Wednesday, October 7, 2009

My weekend of unexpected car issues – day one

So this past weekend I didn’t have a whole lot of items to take care of around the house.
Here it was:
1) check the tire pressures.
2) Change the air filters in the “new” part of the house
3) Get my car friend over and we push my Mustang into the enclosed trailer

Estimated times to completion (ETC)
1) About one hour for the tires (see below)
2) About 10 minutes, start to finish for the filters
3) About 45 minutes from hooking up the trailer, to pushing the car and disconnecting again.

Here is what really happened:
Item one, where I check tire pressures. We have five cars and two trailers. One car was gone. I still checked the tire pressure on the wife’s car (5 tires), my truck (5 more), two Mustangs (8 tires total, I ignored the spare tires), two trailers (8 more) and a spare for the trailers. 27 tires total. But then Saturday afternoon, I remembered that the wife’s car needed the tires rotated. I figured that wouldn’t take long, an hour tops. Except when I got to the left front, there was a hunk of missing rubber! That was not missing that same morning. So at 4 PM I called up Goodyear to check on a replacement tire. Yes, they have one. Then it gets stranger. You see, they have electronic forms to fill out and there must be a LOT of mandatory fields.

“Color” the service writer asks me me.
“Black….oh wait, the CAR or the TIRE I just rolled in here?” He wanted the car color. I guess that makes it easier to find the car when they send the 16 year old kid with the grease on his pants out to find your car.

“How many miles on it?”
“28000, I guess. Remember IT’S AT HOME!”

“So…the car isn’t here?” the service guy asks.
“No. I just took off the tire and brought it in”.

The look on his face was pretty funny. Like he’d never heard of such a thing. What I suspect he was really ticked about was that they couldn’t get grease on the seats, and declare that I’d need a new air filter, or my blinker fluid was low or some other nonsense.

I’ll give them credit, he had the tire on and off the rim in 10 minutes and I was headed back home.
Wife confirmed that she’d smacked a curb up at the drive in bank lane.
So the hour long tire pressure check, became a rotation and a new tire. Two hours and $118 spent!

Item two, where I change air filters. Actually, this was pretty uneventful. Except I totally forgot to do it until about 11 PM Sunday night. I did the filter change in my jammies, but I didn’t flash the butt-crack to anyone. With our new HVAC system, the other major filters are up in the attic now. But you only change or clean them twice a year. Earlier in the week I’d been up there to check them out.

Item three, where we push the Mustang into the trailer. I decided to quit messing around with the transmission repair and just trailer the car down to the transmission shop. So after lunch on Saturday, I called a car buddy and he came over 30 minutes later. That gave me time to hook the truck up to the trailer, get the junk out of the trailer and then move it all and have it ready. My shop is about the highest point on the property, so we had a nice slope to let the car roll down. The only heart stopper, was as I tried to turn the Armstrong-Steering and line up the car to the trailer. Except I wasn’t IN the car! The car rolled a foot up the drop down door on the trailer and slowly rolled back. We’d done really well, but needed to move the car a few inches one way. We pushed the car up the hill and got it lined up and then pushed it into the trailer. After that I pointed out that one of the four trailer lights wasn’t working. So he and I take that off and decide to make a trip to the RV place and see about a new light. I was hoping to just change the bulb, but the lamps are sealed units, making them water proof. This also gave us a good excuse to take his 1970 Mustang Mach 1 out and terrorize old people. Wait….we ARE old. Oh well. His Mustang always attracts a crowd. We get to the first RV place and they don’t have the lamp. The salesman didn’t think anyone would. It seems that there is planned obsolescence on these and the trailer was “more than 10 years old”. We decided to fire up the hot rod and try another trailer store. Same story, second verse. Finally, we decide that maybe the Northern Tool store might have something. Strike three!!! But we did get some week-trimmer string and got to look at all the tools in the place. Tool stores and Victoria’s Secrets, stores where men will actually browse.
We gave up on the trailer light and he drops me back off. After I backed the trailer up so it was out of the way, I decided to get my test light out and check on the wiring. YEP! The wiring was bad, causing the one lamp not to work! It took me about 10 minutes to rewire it. Oh well, we got to drive one of the old cars about.
Three hours, mostly driving around.

The next item wasn’t on the list, but cost the most in time, money and frustration.

To be continued……

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