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Third time’s the charm


I am giving an old ground vehicle to a relative, because she needs it and it’s worth practically nothing. She is not the best driver, either, so if she wrecks it, it’s no real loss to anyone. But I want it to be in tiptop shape when I give it to her, so she won’t need to worry about maintenance for awhile. (She’s not as bad as the friend whose hood latch broke, and who thus didn’t bother to change her oil for the next four years until her engine finally seized. But my relative is probably going to destroy this vehicle, one way or another. I am a realist. I’m just not going to hasten its demise by failing to fix any existing problems before she receives it.)

I took the vehicle to the dealer to get it tuned up and inspected. Everything was fine, they said, and the bill was very small.

Three days later it was leaking fluid on the driveway, and the brake light was on. A logical brain would deduce that the brake system was leaking. I took it back to the dealer. They topped off the brake fluid and pronounced it fine. I asked them if they found the leak. They said there was no leak. I asked them how brake fluid can simply vaporize from a closed system, then. They had no answer. The bill was zero, though, so I shrugged and took their word for it.

Two days later it was still leaking fluid on the driveway. By that time, I was gone on business, and darling wife had to deal with it. She is much less patient than I am. She took it back to the dealer. They looked at it and pronounced it fine. “Really?” said darling wife. “Then why is it still leaking on our driveway?”

The dealer looked at it again, and found a torn Constant Velocity boot and a broken brake line. The brake line was causing the leak. The torn CV boot, they said, was “shredded,” and it needed a new axle because the CV joint was “metal on metal” and the wheel could fall off.

Darling wife made a scene in the service area at the dealer. “Really?” she said. “We bring this car to the dealer to get it fixed right the first time. It’s supposed to get a 22-point safety check each time it comes in. You can’t change the oil without putting it on a lift, and if you had it on the lift, only an idiot could have failed to spot that kind of damage. This is the third time it’s been in in one week, and now you tell us we need a new axle? Did this damage occur in the last five minutes?”

No, said the service manager. It had obviously been damaged for awhile.

“Please explain why you didn’t find this damage before?” said darling wife. “And if we had given this vehicle to our relative and the wheel fell off and killed her after it had passed your 22-point inspection TWICE, whose fault would that be?”

The service manager was speechless in the face of darling wife’s justifiable rage. Wife does rage much better than I do. I achieve “Condition Red” perhaps every five years. She does it monthly. Hmm. Monthly…

Anyway, they promised they would fix the damage at a discount from the initial estimate, and the car should be ready today.

We shall see. The third time’s the charm.

  1. 2012-03-21T21:19:49+00:00 21:19

    Yeah, I agree — awesome. When I get upset I cry. It makes a scene, but doesn’t leave the impression I am going for.


  2. 2012-03-21T02:38:44+00:00 02:38

    Your wife sounds awesome in situations such as these. I want one. (o;


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