Tuesday, September 12, 2006

The joys of car ownership

Its time to do a little routine maintenance on my wife’s car, the mini-van we love so well. We’ve had it nearly a year, and it needs some of the basic stuff – oil change, front-end alignment – and two tires need looking at (one picked up a nail, the other I think has a bad wheel). So I planned to swap cars with her today and take the mini-van in to the shop. Plans have a way of changing. God laughs at plans, in fact.

As I drove my car yesterday, basking in the cool air blowing from the A/C, I heard a thump. Instantly, my comfy cold air turns into searing hot air. Now, being the astute person that I am, with boundless knowledge about cars and how they operate, I began to suspect their might be a small problem. After a few minutes of consultation with my inner child, I decide the best course of action might be to delay the work on my wife’s car in lieu of repairing my car. What tipped my decision was the fact that driving, without A/C, in Houston, when it is 95oF, 100% humidity, and raining (thus, I had to keep the windows up) is near impossible due to the inch-thick layer of fog that builds on the inside of the windows.

I dropped my car off at the shop near our house on my way home, and they called me this morning with the damage. (Semi-technical stuff follows. If you’re not interested in the what, skip to the next paragraph.) Apparently, the clutch on the compressor decided to take a permanent vacation – as in it was not where they looked for it.
redneck carNot a good sign. So, I need a new compressor. Oh yeah, in order to have a valid warranty on the new compressor I need to replace several other parts with new parts. And, while they have my beautiful car ripped apart, they might as well replace the timing belt that has 133,000 miles on it. It just seems logical that they do this rather than have the belt break in a week and destroy all the new parts recently installed. The car you see pictured on the right is not my car – this was just a suggestion from a guy at work as to how I could get the A/C fixed on the cheap.

Luckily, all parts are normal and in stock. The repair should not take too long, and I can get my car back either late today or tomorrow. All at a walk-out price of $1300. Seems like a good deal. I actually expect to put another 100,000 miles on this car without having to do too much more work, so a little over a grand for cold air is fair enough. I had even budgeted about that much for repairs on my car this year (knowing that some work would need doing), so the money should not be a problem (I thank God for preparing me for this).

I would like to give a big THANK YOU to James and Carol. Erin had called to ask if Carol could give her a ride to ladies bible class, and drop of Tabitha at her pre-school (since Carol would already be going both places). Instead of giving Erin a lift, they offered to let us use one of their cars that they did not need until my car was repaired! God is good, and so are James and Carol. Besides, I got to browse through the CDs in the car and I listened to Crazy Train driving in to work this morning. That song starts a day off with a bang (but no thumps, thank goodness)!

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