Tuesday, September 16, 2003

The $1500 Oil Change

My car is dead. Again.

I was driving along the freeway, minding my own business, when all of a sudden I hear a high-pitched screech and my car turned itself off... I managed to coast down an off ramp and parked the car. Called AAA, then called my usual garage to make sure they would be able to take the car:

"Hi, my car broke down, can I tow it to you to take a look at it?"
"What kind of car?"
"It's a Firebird"
"Is that the light blue one?"

The mechanic recognized my voice over the phone. How scary is it that my mechanic knows me and my car instantly from an out-of-the-blue phone call?

He thinks he found the problem: there is no oil in the car. I don't know much about automobiles, but I do know that that can be a problem. The odd thing is that I brought it in for an oil change exactly one week ago. The mechanic found no leaks, missing hoses, or plugs. As far as he can tell, the fine people at EZ Lube at 2420 West Olive in Burbank drained out my old oil, but somehow forgot to put new oil in. Oopsie.

So now my car is seriously dead. We're talking I might need an entire new engine to get it running again. I think EZ Lube should pay me for essentially totalling my car, but I don't know how to convince them. Maybe I need to get some of my Joisey friends out here to make them an offer.

UPDATE: I got another call from the mechanic. He told me that my rear wheel cylinders are leaking. When they lose pressure, they can't apply the brakes and they'll need to be replaced. I don't know much about automobiles, but I didn't understand how that was connected to the oil problem. I couldn't figure out if this was part of the same problem or a whole new thing I needed fixed. I had to have him explain it to me several times, and I still didn't get it. I finally asked "are you saying the rear wheels drain oil from the engine?". Short pause. "Oh. You're the guy with the Firebird? Sorry, wrong car."

Yes, I'm filled with confidence.

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