gwynhefar: (did you know you could fly?)
[personal profile] gwynhefar

Ok, so here is the saga of my car

I took it in to Chevy because it wouldn't turn on and the key got locked in the ignition, which I took, in my ignorance, to mean I was having the problem with the ignition that sparked the massive GM recall.  It now looks like maybe that wasn't the problem in the first place, but we'll get back to that.

I took it in to Chevy because it wouldn't turn on and the key got locked in the ignition, which I took, in my ignorance, to mean I was having the problem with the ignition that sparked the massive GM recall.  It now looks like maybe that wasn't the problem in the first place, but we'll get back to that.

Anyway, I had my car towed to the Chevy dealer, and they said that of course they'd fix it and honour the recall, but they were swamped with people bringing their cars in for the recall and that it might take a long time to get it done.  Like weeks.  Which I was fine with, because they were going to give me a free rental.

Ok, fine.  No problem. The rental was better than my car anyway.  So they kept my car for almost a full month.  (During that time I had a problem with the rental car being towed because apparently the license plate on the temporary parking permit I got for the rental was one letter off the actual rental plate.  I'm still in negotiations about that.)

Finally, two weeks ago Friday, I got a voicemail telling me to call the dealer.   I assumed that meant it was finished, which was good, because I knew I was headed to Mexico last week, and was hoping to get my car back before then.  I didn't get the message until they'd already closed, so that Monday, two weeks ago today, I called them back.

The lady who took my call didn't know anything about the message, and said the car wasn't fixed yet, but when I told her about going out of the country, she told me they could have it done that week.  Technically it was done on Thursday, but I couldn't make it to the dealership that day because I was working late, so on Friday afternoon, one day before my flight, I went to go pick it up.

It wouldn't start.  I told the guys at the dealer and they said yeah, they'd had problems with the battery when they brought it around front but the battery was probably just dead from sitting on their lot for a month, so they jumped it and told me to drive around for a little while and it'd be fine.  I drove around for the better part of an hour, taking the scenic route to Target where I had to pick up some last minute travel necessities.

I came out of the store about 45 minutes later, and it wouldn't start.  Ironically, my phone, which I'd ended up using too much that day (my phone doesn't hold a charge well) chose then to die.  So I was stuck in the Target parking lot with a dead car and no phone to call for roadside assistance.

I was about to go into the store and borrow their phone, when the woman parked in the spot facing me approached.  What happened next was the one good thing in this saga and restored my faith in humanity.  She clearly spoke not a word of English, and my Spanish is limited to things like hello and goodbye, please and thank you, yes and no.  Through gestures and those few words, we managed to get my car jumped, which took three tries because her battery was corroded.  When I think of how hard it must have been for her to offer to help like that, knowing there was likely a pretty strong language barrier, I can't help but be extraordinarily grateful.  'Gracias' didn't feel sufficient, but it was all I knew.

So by then the dealership was closed, so even if I wanted to go back I couldn't.  Also it was getting late, and I had an early flight the next morning.  So I drove it home.  The next morning I left for Mexico taking a cab to the airport and having a lovely time, except for the extreme heat.

I got home this past Saturday night.  The dealership and my regular car folks were both closed on Sunday, so this morning I got up earlier than usual figuring I'd need another jump.  Went to turn on the car and it wouldn't start, which I expected, but it also took my key again.  So I called the dealership quite a bit ticked off, saying that not only was my battery not fine when they told me it would be, but now I was having the same problem they said they'd fix.

They told me that it was part of the car's design to lock the key in the ignition if the battery is dead, which I'm sure makes some obscure sense somehow but I don't get it.  So now I realise that might been the problem from the very beginning, not the ignition recall.  Not that they told me that the first time I brought it in.

So I called roadside assistance, told them I needed a jump so I could go buy a new battery (as if I can even afford that right now, my savings are dwindling very quickly with all that's happened this year).  The guy came by with the jump thingy.  Now, my car, a 2006 Cobalt, has the battery in the trunk but has wires up to the front for jumping under the hood.  The guy jumped it from under the hood, but it wouldn't hold the charge.  A neighbour who claimed to know a lot about cars said that it might take the charge better if he attached the cables directly to the battery in the back.  But the roadside assistance guy insisted that wouldn't make a difference and that I'd need to get it towed.  Then he packed up his stuff and drove away.

So I called roadside assistance back and asked for a tow.  An hour later the tow guy gets there.  He goes to put it on the bed, but he can't get it in neutral because of course that's locked too.  So he says he's gonna try to jump it and see if we can get enough charge to at least unlock the shifter.  He doesn't even try to jump it from the front, he attaches the cables to the actual battery in the back.  And what do you know, not only did we get enough charge to unlock the shifter, the car actually starts.  So much for not making a difference.

So the guy says he's got a battery back at his shop down the street and quotes me a good price so I say what the hell and follow him back and buy the new battery, which he installs for me.  Car seems to be working ok now, but I'm still not trusting it until I make it a few weeks without problems.

And of course because of all this I was two hours late to work and I've got a migraine.  *sigh*

Date: 2014-08-04 09:12 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
They told me that it was part of the car's design to lock the key in the ignition if the battery is dead,

How in the world can anyone think that makes any sense?

I once had a car that would keep keys that were less than perfect. If the key got slightly worn or otherwise dinged up, it would turn halfway then stay there. It was seriously annoying. Once when I called for help the guy who came out to deal with it for me showed me how to take the ignition column apart and force it to let go of the key. Either he or someone else not long after showed me how to start the car without the key once the ignition column was apart. Once I knew both of those things I could start the car without a key in less than ten minutes as long as I had a long-shafted screw driver.

Anyway, I'm sorry that your car has been giving you grief. Hopefully it will behave itself now that it has a new battery. It is nice to hear from you though.

Date: 2014-08-04 09:17 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
Yeah, I've mostly been using Facebook when I've been using anything because more of my friends and family are there. But the recent TH-revival has reminded me that I have lots of friends on LJ who aren't on FB so I'm gonna try and remember to crosspost more.

Date: 2014-08-05 03:37 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
What TH-revival would that be? I really miss TH and the people there.

Now is a good time to come back to LJ. The new management is acting like they actually care what the users want. It is an amazing change.

Date: 2014-08-05 03:46 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
The mailing list has started up again:

No idea how long this revival will last, but a bunch of us are talking to each other again :)

Date: 2014-08-05 03:51 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
I'll have to see if I can successfully subscribe to that list now. I never could when it was originally set up because it was set up to disallow subscription by e-mail or some such stupidity and I didn't want to subscribe with a google account. I still don't.

Date: 2014-08-05 04:00 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
I don't know because I do use a google account but I'm pretty sure there are others subscribed from different email clients.

Date: 2014-08-05 04:18 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
The mail client doesn't have anything to do with it. Google accounts don't necessarily have gmail addresses connected to them either. You can connect any address you like. I just don't want to connect my normal addresses to gmail because I have strong issues with google and privacy and I don't want google connecting my various addresses and activities together. I will try subscribing and see what happens. Maybe it will work now. Or if not, maybe I'll set up a special address for that purpose.


Date: 2014-08-05 05:12 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
And I can now happily report that it worked this time, or at least it appears to have worked. I got the same annoying message that I previously got but this time there was a link at the bottom to click on to get it to work.

I'm really glad you mentioned that people were talking there again because I had given up after being told that nothing was going on there anyway.

Date: 2014-08-05 05:17 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
Jeez. What a bunch of crap to go through. At least it sounds like you've gotten it sorted out.

Date: 2014-08-05 05:56 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
Thanks :)


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August 2014

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