October 14, 2005

A Moment's Auto-no-mobility
entry, October 14th, 2005

I've been seeing a lot of "car repair" stories in my friends' blogs recently. I won't lord it up over them though, because I just had one of my own in which $112 was spent needlessly.

As you may already know, I drive a bright green 2003 New Beetle GLX (the turbocharged 5-speed) with Utah license plate "SCHLOCK." On Wednesday as I pulled out of the driveway on my way to the temple, the car ran really, really rough. The "Check Engine" light blinked, then burned steadily, daring me to drive anywhere.

I did what any automobile owner with no under-the-hood experience would do. I panicked, and dropped the car off at the nearest service facility. In this case it was a Firestone shop from which I could walk home in five minutes. They told me that it would cost me $99 for the diagnostics, and that they'd probably determine that the problem was covered under my warranty. If I wanted to drive across town to the dealer, I could save the $99.

Like I said, I panicked. I had NO idea what the problem was, and I wasn't about to run the engine any longer than I had to without knowing more. So I agreed to pay Firestone's piper, and on Thursday morning they told me my #4 cylinder wasn't firing, and it was safe to drive to the dealer where it would almost certainly be under warranty.

So I did, and it was. I don't know what I did to break the ignition coil, but they fixed it for free. If I'd been willing to chance three miles of stop-and-go traffic with the "Check Engine" light glaring at me I could have saved myself $112 ($99 plus a $6 shop fee, plus tax). Oh well.

Some of you have pointed out that Greg Dean got a green New Beetle GLX. For the record, his is a 2001, and has been chipped to deliver additional horsies. Mine is the "concept color," however, which means the hubs are colored to match the exterior, and the interior is black leather with green trim. So Greg can drive faster, but I look cooler. Oh, and I don't live in California, so it's likely I'll be able to drive faster than he ever will, unless he decides to cross the desert and come visit me. Hey, Greg! It's only a 9-hour drive from Sacramento to Orem! What's keeping you! We HAVE a futon here. And I know this stretch of I-80, just east of Wendover...

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