Thursday, April 19, 2012

The Layman

Being from Detroit, it may come as a surprise that outside of filling the car with gas, sticking the key in the ignition and making it go, I know nothing about cars. I have an expectation that if I'm having a problem and I take it to the car doctor, my problem should be handled and then explained to me in terms that I--an automobile simpleton--can understand.

Imagine if you will, this fearless hospice nurse has driven 35 miles away from home and back when she gets a call to drive another 20 miles in the opposite direction. To speed things along, she gets on the interstate at 70 miles per hour when the car begins to inexplicably decelerate. She notices the yellow wrench light on in the left corner of the dash, and recognizes she cannot accelerate. In a bit of a panic, she pulls off to the side of the freeway and turns the car off (which knocks and pulls as it brakes). After a moment, she turns the car back on and, voila!, no wrench. She gives the car a little gas and hears the engine rev. With hope returning that she'll make it to that patient's house and maybe even home after that, she gingerly moves the car into oncoming highway traffic. For a few moments, all is well, but as she approaches the highway maximum speed, the same exact thing happens.

It was terrifying to be driving on a busy interstate at maximum speed with a malfunctioning vehicle. Since I was near an exit, I was able to pull over, stop and restart the car and get off the freeway. Driving at low speeds, I was able to make it another 1.5 miles to my patient's house where I stopped to call Ford Roadside Assistance to schedule a tow before I went inside to see my patient.

Thirty minutes later, I was greeted by a friendly tow truck driver who, in front of me, and this is important, checked my transmission fluid twice and showed me the thingymajig proving there was very little brownish red transmission fluid in the reservoir. He said it should be full and a bright red color. Well it wasn't. It was very low and muddy brown with a tinge of red. I was flabbergasted because just one week ago, I paid $139 for a 36,000 mile check up called "the works" at my Ford dealer. He then towed the hospice mobile to the very same Ford dealer where the car could be dealt with in the morning. At 10 AM, the service rep called to tell me there was ABSOLUTELY nothing wrong with my car and that there was no transmission fluid leak and the reservoir was full of transmission fluid. He intimated I imagined this problem on the freeway last night and that my car was ready to be picked up.

I explained to him what had happened in the best terms I could come up with and told him I presumed it to be a transmission problem because this is how it behaved before they rebuilt my transmission a year ago. I also told him I saw the tow truck driver, who seemed to know his way under the hood, look at that reservoir and pull out an empty stick. Twice. The rep acted like he couldn't understand my simple terminology and wanted more technical terms to explain the car's behavior last night. I told him, "look, I'm a nurse. I know highly technical terminology in my specific field. I can have entire conversations with my peers using very little else than acronyms, but I can't do the same when speaking about cars." I told him I was frightened to drive my--apparently dangerous--vehicle in that condition.

Those must have been the magic words, because they promised to look into it further.

The latest update is that they still don't know what's wrong with my car and only now, very late in the day for me, they are ordering a rental car for me to use. As a courtesy. Well, p.s., I pay extra every single month for this type of car care. It's not his favor to grant me. The rep is again speaking to me of things like Throttle Bodies. For cryin' out loud...what the hell is that? May that man experience a short bout of ED that no amount of ED medication taken PO QD @ HS or PRN can possibly fix for speaking to me in language I repeatedly tell him I don't understand. For those that don't know what I cursed him with, I did not wish upon him a CVA, CAD, CHF or CA c METS. I only wished upon him a non-responsive body part in his nether regions--sort of like my non responsive engine in my car.

I'm off to go pick up my rental. May your day be better than mine.


Brenda said...

Way to go Rudee! Curse that man out with your medical terminology. Too funny! But...on the serious side...I wonder if the man looked at a different car or did he even take it out on the highway to see how it behaved. I hope they get it fixed. Driving at night with an unreliable car is not good.....

The Bug said...

How scary! And annoying! Hope he has just the problem you cursed him with!

NCmountainwoman said...

Brenda is right...they have to take it out and accelerate to freeway speeds. No bigger headache that those dreaded words, "unable to duplicate problem." I tend to bring mental curses in medical terms as well!

Silliyak said...

Take hubby, and or call TV/radio consumer help. Document EVERYTHING, ask for supervisor anytime you don't get an adequate answer, explain to supervisor how "we" are having a problem with service being provided.

Stephanie V said...

So would he have a little wrench light up on his nether regions, too? I think that would be fair :)

I hate it when car people - male or female - talk like that to me. They must take courses in how to make their customers feel small.

Ruth said...

Cars OK when they go when they fail ;-(.

Alice said...

Tell him to get in your vehicle and take it for a 70 mile an hour ride down the interstate!

Ok, I'm feeling violent . . . kick him in the shin, see if his "yellow wrench" light comes on, if not he only imagined you kicked him.

Been up for 30 hours, obviously need to go to bed.

SkippyMom said...

Funny Rudee! Well, the ED of course, not the car.

BTW I don't think any of us that watches television needs to be a medical professional to know what ED is because I am pretty sure we have seen the Viagra and Cialas commercials ad nauseum at this point. After saying the full term a few times I think the abbreviation is in there 1,492 more times. heehee

It's nice knowing about cars. Impresses the heck out of my husband and after the mechanics figure out I know what they're doing and I know what I am talking about, I don't get a whole lot of guff. I spent a lot of time working on cars with my Dad growing up and I just happen to really like the mechanics of them.

It has to be frustrating tho' and you shouldn't have to take your husband or A MAN with you to get a straight answer. Thank goodness for the Tow Guy. That would've been bad news without you knowing that.

I know you don't have the time, but if you ever do, you can take a basic car care class at the local community college that can help with things just like this. Doesn't sound like they even bothered to top off your fluids on your last paid service.

Empress Bee (of the high sea) said...

honey i think throttle bodies means you beat the krap out of a cheating boyfriend.

any time i don't know something i just make up an answer. i think that is what they were doing too. buggers on them!

hugs, bee

Knitty said...

I don't know that service reps actually know anything about the inner workings of cars anymore. I have a feeling I could be hired for that position with 15 minutes training.

Hubby is a mechanic by training but doesn't do all the work on our vehicles at this stage for various reasons, including the fact many functions now require specialized diagnostics to read the problem. That can become a problem in itself.

Anyway, last time at the dealer for a repair that was still under warranty, the service rep told him some BS that even I recognized as BS and I haven't so much as handed hubby a wrench in years.

Hubby was patient and politely disagreed but service rep stood his ground with the same story until hubby conveyed his knowledge of the problem. Before it was over, another rep and a manager were involved and brought a mechanic up to speak to hubby who directed him on the path to take to fix the problem. A few customers overhearing this clapped as we left.

I'd much rather hear "I don't have an answer yet" or "we can't duplicate the problem" than to be fed a line.

sapphireblue said...

That's so freaking frustrating.