Thursday, October 8, 2009

My Weekend of unexpected car issues – day 2

So on Sunday wife and I did church and headed to the grocery store. While on the way I asked her if she also needed to stop at Wally World. There were a few items I needed, truck oil filters and printer cartridges. But we decided not to stop yet. It takes a left turn into and out of the place, through a construction zone. I would return later on, via another road where I can make a protected left and a right turn. So we proceed on to the grocery store and then home. I did a few chores and then decided to head back to Wally World before lunch. I head out and get into my truck. I turn and wait for the diesel “wait to start” light to turn off. I turn the key and am greeted with a slow “rraaaww…rraaawww…CLICK CLICK CLICK”. Yes, dead batteries. The Ford F250 diesel takes two batteries to start it. I get out and get back into the wifes Corolla and head to Wally World.

After I get back I changed into my old work clothes and go out and disconnect both batteries. I then perform a load test on one battery. The load tester basically doesn’t even know it is hooked up to a battery. I try and put my battery charger on it and it won’t register either. That one was DOA. I load test the second and it has about 9 Volts instead of 13. I put it on the charger and then remove the alternator. The last time both batteries had died, it was caused by the alternator failing.

Then I headed inside to grab some lunch. I also called my car buddy again! Daughter and her car were gone. The wife would be leaving to visit her father in Big-D and my other car was sitting inside the trailer with a DOA transmission! My car buddy had some time to spare.

So he picked me up and we decided to go to the O’Reilly’s first and have the alternator tested. It tested DOA also. Twice. Then the parts guy went looking for the part. And looking, and looking. Soon, half the sales people were looking for the part. Their computer showed they should have had two. They couldn’t find even one. So he called his other store and they made sure they had their hand on it! So we headed off to that store and picked up the alternator. $185.

We then headed to the local Firestone. I’d called them up as they were listed as a site for the brand of battery I had and mine were only two years old. We get there and the guy tested both batteries. One was DOA and the other showed “charge me and re-test”. He then said that we’d NEED THE RECEIPT to warrantee or pro-rate the batteries! I’d wished he’d said that before we drove over there! So we head back home. Unfortunately, I only find a receipt showing one battery. And it was for about five months earlier than the punch-out deal on the tops of the batteries. I then remembered what had happened two years back. The alternator went out, but the now-out-of-business-mom-and-pop car parts place and just replaced them for me. No paperwork at all. So we present ourselves back at Firestone with one receipt. The guy who first helped us was GONE TO LUNCH! At 3 PM in the afternoon when they closed in two hours! So the next guy does a “By the book” deal and finally decides that I’m not going to leave until he at least pro-rates the batteries and I get two new batteries. We then repeat the ordeal of Saturday.

Him: “What car are these on?”
Me: “None, the truck is home, dead, awaiting these batteries”
Him: “so you are going to carry these out?”
Me: “sort of. I plan on putting them into the back of my friends truck first”
Him: “what are these from then?”
Me: “OK. Punch in my phone number, xxx-xxx-xxxx. You’ll find that the other guy already has all this in your computer system”
Him: “oh, yeah here it is”

I was about ready to ask him if he needed to know the color of the truck, the one sitting in my driveway with the dead batteries!

But we finally get the two batteries and head home, $118 poorer. That was pretty much a buy-one, get one free deal. Except if they’d used the punch-outs on the batteries, they should have replaced them under warrantee. See the batteries were right at two years old and they are fully replaced in the first two years.

He hadn’t bothered to even look at the punch outs, nor did he bother to punch out the one’s on the new batteries.

I finally get home, after two hours of running around and FOUR trips to three different stores. I put in the new batteries and place them on my chargers. I put on the alternator. Thankfully, it is easy. Release the tension on the serpentine belt. Remove the small wire connector, remove the 10MM bolt for the main wire, remove three 14MM bolts and lift it off. I’d taken it with me, so all I had to do now was put it back on and make sure the serpentine belt went on all the pulleys correctly.

So the uneventful weekend wound up with almost $400 spent for a tire, alternator and two batteries.

I finally finished up and headed for my walk. I got back home just in time to see the Dallas Cowboys, lose another one.

1 comment:

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