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16 October 2003 @ 08:50 am
I HATE car stuff!!!  
I HATE car things!! Hate it hate it hate it!! Dealing with the car people is guaranteed to spin me up in an instant – it's just like someone reaching into my head and squeezing. This sort of crap makes me cry.

I'm one of those people who mechanics *love* to take advantage of. It's like I have a big neon sign on forehead that says 'Please rip me off' that only mechanics can see. It's not that I don't understand the how and why of car things, it's not that I'm completely helpless when it comes to car thing (I get my oil changed regularly, I can and have changed a tire by the side of the road at 11 at night by myself), but I *cannot* deal with the mechanic people. I would rather break my leg than deal with car stuff – I'm brilliant and incisive when it comes to dealing with the medical profession or just about anything life can toss at me. I made the decision to get divorced and leave last year, managed and accomplished it in 60 days, all without breaking down or becoming hysterical at any time. Without therapy, without drugs. I am my mother's protector when it comes to medical things (and her doctors would rather not deal with me because I make them work at it and don't let them just do whatever they feel like), I can strongarm a $100,000 PO out of a client from start to finish in a *single* business day when the process usually takes weeks, I take care of myself and my life on my own, I turned down a scholarship to Harvard Law to go to Yale!!! I just cannot deal with mechanics. They are my Achilles' heel.

So, the car brakes started making a noise late last week. Made me upset, but I basically ignored it for the weekend because I had *much* more important things going on. Tough for me, as I hate car noises because they invariably lead to huge stress and getting ripped off. So I get all worked up about it last night, near tears, blinding headache, the whole routine. My sweety calms me down on the phone, says it will be fine, they won't mess with me, offers to speak to them for me, and I was so grateful it was pathetic. So I call up Midas, tell them I have a Subaru wagon and it's age, and ask how much brake pads would be? I was a good little girl and had my warranty papers in front of me and everything. Simple question, yes? They tell me it will be $40 for the labor. Fine. I take the car this morning, show them my papers, repeat what they told me last night (the guy even remembers me calling), and tell them that I want brake pads. Give them the phone numbers to call, and go off to work.

I get a call not even an hour later – all this stuff needs to be done, the bill will be 10 times what they told me, and the price of *just* the brake pad labor has suddenly doubled!!! WTF??


My stomach hurts now...


-the redhead-
Wolfteddywolf on October 16th, 2003 09:10 am (UTC)
*hug* if you'd like it.

I do have a constructive suggestion: (if you're not in a mood to take one right now feel free to skip this part) ask some friends of yours for a personal recommendation of an auto mechanic. I only suggest this because it sounds like you might not have done so.
Tigerlily sent out a call to the usual suspects a few years back asking for a recommendation and we ended up with an excellent mechanic who does very good work at very good prices. Of course we're not in your neck of the woods so our mechanic can't really help.
Musings from the CZ unitcz_unit on October 16th, 2003 09:36 am (UTC)
Finding a good mechanic can be tough though; I have Sigmund work on the parts of the Porsches that I just don't want to deal with, and he knows it. So sometimes he fiddles a bit and we both need to sit down, discuss, and finally have a good Austrian beer. And sing. You gotta know how to sing while drinking....

Musings from the CZ unitcz_unit on October 16th, 2003 09:16 am (UTC)

I think the biggest problem in car repairs is that mechanics have this desire to replace everything that *could* be done, rather than replacing what needs to be done. And what *could* be done can encompass a lot.

Which is ok in a way, till they start fudging the truth a bit. And of course we all think "oh no, if I don't do this my car will fall apart on the road and I'll DIE".


I've known people who have driven cars with problems that would make a scored rotor or "dirty brake fluid" pale by comparison. I remember the wife driving the Rabbit for about a year on a destroyed wheel bearing. Not "low on lube", not "scored". Totally gone. And the car did not explode. And when it came time to replace, we replaced the bearing, the axle stub, and went on with life.

I've made a concerted effort in my time to destroy the Rabbit. Ran it without water, without oil, without any love at all. It kept running. I had a hose blow on the minivan and drove it 10 miles without water. A mechanic would want to replace the heads; after all they are sure to be "warped". But they are fine; and the total cost of repair was $2.00 for a new hose clamp and $10.00 for several things of coolant. But why not tack on an additional thousand or so "just to be safe". Safe for what?

And I have done things like ignore CV joints. Resulted in me being stranded when one broke; however it did not kill or injure me. So I do keep an eye out for CV clicks, but I know the difference between real problems and simply cold joints in the morning.

I remember my first mechanic pronouncing doom and gloom because my Rabbit's master cylinder was dirty and thus needed to be replaced. However the pedal was solid and firm (good seals). Well, 15 years later it's *still fine*, so I wonder when it is going to magically explode (even if it did; US cars have two seperate brake systems. If a seal in the MC did fail I could still stop the car safely).

Rear brakes on almost all cars are seldom used; the force from decel puts the weight of the car on the front pads. But hey, might as well do them all; another $40-$100. Brake fluid is never "dirty"; well unless you open the brake fluid cap and spit in it. Which most people do not do. What happens with brake fluid is that over time it absorbs water. Which can cause the fluid to boil on very hard braking which causes the pedal to feel soft and spongey.

Personally I replace my fluid every two years, but I own Porsches, I autocross, and I have boiled fluid. It takes a lot to do this. Way more than one would get on the street unless you were usually driving say over 100mph or hauling bricks in the back of the car.

The rotor is a mixed bag. I don't believe in turning down rotors every time you replace pads; it doesn't do much good and to be honest the pads will smooth out blemishes in the rotor. Deep gourges are a problem, but once again unless you are doing autocross or serious braking from 120mph down to zero I doubt that the rotors would be that much of a problem. That said, they really were upset about the one rotor, so I'd say replace it and I will look at it. If it's just light scoring then call the credit card company and put a hold on payment. If it's totally toasted then time was saved and they get a trust point.

I toasted the rotors on my 944S once. Very very hard braking warped them both. And I could feel it because the brakes would "pulse" when I would decellerate. Very annoying. They cost $150 each (I put them on), so $90 including install is once again probably in the realm of fair.

*gentle hugs* everything will be ok. And to be honest, the pads would have cost me $40 a set anyway from Subaru, so their price of $40 total including install is actually reasonable. The add-ons though make the eyes roll. (Two rotors, 8 pads, brake fluid change, etc=$400+) That is what annoys.


Ysysabel on October 16th, 2003 04:29 pm (UTC)
I can recommend a mechanic that I actually trust (no small thing) in the southwest Denver area if you'd like.

To give you an idea, I had them try to fix my car's AC at one point. After spending a week on it, they finally gave up and referred me to a particular specialist...and since they hadn't actually fixed the problem, charged me nothing for the week's worth of labor they'd put into it.

I go to them for pretty much everything these days, and recommend them heartily. Won't help much if you're not reasonably close, though.
-the redhead-theredhead on October 19th, 2003 09:31 pm (UTC)
It would be a bit of a hike from here to there, but thank you for offering *smile*

-the redhead-