Thursday, March 18, 2010

I could just buy stock in AutoZone

posted Fri, 26 May 2006

It’s all a big scam and I am ticked off.

Three years ago, the starter on my car had to be replaced. My car had 95,000 miles on it.

This morning, with my car at about 125,000 miles, that new starter – wait, let me rephrase that – that good-for-nothing, worthless, only-30,000-miles-on-it starter had to be replaced.

I had thought the battery might be going, but then thought, “No. The evidence does not support that conclusion. The radio works. The ignition clicks when I turn the key, then the car starts if I jiggle the key. If this were truly a battery problem, the car would not start at all.”

But I didn’t even think of the starter because I had been so traumatized by my starter experience in 2003 and heck, I had a practically new starter.

When the starter went the first time – after 95,000 miles, my car died for the last time at work. Yes, it had been giving me clues, but I had tried my usual faith healing method of turning the radio louder. My friend Patricia got it started for me and confirmed that it was, indeed, the starter. We were in the rain and several men had walked by and told us it was the battery. It wasn’t. Patricia, who works on cars and motorcycles and has a workshop in her garage, knew what she was doing.

I took it straight to Sears. The mechanic told me to pop the hood. He looked around a little and wiped his hands on a greasy rag.

“I need a new starter,” I told him.

“No you don’t,” he smirked in that “women don’t know anything about cars” way. “You just need a tuneup.”

“Actually,” I said, “I need a new starter.”

He rolled his eyes and said, “There’s a ‘Tunes R Us’ down the road.” Then he walked away.

Considering that Harpo had already told me I needed a new starter two weeks ago and that I had neglected to get it done at that time – I had even called Sears to get their price ($469), I was pretty sure the starter was the problem.

I drove to the auto shop near my house, they put in a new starter for $240, and I thought I was done with starters for the next, oh, 95,000 miles.

Fast forward until this week.

Stupid car is acting up again! My gosh. At least you can shoot a horse. Or kick it. OK, I guess I could kick a car, but that won’t make it move. Leigh’s Stephen told me last night that it was my starter.

Good grief. Just one more way to for money to outgo when it’s not incoming.

I found my receipt and was dismayed to learn that the warranty was good for only 6,000 miles or six months. So what. I was going to fight this.

When I got to the mechanic, I learned that it’s not uncommon for starters to break within a few years because – get ready!

They’re not new!

No! The ones you get to replace the original ones are rebuilt! That’s right! Used! I don’t have a problem with used clothes, but I don’t want used auto parts.

“You mean I paid over a hundred dollars for a used starter?” I gasped. “And now I have to get another used starter? That’s going to break again? If I had known that, I would never have given them my old one! I would have brought it home with me and put it in my trash!” I am fuming now.

“You cain’t do that,” Wesley says. “They’s a coh fee.”

“A what?”

“A coh fee.”

“Spell that.”

“C-o-r-e.”

“What is that?”

“You gots to give them a part to get a part or else you gots to pay. Kind of like to get a new heart you gots to give them one.”

Fortunately, I have baked brownies for these guys before, so Wesley complained to their parts supplier about the starter, even though it was out of warranty, and got me a free replacement. I still had to pay for labor, though ($140), and had the inconvenience of wasting two hours sitting at the garage. And now I have the frustration of knowing I will go through all of this again in three years. I think these parts people are in collusion with the people who bought my grandmother’s house.

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