Friday, January 25, 2008

Repairo Auto

If I were a witch, that would be one of the most valuable spells. Repairo Auto. Cars are such wonderful tools, but when things go wrong I HATE THEM. It always takes more time than anyone thought. It always cost more than anyone thought. It always involves more people and more coordinating than anyone thought. So . . . here is the car repair story. It might be boring (if so, skip it). It might make you want to give us your car (if so . . . call! ha ha!). It might make you cry (OK , only me).

Trent driving.

Check engine light illuminates. (big word huh?)

Trent exits freeway.

Car dies.

It is 40 degrees and rainy and 9:30 p.m. (cars never do choose very convenient times to die, do they?)

We tow it to the closest place that we have been to only once before.

Our neighbor brings Trent home (Thanks Jeff!)

They call.

We need . . . blah blah,blah blah . . . . . blah, blah, . . . think it is . . . . yada, yada, yada . . . $one thousand Five hundred eighty six dollars.

We say OK.

They work and work and then call to say!

Well, it looks like you have another problem, the ECU (or the car's computer or its brain) is out, you need a new computer. That will be an additional 870 dollars. But it is working now and you don't have to get a new computer, but without it the check engine light will never go off and none of the indicator lights will work.

I went to pick up the car (without replacing the computer) so we could think about it and also get another opinion. The owner and the mechanic were both very kind and helpful as they explained to me exactly what they had done and how they know that the ECU needs to be replaced. The whole time I listen intently and look into their eyes and try to ask "good" questions all the while trying my best to judge their character because let's be completely honest, I know NOTHING about cars and they could be telling me complete lies and I would have no way of knowing.

I asked what would be wrong with not fixing the ECU and they said nothing, but that we could never pass state inspection again! Oh . . . well then we have to fix it.

So I called and called and called and every place told me that they really doubted the ECU went out. . . that rarely happens. They each gave me their estimates and we decided to take it to a Honda dealership for a 2nd opinion and also because they told me it would be between 700 and 800 dollars to replace an ECU if that was in fact the problem.

They looked it over. They called. They told me exactly what the first place told me and then said it would be 1250 dollars to fix. What?????? On the phone you said 700-800 and now 1250? They came down to 1050. I told them we had a firm quote for 870 and I was coming to get the car.

We took it back to the first place . . . they fixed it. . . they were able to find a refurbished ECU that has a warranty and the final (second) price was 470 dollars.

I think we may have found a mechanic. They were honest with me, frugal, helpful, glad to let me take it for a second opinion, and quick to fix it.

If you ever need one, give me a call!

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