Almost as disappointing as the discovery that painkillers do not in fact kill pain is the discovery that cars do not get fixed and stay that way. Also more expensive and inconvenient.
When I first got Miss Scarlett back in Oaktown, she was already vintage, but her previous charioteer had practically ignored her, only putting about 5,000 miles a year on the odometer in 11 years. So I figured that with such light use – before we moved to Hooterville and both of us were consigned to eternal dirt roads and rutted, rough, curvy paved ones, that is – that the car would stay in pretty good shape.
As usual, I was wrong, and things and stuff seem to have gone wrong quite a lot this year. Thankfully the boys have come to my rescue on these occasions. But there are some things, requiring specialized and pricy equipment, that they can’t do. Hence my maiden voyage into the world of Hooterville area mechanics.
Up first was the only transmission place in town. The transmission is slow to engage, though it’s usually fine by the time I get to the next driveway down the Ridge. The Transmission Guy did a test drive and then informed me that in order to figure out what was wrong, he’d have to pull it apart for a labor charge of $700, not including the actual fixing after pulling it apart.
Also? A new transmission is $2,500.
The whole car cost $3,500.
A survey of friends turned up Mike the Mechanic. He gave me directions to his place, north of the Big Town. When I got there, it was a metal shed behind some stores. Hmmm.
I asked in the store, and they said, yes, that’s Mike’s place. So I left the keys and the car there and hoped for the best.
Mike called me and said that he’d like to change the transmission fluid and filter and pour in some goop that would make the pumps work better. He figured this would cost between $120 and $160, so after conferring with the boys, I said OK.
When he called me to say it was ready and doing better, I asked how late he’d be there, since Megan was going to drop me off after we went to aquafit that evening. He said to just put the money in the cast-iron frog on his porch.
It turned out that Mike was there, so we actually got to meet him and give him the money in person. It was $120. So far, Miss Scarlett seems to be doing fine as far as the transmission goes.
There is still the front end shimmy to deal with. The diagnostics place said that there were a couple of things that needed to be fixed before the alignment could take place. I brought the estimate ($407!) to my brother, who said that he could fix the two things and then I could have the alignment done for a mere $60.
Hopefully that will end the saga of car repairs for the rest of the year, though I have to buy two new tires to replace the two 8 year olds before the winter rains start…