Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Stranded in Texas

As much as I love my car, sometimes it's more trouble than it's worth. Like now. Last week I put in $1000 to make it trip-ready for my tour travel to Texas this month and then for the long drive next month. That $1000 included replacing the rear brake pads and rotors (what the brakes grip onto to stop your car).

All through the drive to Austin and San Antonio last weekend, I worried that there was something wrong with my engine, that it was working too hard for the highway driving I was doing. Plus, every time I stopped and got out of the car it stank of melted brake rubber. I thought it was just new brake pads smell.

Fast forward to Sunday night when I get to Rosemary Clement-Moore's house in Fort Worth. We decided to go out to dinner because it was late and I was starved. I put my foot on the brake before putting the car in gear and the pedal whooshed straight to the floor. I pulled out and drove a few feet and tested the brakes, which didn't grab until the pedal was all the way to the floor. When I pulled back to the curb, shut off the car and called my dad, I played with the brake pedal again and it built up so much pressure that it wouldn't move at all.

B2 Goes For A Ride

Suffice it to say that the next morning a tow truck came and took my car away to a branch of the repair shop that had done the work up in Oklahoma. Although they tried to argue the situation and make me pay for some of the additional repairs on the parts they "fixed" they are (hopefully--I'm writing this the night before) fixing my car this morning and bringing it back to me with no money out of my pocket. Fingers crossed.

What irritates me about this situation is not only did their repair cause a new problem and they tried to deny that, to blame it on my older car, but I worry about additional wear on the brand new rotors and on my engine because it had to work extra hard the whole trip. Not to mention the extra gas consumed.

Sigh. I hope this all works out and my car makes it back to Dallas next weekend and then to the west coast, but I'd sure appreciate and nice windfall of cash from the universe so I can buy a shiny new car with a shiny new warranty.

Have you ever had a horrible car breakdown story? Or an awful experience with an untrustworthy mechanic? Please share and make me feel not so alone in my car troubles.




Anonymous said...

I have had many bad car experiences unfortunately. There was the time I was registering my daughter for school and the car we had just bought started smoking outside the school. Last year, our car kept dying at stoplights. The mechanic said it was different things and needed different parts but none worked. After paying, $800and having them say it was fixed, it died on my husband while test driving it with the mechanic. Not while stopped, while they were driving. We have a different car now, but I too would like a windfall and new car!

Lark said...

Poor Tera!!! Car issues are so horrible! I've taken to renting cars for long trips. If they break down then, it's Budget's problem. Car maintenance & repairs are so expensive, it's much cheaper to put the miles on a rental.

I love my current mechanic...which is why I'm putting his kids through college.

Shana said...

I had to take my car to the dealer a couple of weeks ago and get a rental. Try doing that with an unhappy toddler! I feel for you. Hugs!

Kari said...

Once I turned my car off, and then turned it back on when I saw a closer parking spot. It turned on, it just wouldn't go even when I pressed the gas pedal to the floor. I had to get to class, so I just called my mom, warning herthat I might need a ride home, and said a prayer that it would magically fix itself. And it did! It hasn't done it since, but I always make sure to give it enough time to cool down. XD

TinaFerraro said...

Oh, Tera, so sorry, and I so relate! With 4 cars and 5 drivers in our family, believe me when I say it is "always something." And since we live on a mountain, it's usual squeaking brakes...

Heather Davis said...

Oh, geez! Sorry to hear about the car troubles, Tera. I've had plenty of breakdown stories. My favorite was in high school when my car overheated by the Elephant Car Wash and my dad had to come downtown. He was not pleased.

While waiting for him, I had help from a kind stranger who filled the radiator back up. (It had a leak!) By the time Dad got there, he just had to follow me home. He was still mad about having to drive all the way downtown, though! I say it was a good lesson in how to check fluid levels in a car.

stephhale said...

I've had a Jeep Liberty for almost ten years. The engine light has been coming on for about the last three. We've researched it on the Net to find that it's a common problem even though nothing is actually wrong with the car. I'm hoping the light burns out soon. :) I hope you get good news today. I hate going into a situation where I know that I could potentially be taken advantage of like home or car repairs. I just watched a Dateline where they busted people doing just that. People suck.