Thursday, March 29, 2007

Car troubles - on the second day!

One of the reasons in Wellington I was glad I didn't own a car is that car owners always seem to be having problems with them and spending vast sums of money to fix them, none of which I could have afforded as a student.

On the second day of our owning our new car, the problems made an entrance.

When I took the car out of the garage the day after we bought it, I didn't notice anything different, other than a huge thump as I went over the speed bump in the complex. But I thought that was just the racing suspension. When I came back, our neighbours pointed out that it had a completely flat tyre on the front left side.

They also kindly offered to change the tyre. They have the garage next to ours, with two motorbikes, and all the tools. I said, "No, I need to learn how to do it myself," but they were very insistent (and I was wearing a dress) so I gratefully accepted. Luckily I did, as the guy needed to use different tools than the ones we had, to get the nuts and bolts off, and the spare tyre on. I think I need another look at the box of parts the guy who sold us the car gave us. The jack is now in the boot ("trunk"), anyway, but I can't find the other bit I need. I think Alex is eager to give us "changing the tyre" lessons at some point, but I have an idea of how to do it.

I very very carefully drove along Blossom Hill Road on the spare, avoiding the huge white post truck which kept changing lanes, down to the tyre shop to get it repaired. Feeling very novice-like, I approached the nearest mechanic.

The mechanic came back with my keys, saying that he couldn't get the car to start. I assumed it was the wheel lock, and told him how to do it, but he tried that and it didn't work. He'd just hooked the car up to jump-start it, when he discovered a trick to unlock it. Holding down the "unlock" automatic locking device when the key was in the engine. So I discovered that this car has lots of random switches and security features, that we don't know how to operate. Great. (/sarcasm.)

The man behind the Goodyear counter was really funny - he told me the tyre had a broken side wall and was hence unrepairable. It was a bit sad because the tyres on our car are extremely new, but the warranty stays with the person and not the car. (He told me not to tell the repair shop if it happened again.) Geoff thinks we hit something, but in fact the tyre was already broken when we got it, but we asked the guy to pump it up as part of the sale conditions. We thought it was repairable.

I got out my wallet to pay. The Goodyear man said,
"Hold on! That's not how you are supposed to do it! I say, 'It needs a new tyre. It's going to cost this much.' And then you say 'Oh no!' *putting his hand to his mouth in mock horror* and act horrified, and then I say, 'Well, you need a new one.' And then you say, 'Oh I suppose I have no choice then.' And then you sign the paper, and I go away and put the new tyre on. And then I come back and tell you your tyre is ready, and then you pay me. OK?"
So we shook on it. And I paid him when he told me the tyre was now ready, and tried to avoid blinking an eyelid when I realised that $83 in America is really $83 plus 8% tax, which makes it over $90. An expensive second day of car ownership all round.

1 comment:

lauren said...

Well, what can we do? It's hard to live without a car in this busy country. Getting car problems are horrible. Especially when it comes to the expenses...but there's nothing we can do that's a part of having a car. Speaking of expenses, i think i have to install nissan strut bellow myself, that'll avoid it.