Saturday, September 13, 2014

The car saga

During the last week of the summer, we went to Virginia. We had a great time. Great weather. Great friends. Big ocean waves to play in. What a great way to end the summer. It was all good. That is until on the way home.

We were about 2 1/2 hours into the trip. I was driving. And then we heard a POP! A very loud pop. I thought we blew out our tires - but I hadn't hit anything. We drove for another 30 seconds and then the car started making a very weird noise. Luckily we were on a road where it was a two-lane divided highway with lots of stoplights and lots of gas stations, restaurants, and other random stores. It was easy enough to pull over into a parking lot. We got out of the car to assess the situation. The tires looked fine. Nothing was leaking. No engine light was on. Brian got back in the car to try and drive it. The noise started up again. The car was definitely not in driving condition.

Holy crap. We were still in Virginia. Seven hours from home. And our car was broken. Our car that was ONE YEAR OLD. Our car that only has 16,000 miles on it. WHAT THE HECK! I was about to blow a gasket.

We called AAA. They told me that the nearest dealership was 52 miles north from where we were. They could tow us for 5 miles for free. Then it was $4.99 per mile after that! WHAT TO THE WHAT?

Next we called the dealer. They told us that we needed to call their roadside assistance and they would tow us to the nearest dealership for FREE! Oh....Thank you! Who knew that they had this lovely roadside program? Thank GOD!

Some other things in our favor. It was 8:30 in the morning when this happened. The dealer was open until noon. The tow truck got us to the dealer by 11:15. Phew. I don't dare think what we would have done if this had happened after 12 PM.

The dealer told us that the rear differential had to be replaced and they had to order a part. The car would not be ready until Thursday. The good news was that they could put us in a rental to get us home. The bad news was all that they had was a Dodge Ram Pickup. BAHHHHHHHHH. (I should mention that the kids thought this was great fun.)

The beast!

We had no choice but to take the rental and get home. So, we did. Meanwhile, how would we get our car back when it was fixed? I asked the service manager, and he told me we had to come get it! Ummmm. No thank you. I politely told him that was not going to happen, as the car was 1 year old, we lease it, and we were not going to take a 12 hour round trip road trip to come and get it! The car had to be delivered back to us. He gave me the consumer line for me to call on Tuesday. (Remember - this was Labor Day weekend).

So, we finally got on our way. But first, Brian had to take all the luggage out of our car and put in the back of the open pick up truck. Yeah. Thank God it didn't rain. (Another thing that was in our favor.) And off we went. Once we got going again, it was 1 PM. Our GPS said that our arrival time was 7 PM. (Let's not dwell on the fact that when we left Sandbridge, VA - the GPS said we would be home by 2:30). BAHHHHHHH! But, I wasn't going to dwell on this 5 hour delay. At least we would get home that night. And least we had this wonderful beastly pick up truck. At least the dealer could fix the car. It was all good. Right?

So - we made it home that night. I think we pulled into our driveway at 8:15. Not bad considering the craziness we went through.  The next day, we drove over to the airport to switch out the beastly pick up truck and we got a normal SUV. Things were looking up. At least I didn't have to drive the beast around all week.

Finally, Tuesday rolled around, and I called the consumer line first thing. I politely explained what happened and kindly told her that we needed to come to a solution and the car MUST be delivered back to us. Three hours later, the dealer called me and told me the car would be delivered to us. Phew. I didn't have to put too much of a fight with them. Things were definitely looking up.

On Wednesday, the dealer called me and told me that the car was fixed and the driver would be delivering it on  Thursday. Okay. Good.

But wait. Thursday morning around 10 AM, the phone rings. It was the dealer who told me that the driver got 30 miles into the trip and the car started making the SAME noise! WHAT TO THE WHAT?!!??

Back to the dealer the car went. The verdict: the front differential needed to be replaced! OH MY. I was tempted to tell them to keep the damn car. How does a brand new car break down TWICE in one week?????

Friday morning - the dealer called me to tell me the car was fixed again and the driver would be delivering it to me on Saturday.

And, so it was. We got the car back, and so far it seems to to be fine. We did take it over to the dealer that we leased it from after we got it back. My secret hope was that they could slide us into a new car and we could keep the same lease. Unfortunately, it doesn't work that way. We would have to start a whole new lease, and it would be more money, and so on and so forth. So - we still have the car. And I am trying to find trust in it again. But let me tell you - I don't want to take it on any 9 hour car trips anytime soon!

Maybe our next vacation - we will fly somewhere!

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