“Found rodents had been chewing on wiring . . . (and had to) replace mass air flow sensor and connector . . . $499.61.”
This is what my car’s service bill said, unfortunately. Apparently the modern car won’t run without an air flow sensor and, just in general, doesn’t take kindly to invading rodents.
While idling my time away in the auto service department’s waiting room, I began to contemplate the correlation between varmints and some garage personnel. I can’t say I’ve had many pleasant run-ins with furry varmints -- like mice and such, but, truthfully, dealings with auto mechanics and service consultants have been a mixture with more good than bad. However, the bad experiences stick with us, don’t they – and we’ve all had them, haven’t we.
I have become (maybe unduly) suspicious of car garages with experiences like the time a mechanic failed to tighten a replaced alternator belt and so my car just died at 9pm in the middle of a dark section of Alcoa Highway, or the time a mechanic failed to tighten replaced battery cables and so my car wouldn’t restart leaving clueless me stranded at the gas pump, or the times (notice the plural) a service consultant came out to the waiting room to tell me he was surprised my car hadn’t fallen apart before now and that it was in dire need of some expensive part. These kinds of experiences are particularly distressful for someone who is mechanically challenged.
In a city where I lived in the past, one auto parts/garage had a notorious reputation of selling “add ons.” That is, you go in for a new battery, for instance, and the service representative solemnly declares, “Your battery pan (with the little rusty spot) is practically rusted through and you’d better replace it now or run the risk of your new battery falling out on the road.”
So it is understandable when, for example, I suspect the mechanics doing the multipoint oil change packages really don’t do all they are supposed to do -- with care. Or I have doubts of the service man’s honesty when he comes into the waiting room to show me what suspiciously looks like the same dirty air filter he showed the customer before me. And it is equally understandable that I wonder at the validity of $80 per hour labor charges. Anxiously waiting for a couple of hours in those stuffy wait areas with over used chairs and two-year-old magazines does not improve my mood either.
Yes, maybe auto mechanics and other garage personnel tend to have the reputation of behaving less than honestly -- something the good service guys have to deal with too often because of wary customers like me, I’m afraid. So I would be remiss not to share a few of my good car repair experiences starring some mechanical heroes.
There was the guy that diagnosed and fixed my Ford truck’s fuel pump problem in short order after three other garages had failed. here was the mechanic who kindly used his garage’s industrial tools to fix a tractor part for us, free of charge! There were the mechanics at one garage that tried valiantly to save my dying Toyota which I couldn’t afford to replace. There were the guys that pushed my dead Chevrolet across the parking lot and into their garage from a next door gas station just to find loose battery cables were the problem -- and then they fixed the car for free. Of course, I must mention the mechanic who found and fixed my recent rodent problem. So, to all of you good guys -- thank you. Most importantly, thank the Lord for looking after us fools and children.
In my perfect world, automobiles and all their parts would not be so delicate.
In my perfect world, mechanics and service techs would all be well trained and trustworthy.
And in my perfect world, rodents would stay out in nature as God intended -- not in my car (or my house).
May God reward and bless the honest guys -- the hard-working auto service people and part time exterminators, because really, my vehicles and I couldn’t survive without them!