4th Time the Charm?

Posted by miss m on Wednesday, October 10, 2012 @ 11:23am in Car Issues, Finances, General Blather |

If it’s true that Insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results, then it’s probably time for my white coat and padded room. Because I need to try and make something work that hasn’t been successful the past three very expensive attempts.

Let me tell you about my Tuesday.

The Element has been making this whining noise that has very recently gotten quite a bit worse. Just having the car on, this noise is very obvious. So I arranged with my Mom to get together yesterday and take the car over to Wayne to get it looked at. Wayne is the guy we’ve gone to now for a few things who is trustworthy and honest. (I know; rare qualities in a car mechanic.) Mom and I spend the whole afternoon wandering around Target and the mall waiting to hear the verdict.

And…here’s where the insanity comes in. The offending part making the terrible whine? The air conditioning compressor.

Yeah, those of you who’ve read my blog for any length of time probably are like, wait, whaaaa…? Because you’ll know that that exact part has been replaced THREE TIMES now in the vehicle in the past three years. And that I’m still paying back the repairs from the last times we had a/c work done. And, you’ll further recall that the a/c has been something of a literal nightmare/horror show of epic proportions as most recently, when it wasn’t blowing very cold, a local Honda dealership told us the entire system was destroyed and it would cost more to repair then the car was worth (at which point, we took it to Wayne and he said bullshit and simply recharged it and it’s been fine ever since. Hence the trustworthiness.)

The impossible-to-truly-make-it-truly-short version is that when the a/c broke on the car the first time, we took it to Ice Cold Air who literally fucked us sideways. It took weeks of back-and-forth of them saying it’s fixed, but still no working a/c and ultimately claiming to put TWO compressors in and then after when it STILL didn’t work and a Honda dealership told us the system we just replaced was broken in it’s entirety, we took it to Tires Plus (also assholes) who not only repeated every single bit of work that Ice Cold Air did, but MORE. (Fun entries here then here and here and then again here just for a handful!)

And since then, we’ve STILL experienced problems.

Which brings us to yesterday. Wayne said that it’s definitely the a/c compressor. I know, I hear the seemingly obvious answer: So, just don’t use your a/c, right? Sadly, no. The Element is a 1-belt system. Everything is driven by the a single belt. And whether the a/c is on or off, that same belt is spinning the compressor. And the bearings inside the compressor are what’s making the noise. They’re going to Hell and the fact it’s getting louder means it’s deteriorating. And, as it deteriorates, it makes more heat and puts off metal shavings which can clog up your a/c system and ultimately, break other components like your condenser and such. Also, if it seizes completely, you lose things like power steering as well. (And if that happens when you’re driving it, you’ll likely crash the car. Awesome.)

If you’re starting to get a sense of just how maddening this all is, well….yeah. It’s why Tuesday was not the best of days.

So, Wayne says the problem is that places like Ice Cold Air and Tires Plus (two of his absolute least favorite places he said) use extremely cheap and poorly made compressors. Ones with sub-par components that simply do not last. The fact that it’s about 1.5 old and already self-destructing is proof enough of that. He said a compressor is one thing you should never cheap out on. And the prices they charged me were insane and should have provided the absolute top-of-the-line part.

It’s going to be about $650 parts and labor for the repair. Which is actually cheap compared to what I’ve paid thus far, but still a metric ton of money I was not planning for in the budget. I had about $300 in emergency money set aside for yesterday but, that wasn’t going to be enough. Since I couldn’t do it yesterday, for now, Love is driving my car to work to limit the Element’s usage and I’m hoping by next Friday (the 12th) when Love gets paid, I can get enough sales that can make up some difference so we can get it fixed.

I’d greatly appreciate anyone who can to post my shop link on facebook, or twitter or wherever to help drum up some sales right now. I’m so close to paying off my gynecologist (down to $150) and I had hopped to maybe get him paid off this month, but now, I really need to get the car fixed instead. And since time is most definitely of the essence, I truly thank you for helping me get my shop link out there right now.

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