Car Talk

I bought my faithful Toyota Corolla in March 2005. For our eleventh anniversary, I bought it a new catalytic converter. I would have preferred a less expensive gift, maybe a nice car wash, but stuff happens.

The check engine light came on last Thursday evening as I was driving home from work. When it came on last June, the folks at the local dealership replaced the gas cap. Two weeks later it came on again, and they replaced the (rather more expensive) charcoal canister. So I figured another piece of the emissions system had cratered—after all, the car has more than 205,000 miles on it—but yellow lights on the dashboard make me nervous, so I was happy to catch a ride with a friend over the weekend—thanks, Gerry—rather than make a hundred mile round trip to a writers’ meeting.

Monday morning I took the car to the dealership, sat in the waiting room with my back to the TV, and read on my Kindle. I didn’t even wince when the service rep showed me what it would cost to replace the catalytic converter. I haven’t made a car payment since 2010, and the occasional repair costs are hardly unexpected.

The service rep came back an hour later with the news that they couldn’t put the car back together again without replacing a badly corroded oxygen sensor—and the nearest replacement was in Plano (I live near Houston, Plano is near Dallas). The car should be ready tomorrow, she said, and would I like a shuttle ride home?

Hardly. I had a lunch date, and more importantly, I work on Tuesday. I needed a car. Well, they didn’t have rental cars any more, but she could call Enterprise for me.

Excuse me? You took my car apart, you can’t put it back together until tomorrow, and you want me to rent a car from Enterprise? With whom may I lodge a complaint, please? Let me talk to my manager, said the service rep (a very nice young woman, by the way). Amazingly, the manager found me a loaner within minutes. Sometimes it pays to complain.

All she needed was my drivers license and proof of insurance. Another lesson in what I don’t know about my new phone: I had downloaded my car insurance app, and could actually display my insurance card on the phone, but I had no idea how to email it to the office computer so someone could print it out. Had to hike the length of the service bays to retrieve the paper card (completely forgetting to grab my garage door opener—good thing I have the spare in the kitchen!).

So I left in a loaner, a very nice 2015 Corolla. Took me several tries to change the all-digital touch screen radio from the Christian music station to NPR. Positioned the mirrors. Played hunt and peck with the A/C (it was 84 by afternoon). But I picked my friend up for lunch on time.

That was two days ago. I eventually figured out how to manage the air conditioning, but my success with locking and unlocking the doors with the little push button thing was pretty much random. The loaner was quiet and comfortable and a pleasure to drive, but I was happy to get my faithful car back this morning. My spare garage door opener is back where it belongs, I know where all the radio buttons are, and my car is happy again.

At least until it needs new tires.

3 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Cheryl Bolen
    Mar 19, 2016 @ 00:22:07

    I learned something from reading this. If they told me to call Enterprise, I would have. Good for you for speaking up!

    Liked by 1 person


    • Kay Hudson
      Mar 19, 2016 @ 22:47:30

      I’m not usually all that assertive, but I was already cranky about the repair delay. BTW, I know know how to email my insurance card, should I need to do so again.



  2. JF Owen
    Apr 27, 2016 @ 20:10:14

    I can’t live without NPR either. 🙂



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