Tuesday, July 14, 2009

The car. Oh, the car.

The whole, nasty story of the car last week. Enjoy our misery! (You may want to grab a drink and a snack. It's not short.)

On my way to go get groceries on Monday our car made a terrible noise, like the entire back end had fallen off. When I switched from reverse to drive it kept stuttering and didn't want to go forward. I made it to Walmart (We would not have survived the week if I hadn't. I was home bound for 4 days.) and called Tim who told me it sounded like a U-joint. If you know what that is...awesome. I had no clue. So I did our shopping and decided to just get the car home and go from there. As I put it back into reverse it started shaking, and not in a vibrating-like-a-massage-chair sort of way. It was so bad that my head was being thrown back and forth. I instantly turned the car off and called Tim's dad. (Thanks again, Mike!) He told me to drive slowly and to call a tow truck when I got home. It's less than a mile so I wasn't too nervous...until he told me that driving too fast could drop the drive shaft out of the car. No, I don't know what a drive shaft is, but even I know that something falling off of the car is bad. EEK!

I made it home without anything else falling off the car - that we know of. Towing the car was a mess on it's own. I called our insurance who put in the request to the towing company. Then an automated call told me the tow truck would be at my house in roughly an hour. That was 3:15 pm. Another automated call at 4 pm said it would be 20 minutes. Thirty minutes later that same automated service called to make sure the tow truck had arrived. Um...no. So I was patched through to the tow service who informed me that they had not received the request. WHAT?!?

Another call to USAA. That lady was annnngry. She couldn't get in touch with anyone at the towing service's office so she let me know that she would be putting another request in and that they would never use the previous company again. ("I don't play those games." hehe) I think that guy should be glad she didn't get a chance to rip his head off.

The automated service called again and this time I made sure to get the number for the new towing service so I could call and make sure it had gone through. I almost snorted water out of my nose when they told me the name of the company. Quacked Up Towing Service...oh my. Someone should not have let their 3 year old name their business. :) Luckily it had gone through just fine and the guy showed up on time. He had a bit of trouble getting the car on the flatbed since we're right on Yale but he was nice about it and didn't give me evil eye or anything.

We had it towed to Pep Boys who had fixed our car back in April. They didn't get a chance to look at it until the next morning and when they called they explained that it was a transfer case (no clue what that is, either) in the rear and told me that it needed to go to a transmission shop. I called Tim who then decided to call Barron and Hart, who had fixed our car way back in October when that stupid wheel fell off. They agreed that it was strange for things to be falling apart in the back and told Tim they would have the car towed to their shop. On Wednesday, they called to tell us that it was the rear wheel bearing that had broken the rear axle, which sounded strangely familiar. (Same thing happened in April!) Their adjuster decided it would still fall under our claim from October and that it should be fixed in a few days.

Thursday they called us AGAIN to explain that since Pep Boys had fixed the axle back in April that they were responsible and that our insurance would not be covering it. By that time my head was about to explode. Tim and I had spent several hours on the phone at this point, not to mention the fact that I was car-less for almost the entire week which caused us to miss soccer and dance. (It was the last dance class! GRRR!) So back on the phone Tim jumped to let Pep Boys know that not only had they incorrectly diagnosed our car but that they had messed up in April and would be responsible for this repair. They agreed, thank goodness, and paid to have our car towed BACK to their shop.

(Thankfully at this point Mike and Connie let us borrow their Expedition. I think Brenden and I would have torn each other apart if we had spent one more day stuck in just our house and back yard.)

We thought the ordeal was over. Not so! Friday they called to let us know that the only place that had our axle in stock was Ford and that it would be expensive. My response, "Um...so? You guys are paying for it." I was promptly informed that was not the case and that they had repaired the driver's side in April and that it was the passenger side they were fixing this time. Two different pieces of the same axle...how was I supposed to know that our car was made that way? So I called Barron and Hart who told me that there was no way to confirm that Pep Boys had fixed one side and not the other and that they would not take the car back, even with documentation because it could be "tampered with". OMG people! The finger pointing!

So now I'm back on the phone with USAA, who really were nice about all of this. My only complaint is that they should have been the ones calling these shops, not us. Anyway...they decided to get a physical damage specialist to look at our case, told us not to have Pep Boys do anything, and said to expect a response on Monday. Another call to Tim to let him know what the insurance had said and what to tell Pep Boys and I thought we were done for the night. HAHA! I should have learned by now! Pep Boys calls AGAIN at about 5:30 pm to let us know that the car is done and that they saved the part. Do what?!? You weren't supposed to do anything! But at least the stupid parts were still there for inspection. Poor Tim walked in the door and I attacked him. Did he tell them not to fix the car? No...he forgot that part. After a few slammed doors I called USAA back and let them know that it was done and that they had the parts. And so we waited...

Monday afternoon I called to see what the heck they were doing. I was told to check back and I wasn't going to wait until 4 pm just so they could say "it's past 5 pm on the east coast so you'll have to wait until tomorrow....so I called at 1:30 pm. They were waiting on pictures from Pep Boys of the parts and we just had to sit and stew for another day. Story of our lives...waiting on other people to fix things who like to take their sweet time. (Crappy property manager, anyone?)

So this morning I finally got a call from USAA. They had reviewed our case and decided it was still part of the wreck in October. It would be covered in full. THANK GOODNESS! Tim came home at lunch and we headed over to pick it up. On Thursday the manager of Pep Boys had promised to pay for the bill that we had from Barron and Hart since the car should have never been towed their in the first place. I thought that would be our only problem today. Instead, they happily took that money off of our bill and wished us good luck.

With this car...I think we need all the luck we can get.

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