On May 14th my car called it quits. There was a lurch, a bump and horrible squeal, then silence.
I feared the worst, of course. I still owe on the car, so regardless of it’s working condition, I have to pay that payment. I don’t make a lot of money. My budget is tight.
I spent the money needed to have it towed home. A local auto repair shop came to take peek at it in the parking lot where I live. Then I paid to have it towed to them.
And there it sat. I waited to hear back from them. And I waited, and waited , and waited. I rang them and was assured they would look it in a few days. Still nothing. Weeks passed and I finally walked to the shop and talked to them face to face.
The worst had happened. The timing belt tenioner had let go and the engine needed to be basically rebuilt. We discussed cost, payments, options, etc.. I waited for the estimate. I finally got the call about the estimate. Yup. It wasn’t good.
They required about half down to begin the work. I thought this was odd. I have never had to pay upfront for repair work. But I (with the help of family) I got it together and paid them.
I am walking everywhere and getting rather sick of it. I can’t go to some places I want or need to go. I am also a bit fed up with the lag time getting my car repaired.
But then I found out the other side of the story.
The shop is small, local repair shop with a stellar reputation for quality work. They are nice people. They are stuffed into a tiny space that no longer fits them. So, being good business folks, they looked for larger quarters. And they found them not far away from their present location. They were told things would be done before the move in date. They paid the money for the lease and set about getting ready to move. For an auto repair shop, this means the lifts have to be moved as well. There are a lot of heavy items that need moved and installed. It is expensive. And they thought they had planned it all out.
Then the walls that were supposed to be built weren’t built. The owner of the new space reneged on many of the promises made, claiming his agent wasn’t authorized to make such promises. In other words, the owners of the auto shop got screwed over, but can’t back out now because too much of their money is invested in the new location.
So the auto shop owners did what they could – they bought the dry wall and installed it themselves. They have been working to finish the interior on their own dime. And they still need to move the lifts and other heavy equipment. Their resources are draining fast.
The auto shop owner shared this with me the other day when I was gently saying they had had my car for a month and I needed it back. He explained that normally he would never have asked for money up front, but all their extra money had gone into the new location and he just couldn’t order all those parts without something down. He was very embarassed to have to share this with me.
It makes sense. The lag times, the slow to return calls (not their normal MO), the money needed ahead of time. The shop is in a tough spot. I told them I could walk to work and not to worry too much. They took that to heart.
Now the conspiracy to keep me from my car continues. Parts have not come in. The head has not come back from the machine shop yet. All the things that are out of anyone’s hands to do anything about. You can’t fix a car without the parts. I have been promised that as soon as the head comes in, the car will be repaired.
I guess my feet will just have to suck it up a little longer.