Last summer, Bridget’s Mustang would not start, just as she tried to leave for the trip back to Texas. We called our trusty road travel service, but there was a problem with the tow truck people they sent out.
After a full day of waiting, making phone calls and finally, giving up hope of Bridget getting on the road anytime soon, the car was delivered to the repair shop after hours. Sadly, the story didn’t end there.
A fuel pump was replaced at the repair shop before they gave up and delivered the car to the dealer down the road. The new fuel pump didn’t help get the car started, but I had to pay for it anyway. The dealer discovered that it was a battery that had been the issue. They were doubtful about the need for the fuel pump, but hey – Bridget had a new one.
Apparently, that was the week that never ended its gift giving.
Bridget called last night and said that the Mustang had been sputtering a bit, so she suspected coils needed to be replaced and they did. But that’s not all her mechanic discovered.
The fuel pump from last year? Proved to be an after market bust and it needs replacing. Yup. After only 5,000 miles and less than a year.
This is my kid sister and I let her down by suggesting she take her prized car to be fixed at our local shop. Sheila and I feel so bad about it and the more I think about it, the madder I get.
There will be bodies. Several of them.
And I know just where to hide them. There is a big tire pile next to the woods out in back of the repair shop, along with a very large dumpster. My buddies and I will find a way.
Just kidding. Maybe. There will definitely be some loud talking.
By the way, I did some research and could not find a single case of a mechanic ‘disappearing’ after doing a lousy job. Looks like lots of people choose ‘loud talking’ over body dumping. That’s probably a good thing. Otherwise, who would we get to fix our cars?
*Photos by Patti Phillips
Last Monday evening, we dropped Bridget’s Mustang off at the local repair shop. (Read what happened on Monday during the day here.)
They usually do a great job on the cars, so we had no doubt that whatever caused it to die in the driveway would be sorted out. The guy at the front desk had told us on the phone to hold on to the keys until the morning, so we did.
Tuesday 8:30am – The key and fob were handed over and we had a short chat about what the car would not do. Electrical systems still functioned, but it just wouldn’t start. They still had the work order from the day before, so everything looked good for a speedy fix. “No problem. We’ll get to the bottom of it.”
Tuesday 3pm – I called to get the diagnosis. The car had not been looked at yet. “Sorry, we got backed up. We’ll get right on it, but we’ll have to keep it overnight.” Bridget raised her eyebrows. I reassured her, “Tomorrow, Sis.”
Wednesday Noon – I called.
“Any news yet?”
“We had an emergency and had to put another car on the lift. We’ll get to yours this afternoon.”
Emergency? Do repair shops have emergencies?
Wednesday 2:30pm – They called me. “You needed a fuel pump. We’ll have it done by close of business.”
4pm – They called me.
“Do you have another set of keys? We think the theft system is overriding the ignition. You did need a fuel pump, but the key you gave us is not the original key.”
Hmmmm… the theft light flashes whenever the onboard computer thinks someone is trying to steal the car. Bridget said that it flashes when she opens the car door, before she puts the key into the ignition. I had given the guys my backup key, so that Bridget could hold on to the original. Ya know, in case somebody locked himself (or herself) out of the car while she was visiting.
I took them the original. Bridget did not want to talk to them. She wanted her car back.
Thursday 10am – I called. It was on the lift. “Call back after lunch.”
1pm – I called. Nobody knew anything. The guy I had been talking to was off for the afternoon.
3pm – They called me.
The man on the phone said, “I made a decision on my own initiative. I put it on a flatbed and took it down the road to the dealer. We had no choice. We can’t get it started. We think that something is wrong with the key and the computer and they both need to be reset. That can only be done at the dealer. They’ll get it into the schedule tomorrow.”
Bridget steamed and threatened to fly home. Sheila took her out for the evening. Lots of door slamming as they left. I stayed out of sight.
Friday Noon: I called the repair shop. A different guy was now talking to me. He had not heard anything, but promised to call the dealership.
3:30pm I called the repair shop. The ‘new guy’ had not spoken to the people at the dealership, but asked me to ‘hold’ while he did. I was told that the Mustang was next.
4:50pm The repair shop guy called and said the key fob had been reset at the dealer, but the car still would not start on its own. They had to cross the wires to jumpstart it. The car was on the lift and the dealer mechanics were looking for the problem. I would not see the car until Monday, maybe Tuesday.
You don’t want to know what Bridget said. She complained a bit about the lousy treatment her favorite car ever was getting. In different words.
The weekend was seriously quiet at our house. Bridget tried to get a flight out, but last minute tickets were triple the usual price. She made a few tense phone calls to rearrange her back-home appointments and then went shopping for groceries with Sheila. They cooked all weekend. I stayed out of their way. I think the freezer is stocked for years.
Monday 9:45am – A repair shop guy called. “The dealer mechanic is working on it as we speak. They actually had it running for a few minutes.”
He explained again why the car had been taken to the dealer. I kept thinking $$$.
Monday, 1pm – I called the repair shop. Nobody wanted to tell me the bad news, so the backup front desk guy got on the phone. “The entire security system shut down, and they think the key was at fault (saying that the key – the original – was a fake) and had shorted out the system.
I was there when Bridget bought the car. This was the same key fob she’d always had. I told the guy that. My voice might have gotten a little loud.
The dealer had ordered a special security system part that was going to take three days to arrive. Three days? Where was this part coming from? Now I’m thinkin’ BIG $$$.
And then the repair shop guy said, “The car will not be ready until late Thursday.”
Bridget and Sheila both join me in saying, “There will be bodies.”
*Photos taken by Patti Phillips
My sister, Bridget, bought her Mustang in Dallas, Texas. V-8, 5 on the floor, leather seats, sweet car.
The dealer tried to talk her out of buying it by saying, “It doesn’t like rain or snow.”
She looked at him dead-on and said, “When does it rain or snow in north Texas?” She signed on the dotted line ten minutes later.
She loves that car. I love the sound of the engine. Everybody who rides in that car wants to see how fast it can go. (Trust me, it’s quick.) It really does not like rain or snow, because the last time she drove cross-country to visit, it got stuck in the driveway just before she was scheduled to leave…in the rain. Read the story here: http://bit.ly/LIUzQF A neighbor helped us then.
This visit, she drove Sally a lot more and had fun showing it off to some local car buffs. But, when it was time to load the bags in her dream auto and leave, the engine didn’t want to turn over. There was a heavy, rhythmic whirring sound, but it didn’t quite ‘catch.’ That seemed better than the finality of the ‘clicks’ last time, but not by much. It wasn’t raining, so the cause was a mystery – not one that I could solve.
9:35am We called our roadside service agency. We were assigned a reference number. The usually reliable agency was slammed with holiday calls, so we settled in for an hour-ish wait with more coffee all around.
11:15am A man from the tow truck company called and said he was on the way and wanted to know how to get to us. His announced location was 20 minutes away and I gave him ‘can’t-get-lost’ directions.
Noon-ish The tow truck guy showed up, but he had a wrecker, not the flatbed truck Sis needed. To our surprise, he had hooked the Mustang up before we got outside to give him the key. Even the tow truck guy saw the mistake in doing this, but muttered something about ‘the’ (translation= only) flatbed truck being needed elsewhere first. He unhooked the car as we discussed transmissions and Mustang shapes and bumpy roadways and damage to the car. Lots of grumbling on his part.
12:15pm He called someone and requested a flatbed truck be sent to our address.
I asked, “How long will that take?”
His reply? “No more than 40 minutes – tops.”
We waved goodbye and sat down to lunch.
1:10pm No sign of any tow trucks. I called the roadside people. The gal who answered was very sorry about the delay and said that a dispatcher would call me right back with an update about the tow truck arrival. Nobody called back.
2:05pm No sign of any tow trucks yet. I called the roadside peeps. B was tapping her foot, any chance of getting a couple of hours on the road before dark, long gone. The roadside gal was dismayed when I told her the story and said that a dispatcher would call me right back. I yelled, “WAIT!!!” into the phone and told her that I had been hearing that all day, that I had officially lost my patience and that I would wait on the phone until someone spoke to me who knew what was going on.
Turns out that the towing company had taken me off their list of jobs for the day, because for some reason they did not understand about the flatbed truck.
After several apologies, the roadside people issued me a new reference number and said someone would be right out. Sure thing. Bridget canceled her hotel reservation and went off to take a nap.
3:15pm No tow trucks in sight. Mustang has not moved. Guess whom I called? A supervisor got on the phone, and I ran down the details. Again. She apologized for everyone’s poor performance and asked if there was anything else she could do for me. She didn’t think it was funny when I suggested that she come get the car.
4:10pm A frantic phone call came in from a driver of a flatbed tow truck. He said, “I just got a text from a guy who was supposed to come tow your car. He says there was a screwup with the paperwork this morning and he brought the wrong truck. But, his flatbed broke down and he can’t make it, so I’m doing it. I’m 45 minutes away, but I’ll be there.” I knew his location and thought it would take much longer, but hey, he called. I was suspicious about the ‘text,’ but hey, he called.
In the meantime, the repair shop was going to close before we could get there. They had been expecting the car all day and knew what was and was not happening, but we made arrangements to leave the Mustang in a safe location overnight.
5:05pm The tow truck arrived. Wahoo! We made it down to the repair shop and the guy waved the $20. flatbed fee. Good thing.
5:45pm Roadside gal called and wanted to know if everything had been handled to our satisfaction. I answered, “Well, it was a bit longer than a 45 minute wait…”
I think I showed great restraint. No bodies anywhere. Yet.
*Photo by Patti Phillips