December 22, 2005

Let Me Graduate Already's like I'm being tested. I had just made up my mind, cemented, that I was going to get started on this new job soon. In fact, I met up with the potential boss today to lay out the plans and we agreed that starting sometime in early January would work out best for us all.

But apparently the Universe has other plans. I had brought my car in to the shop today to get an oil change and possibly new fuel lines as well as have the battery and alternator inspected and while this was being done, met up with the potential boss to discuss things.

I got back to the auto shop and waited and waited and waited and waited. Finally I get word that the oil change was done, there is nothing wrong with my battery and alternator and the fuel lines won't be too expensive. However! I get told that the following things are broken:

Fuel Lines: Parts-$146 Labor: 1.5 hours Total: $278
Oil Cooler Seals: Parts-$22 Labor: 1.5 hours Total: $154
Front Motor Mounts (1): Parts-$233 Labor: 2.5 hours Total: $453
Control Arms: Parts-$690!!!! Labor: 3 hours Total: $954!!!!!
Left and Right Tie Rods: Parts-$466 Labor: 3 hours Total: $730!!!!
Upper Strut Mounts: Parts-$52 Labor: 4 hours Total: $404
RBA: (I think that's realignment and balancing after doing the arms, tie rods and strut mounts) Total: $89.95

MOTHER OF GOD! That's 3063 mother fucking dollars! They said they would give me 15% off the parts and 15% off the labor but it still came out to around $2600.

I could puke. The most important things to take care of are the oil cooler seals, the control arms and the left and right tie rods. The rest I can kind of wait on but those things should be taken care of right away. The oil cooler seals will cause the oil leak to stop and prevent any further huge oil spills from not getting it fixed. The control arms control the fucking steering and the tie rods...I knew something was wrong because when I parked in various places I would notice something leaking from around the tire area.

Guess what I can't do if I take that new job now? For the first three months at the new job I won't get paid that much but after that I'll be making some good money. However, I can't be putting this shit off for three monhts. PLUS, in March it's time for me to pay car insurance again and that always sucks down a bit of money due to where I live, (damn tourists), so this is really sucking hard.

If I stay at my current job, I can have the oil coolant seals, the control arms and the tie rods fixed by mid January. You know, just when I was hoping to get started at the new job. So I could do all of this and then have NO money for three months. I had wanted to save up my money that I have now plus the money I got over the next three paychecks, (minus bills), so I would have a little safety net during the three months before I got my raise at the new job.

NOW what the fuck do I do? I don't want to lose out on this new job because I asked to wait a little longer but I also don't want my car falling apart while I'm driving it down the freeway at 65mph. GARRRRRRR!

I have already bought the oil cooler seals and will have them put in next week and the lady said she owes me an hour of service time so I should only have to pay for a half an hour of service on that. But that isn't so bad. It wasn't too expensive anyway. It's the fucking control arms and tie rods that are going to kill me.

The thing is, I had just noticed the leaking and I had just noticed my car starting to shimmy...or shake a little as I drove and I would like to thank the city of Miami for having such fucked up roads, the endless fucking road construction and for placing potholes in the road that rise a good three inches ABOVE the fucking street level so that my car is constantly bouncing around. Thanks assholes...I'm positive that is what broke the tie rods and the control arms. POSITIVE!

I am not going to lose that job. I don't know how the hell I'm going to do this but I am NOT losing that job. I can't fucking stand it I swear. I had just gotten a fat paycheck that I didn't have to spend on anything and the same was going to happen in mid January leaving me with a nice savings account to tide me over during this three month probationary period only to have it sucked down immediately.

I love my car. I EARNED that car and I will keep that car as long as I possibly can. I have also put a fuck load of money into that car in the past year and there is no way I would sell it, junk it or trade it in for something new. It's an older version car, (from the 90's) and the engine won't ever break on me...just needs new parts from time to time....and they all happen to need replacing at the most INopportune times.

Sigh. I wish I didn't have to pay my rent for one month. That would help out immensely. Well, whatever. I've been through worse...I'll figure this one out as well. I just get tired of everything being so fucking hard sometimes. I guess that's what I get for slightly complaining about how boring life had been lately. HAR HAR on me.

This too shall pass...and I'll look back on this, like I do all other experiences and laugh. While drunk. My poor little's been so good to me. I have to take care of it. I will take care of it and I will still get this new job and I will suffer through....I'm just whining because I'm tired of things not being easy.

I know what people will say to because they say it every time: "shop around for a cheaper mechanic". Done that. Guess what? I learned my lesson. First and foremost, this is a VW. You cannot buy anything BUT VW parts. No getting around it. Second..the last time I took the car in to a NON VW mechanic to get it fixed? A good amount of money was put down and they didn't fix shit. See that bit up there about engine mounts? Guess what the fuck the non VW mechanic supposedly did in March? You guessed it..."fixed" the broken engine mounts. Apparently they fucking didn't. Engine mounts do NOT break in 6 months. Oh sure, I could go and fight to get the money back but that doesn't help me out now. Rest assured however, I will be fighting them for it and I will be calling the BBB on their ass. But for the present time, that helps not at all. I will never take my car to a non VW mechanic ever again. You end up spending the money twice.

Posted by S. Faolan Wolf at December 22, 2005 04:56 AM | TrackBack

This sounds like a Beetle! If it is, it will be worth repairing as they are now collectables! Wish I still had the littel one I owned years ago - she had over 100,000 miles on the clock, but still ran like a dream.

That said, you have my sympathy as it really sucks when the dirt hits the fan like this just as it all starts to come together. Sometimes though, you just have to bite hard on the bullet and plough through the pain barrier to get to the good stuff. You have my sympathy at least.

Posted by: The Gray Monk at December 22, 2005 10:11 AM

I don't know much about cars, but I did used to have a VW Jetta and it SUCKED trying to find appropriate parts for it, never mind trying to find a decent mechanic who knew how to fix it.

Posted by: cousineddie at December 22, 2005 01:25 PM


I really have my doubts about all the parts they want to replace. Why do you need new fuel lines? If they are leaking - yep, replace them for sure, but if they are leaking now your car wouldn't be running very well or it would be toast. I guess I'm not getting the oil cooler seal thing - most oil coolers are completely self contained units or built into the radiator, and are plumbed with rubber lines. Dunno about any seals. Is it leaking enough that you have to add oil?

Motor mounts - cheap parts but high labor on a front wheel drive car. I don't understand why they want to replace the control arms when they can be rebushed rather cheaply. If the control arm is damaged so bushing replacement isn't possible, you should really be noticing a bunch of noise from your front end and you should be scrubbing tread from your front tires big time. Generally you don't replace a whole tie rod, just the ball end that screws into the rest of the arm - not very expensive. Plus - replacing the upper strut mounts? What, have they broken out? Why not replace the entire strut? That is usually what you have to do with a FWD car - why just the mount? If all these parts are bad enough for immediate replacement, you probably shouldn't have any front tread left.

One thing about using book rates for labor that irks me - half the labor involved here is for taking out some parts that are being replaced anyway, so it's like they are taking several parts (including some they want to replace) out to get to the one part, then put it all back together, then pull the parts for the next part replacement, etc.

Granted, what I know about VWs is pretty limited, but I've sure worked on the various imports and domestics I've owned over the years. FWD cars seem to require a lot more front end work - because there is a lot going on there - steering and power. The front of a RWD car just has steering stresses. How are your constant velocity joints holding up? Are the boots in good shape? That is one area of a fwd car that usually goes south first.

I'd really get a second opinion somewhere if ya can. They might be on the up and up, considering I'm not an expert on German cars, but they aren't THAT much different than the Fords, GMs, Toyotas and Nissans I've owned. For sure, make them show you specifically what is wrong with each part while it is on the car.

You've got my email addy - if you want, let me know the details of your car - model and year, etc, and I'll try to find out what is what. My mother and sis have been ripped off before just because they weren't mechanically aware women, so I'm kinda predisposed to think that you are getting screwed, too.

Posted by: Jeffro at December 24, 2005 01:20 AM

Um... Merry Christmas! :D

Posted by: Tuning Spork at December 25, 2005 10:41 AM
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