Do you have a car story?


August is a busy month.  I think I've said that before.  But just for emphasis, I'm gonna say it again.  August is a busy month.  And now that it's September, I feel like I can relax a little bit.  Settle in.  Find the groove.  I like September.  It's the first of two favorite months in a row. Because I'm just like everyone else and I L-O-V-E fall.  I do.

August is a busy month.  And I think it's because August is the realization that summer doesn't last forever and just when you are about to accept it and thank the universe for the awesome summer you had, real life comes rushing back so fast that you forget to be grateful.  And then when there is a break and you remember “oh yeah, I was trying to be grateful and live in the moment because that awesomeness doesn't last all year”, it's September.  And then you look at mother nature and say, “hey girl! y'know those awesomely fantastic months of summer a few weeks ago?  thanks for those.  call me!”

For me, August = Car = Blech.

August means my insurance and registration is due.  I was so focused on getting the insurance paid on time.  Y'know, waiting until the last possible moment to optimize my cash flow and then charging it anyway?  Yeah.  And during all that, the beginning of the month brought a family reunion, the middle brings school which means buying books, paying tuition, getting a parking pass, and I started home ec (a sewing class online), and not remembering that my registration is due too.  So half way through the month, well, I guess the 23th is NOT the middle of the month but either way, I realize that CRAP! my registration is due in 8 days.  And that oil change I've been trying to get done for… too long isn't done yet either.  AND my check engine light popped on last week.  Grrr.  

On the 25th I find out that my registration was sent to the wrong address.  Weeks ago.  I thought I had changed it last year when that happened.  Guess not.  I hop on the phone with the DMV, change the address, get the additional information I need to renew online.  Thank you!  You have a good day too.

So Saturday, the 27th, I get online to renew the registration. Yknow, after payday.  Oh right, I have to do the emissions inspections.  So I add that to the to-do list for THAT day.  Run over, get the oil changed, run the emissions.  I failed.  Oh right, the check engine light is on.  Right.  

And the code reads as the catalytic converter.  But there might just be a leak in the exhaust.  Yeah.  So that part that you paid $400 to repair last August?  You car says it's broken.  Again. Grrr.  

The mechanic is not open on Sunday.  Which now means I have to take my car to the mechanic on Monday during lunch, while there is a plant tour and a VIP walking around at work, because I have class at night.  And Tuesday is the last day of the month.  Blugh.  

So on Monday I'm waiting patiently in the waiting room.  Right on the other side of the glass is my car.  On the lift.  Down the lift.  On a drive around the block. Back up the lift.  Down the lift.  Paperwork turned in.  Manager goes in and out of the office to the shop a handful of times talking to the mechanic dude.  He gets on the phone.  He gets off the phone.  Back out into the shop.  Car goes back up the lift.  They stand under it pointing and discussing.  The parts guy shows up and they sign for parts for someone else's car.  All three of them stand under my car pointing and talking.  Parts guy gets on the phone.  They point and talk some more.  They all nod, shake hands, parts guy leaves.  I'm breaking into a cold sweat.  I'm gonna have a heart attack right there in the Midas waiting room.  Water.  I need water.  Do I get a last meal before I die?  Why does it take 3 car people to discuss what is wrong with my car?  I think I'm gonna pass out.

Manager man comes in.  Asks me to come out and look at the car with him, it'll be easier to explain what's going on if he shows me.  Seriously?  It's that bad?  How much will I get for it if I trade it in?  I can't afford car repairs.  Or car payments.  Shoot!

As it turns out, the catalytic converter is fine.  They were discussing whether or not that was the right catalytic converter for the car.  Which it is.  So that's not the problem.  Also, the sensor is fine.  But there is the TSB, a technical service bulletin, that says Corollas between x and y years have a glitch in their computer that doesn't record all the sensor readings.  Which flips the check engine light on.  But you can just go down to the dealer and they'll update the computer for $160 and it won't happen anymore.

WHAT!  Seriously?  $160 for an update to a computer they built?  They sold?  They want money to fix something that was faulty to begin with? Seriously?

Yeah, but because you weren't here for a whole hour, we'll cut your diagnostic fee in half.  Oh gee.  I'm so lucky.  thanks.  And they cleared the check engine light.  Wait… there isn't anything wrong with my car, the engine light isn't on.  I can pass emissions.  

So I head back to work after hitting the drive through for lunch.  I'd like to say ick but it really hit the spot.  Off to school after work.  Out at 6:45.  I wonder if Jiffy Lube is still open?  Drive by at 7:15… nope.  Closed 15 minutes ago.  BLast!

Off to work on Tuesday, the last day of the month.  It's my busy day so I don't take a lunch.  Get off work and go straight there.  Hi, I was here on Saturday and failed my emissions.  I'm ready to retest.  Yep, the engine light is off.  10 minutes waiting, reading a really good book that I'm sad is now over. Ma'am?  You passed.  Heck yeah I did!  Woop woop!

Home home home here I come.  On the last day of the month.  Online renewing my car registration.  Printing my temporary registration.  The decals will come in the mail in a couple days.  I love the internet.

I still haven't gone to the dealer to get the computer updated.  But I will.  Eventually.

The moral of the story?  Don't wait until the last stupid moment to take car of the important stuff.

And I wanna hear your car story so share!

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