Monday, August 24, 2009

No Such Thing as a Free Ride

There's an old superstition in many cultures that celebrating any kind of good fortune is inviting bad fortune. To ward off this "evil eye," people spit (or pretend-spit) three times: ptu! ptu! ptu!

For a very long time, I had very good luck with cars. I drove an '84 Toyota Celica for more than a decade with one repair, a water pump. I drove Old Blue, the '94 Mistubishi Expo, for a decade with one repair, rebuilding the transmission (granted, a humdinger). I drove the Grannymobile, the '99 Mazda 626, for about seven years with one major repair.

Now, with Hondo the Rondo in my possession for just 60 days, it needs a monster repair: rotors. That shouldn't be a huge deal, but (a) they need replacing because of rust, not wear, but Kia still refuses to acknowledge faulty parts and issue a recall, and (b) they're outrageously expensive. The shade tree mechanic who I trust wanted $436, only $40 of which was for labor!

So I called the dealer where I bought Hondo and put the squeeze on them, tears and all. Yes, it's considered a maintenance item. Yes, you're under no obligation. But JEEZ, I have had the car 60 days! Their price was $350, a little better, but I have to drive 50+ miles there and back. No, they won't split the cost with me. But after a bit more sobbing (what, are they made of stone?) they agreed to knock $100 off the total. So $250 is a whole lot better than $436, but I sure had to work for it. I'm afraid my free ride is over, vehicle-wise. I should probably dump Hondo for a Toyota or Honda ASAP. ptu! ptu! ptu!


tim's wife said...

If there is just rust on the rotors, why are they not just "cutting" them? (A process that shaves a small amount off the surface to give you a nice new surface.) Unless they have been cut before, or more than once, this is a much cheaper way to go and perfectly acceptable though not as profitable for the mechanics so many times not offered. I'm having the "car repair blues" too. The mommy-van is leaking transmission fluid everywhere I go. RATS! I gotta check my lottery tickets and see if that rolls royce is in my future. I am totally a down to earth gal but must admit I think those cars are so sharp.

La Cootina said...

Because the new rotors are so thin they can't even be turned, much less shaved. :P Good luck with the lotto!

Joyce said...

Remember your old Rambler? How many miles did that fossil finally have on it? If that car could write a"d be in SO much trouble!

Susan said...

Ok, here's my story about my Honda CRV. I have been so smug about it never needing repairs [neener, neener to all you non CRV-owners] and POW! the AC blows and I am told it will cost $3000 to totally replace it. Whut?!Something exploded inside and ruined everything. But since it is a KNOWN defect [not to me]Honda was kind enough to pick up 2/3's of the cost. I protested that they should pick up ALL of the cost since it was like a re-call. But no, it's not a safety issue and I was told to appreciate what they didn't have to do. Everytime I start to accumulate a new nest egg, I have to make scrambled eggs.

La Cootina said...

Joyce - That Rambler was a reliable old mule. I sure hope I removed its hard drive. ;D
Susan - I feel your pain! Still, $1,000 is better than $3,000.