dimanche 6 mai 2012
I should have stayed in bed Thursday.

Our car has been making noise for awhile now, and we haven't been able to take to the garage. Well, in our defense, it has been a perma-vacation for the mechanics in the South of France for the past month.

Anyway, we took it in for a Contrôle Technique, which is a review of the car that is obligatory every two years. We actually didn't need to take it yet, but we wanted a rather unbiased opinion of what was wrong from someone who makes no money in forcing expensive repairs on you. We were told nothing major, but perhaps the power steering needed some work. Indeed, whenever I turned the steering wheel sharply, like to park, it made noise.

Anyway, the mechanic near my work finally opened back up two weeks ago, so I had him look over the car. He said he would call me when he had an opening, surely by the end of the week. Stupid me, I waited, and waited, and waited. Finally, this last Wednesday I called to see what was up. He had lost my number and said to bring it in this morning. Okay, great.

Before leaving for work Thursday morning, I got a call. He said he couldn't take it that morning, could I come in tomorrow (Friday)? Okay, fine for tomorrow.
Except, when driving to work on the highway, not okay!
The battery light kept coming on and off, and then for awhile the exhaust pipe started smoking. The electricity seemed to be coming in and out (trouble opening and closing the windows). I went slowly, and when I got near Aix, a knocking sound started.

I called the mechanic again, begging him to fit me in today. He kept asking "tomorrow isn't okay?" NO tomorrow is not okay. I waited for a week for you to call, and now look at the situation I am in.
He said to call back around noon.

The power steering went out, and I could barely park it in the parking garage. As I was backing in to a spot, I heard a bang!
I managed to park, raised the hood, and looked inside.
But who am I kidding? I have no idea what could be wrong, unless some tube starts spurting liquid.
I then noticed a big round metal circle on the floor, right where the car had been before I had backed up. This is not good.

I picked it up and put it in the car, getting extremely dirty in the process. I managed to stain my white fuzzy shrug (and also got mashed banana in the lining of my purse - not a good day).

I went to work and called again around noon. No answer. I decided to try and move the car, as well as to take a picture of the mysterious part and get my parking pass, as I knew we would have to borrow my in-law's car.
I managed to move the car out of the parking garage, at a slow pace, and park it across from the garage; (Nine euros a day, thanks so much).

I called again, leaving a message that the car was now across from the garage, and I would bring it in Friday morning.

No reponse. I called my in-laws, explained the problem, and as luck would have it, they were coming to Aix that afternoon for a doctor's appointment. After work, I walked over to the clinic and met them. They drove me back to their house, and I took their second vehicle, a Fiat Panda (like a car, only smaller).

Otherwise, I would have had to take the train back to Marseille, the subway home, then Alain and I would have to go out to their house on Alain's motorcycle, then I drive back in the car and he on his motorcycle.
I showed Jacques and Josée the picture, and they had no idea what it was. They also described it to Nicolas, my brother-in-law, who is a mechanic for the Army. He had no idea either. I would publish it here but can't seem to get it off my phone.

Anyway, Friday morning, I parked Josée's car in the parking garage, and went to wait for the mechanic at 7:45 a.m. like he said. And waited. And waited.

I left a not so nice message on his machine, paid another 9€ for Friday's parking, and went to work. I called another garage nearby and got an appointment for Wednesday morning. The other garage seems more professional, asking what type of car, what seems to be the problem. Um, parts falling off? Everyone keeps asking if I am sure that the part came from the car, and whether I picked it up and kept it.
1) Fairly certain due to the loud bang and that it was exactly where the car was
2) Do I really look that dumb? No, I decided to just leave it there in the middle of the floor as it obviously is unimportant and inexpensive.

Anyway, Friday night before leaving work, I again paid for Saturday's parking. Hopefully I will only have to pay for one more day, Monday, as Tuesday is a holiday.

Also, here's hoping that I can get it the 500 meters to the other garage, that they are open and haven't just decided to take vacation, and that the repairs aren't more expensive than the car is worth. It is over ten years old, and has 218K kilometers, so I am leaning towards getting a less-old car if it will cost us more than 500€ or so, but Alain disagrees.

3 commentaires:

Starman a dit…

It would seem you are in need of another vehicle. Once a car as old as yours starts falling apart, that's pretty much the end and you can spend a lot more than it's worth getting it fixed each time.

chcmichel a dit…

I hope the second garage follows through for you so you get your car fixed. Walking out to your car and waiting with trepidation to see if it will start or run is no fun.

loyloy tuxie a dit…

for me, having your car kept even if it is old. as long as it has lots of memories from you. you won't let it fall apart.

Loi =)
nitrous oxide systems

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