

I pulled the car into the garage, jacked it up, impact wrenched that sucker off and see: One lug nut and bolt were completely gone. The other three were about one mile or a big bump away from breaking off. The lug holes in the cheap-ass rims, which had been circular before, were roughly Casper the Friendly Ghost shaped.

But the funny part was that it took me about 90 seconds from pulling into my parent's garage to figure out I needed the vehicle towed to a shop. This was 6:30pm. I called the dealership (I don't live in Tempe, AZ, so I don't actually know any trustworthy mechanics locally) and they assured me that although the service department was closed a tow truck would be able to drop the car off at their after-hours drop-off area. I called a reliable tow company and I thought it was a done deal.

Reliable tow company… well, yes and no. If I had called work and had THEM request the tow truck then all would have been well. Since I called in as Joe-Citizen, it took them until 10:15pm to get to my parents house. Luckily my parents didn’t mind waiting for the tow company.

When the tow truck driver got to the dealership, the outer gates had been locked up tight. After-hours didn’t extend to 4 hours later. When the tow driver called (well, through their dispatcher) he said "hey, there's a Jeep out here which is owned by the dealership, I'll just drop it off next to that." Bonus. Whew!

The next morning I called the dealership and told them my car was there and what was wrong with it. I was in class all day. Kelli calls to tell me that the dealership doesn't have my car. I call the tow company to discover that the Jeep which they parked my car next to was not a single Jeep Cherokee, for instance, but the Jeep Dealership about a half mile away owned by the same company. So I called the dealer back saying "if you can have it moved, do it, if you can't let me know." Having not heard, I called a couple hours later and still no car. And the Jeep dealership didn’t know about my car and didn’t care to spend any time looking. So I called the tow company. No sweat, they would happily move the car for free. This was all hammered out about 11:00am.

My car got to the dealership at 5:30pm, a half hour before they closed. And I had to drive to both dealerships to actually put eyeballs on the car. Well there's another whole day lost.

Thursday they let me know that the part of the brake rotor which the wheel sits against was warped so much that even brand new rims wouldn’t fit right. So that's new rims plus mounting and balancing the old tires, plus a new rotor, plus a brake job (silly to replace the old rotor and not do a brake job which was due soon anyway). I could have gone cheap but since brakes and wheels are kind of important I decided to suck it up and just have it done.

This isn't my car but if you see those flat spots kind of fingerprint lookin' things between the studs? Oh yeah, mine were much bigger and more warped. Bad juju.

The long story short (too late) would be to tell you that this misadventure cost me $879 unexpected dollars.

Oh and today I drove my newly fixed car to my actual doctor because my sore throat had gotten worse instead of better.

Yep, it's strepp.

Luckily the surgeon's office called this afternoon saying the doc had to move my surgery to the week after next. Bonus!

Whine, whine, whine. But I'm sick for dog's sake.


Anonymous said...

Aww...Eric, I'm sorry you're sick - I was hoping to see you tomorrow. Saturdays are always more fun when you're there. Get better quick & call if you need anything.

PJ said...

I must have missed the post where you talked about your belly button. What's up with that?

As far as your car...Korean car, Korean woman in the resaturant, do you see a problematic thread running through your life here? Better check to see if you've got a Korean flu. :)

Eric said...

I wish I could blame someone else but my Hyundai is a pretty good car. Had I bought quality rims and paid attention to not over-torquing my lug nuts then none of this would have happened.

well, okay the strep would still have happened.

Jas said...

Step, ahhhh, strep is a friend that hasn't visited in quite a while...... icky stuff.

Just make sure you take all your meds until they are gone...... ALL of them.... trust me!

See what happens when you mock and anger the Korean restaurant gods? The come back and inflict damage on your vehicle.

I wouldn't get any take out any time soon.... .that would be tempting fate.


Chris Achilles said...

Wow! Sorry to hear about that Eric. You definitely could have used me there...Oh well, thanks for the free advertising, though.

Chris, you're friendly neighborhood (Tempe, AZ) auto mechanic. (We screw the other guys and pass the savings on to my friends!)ha, ha!

Anonymous said...

um, completely unrelated here....
We sell Hyundai TV's where I work and people often ask how the quality is. My stock answer:"If you have the same brand in your entertainment center AND in your driveway, one of them is gonna suck".
I'm just sayin'....