I think I’ve written a few times about the challenges we’ve had keeping our 1998 Mitsubishi Diamante’ running while saving up to replace it. We finally managed to get a newer car about 2 weeks ago, but the dealership we bought it from didn’t want the old car as a trade in. Something about it being over 20 years old, and discontinued by the manufacturer made it unlikely they would be able to re-sell it.
There was one obvious solution to having it clog up our driveway – a salvage yard. When we first moved to this town, there was a salvage yard about 2 miles from our house. However, the city counsel decided that having the town look pretty was more important than having a salvage yard that could easily dispose of such problems. They forced the business to close down, and now the closest salvage we could find is over an hour drive away. Still, they were willing to come get the car, as long as we understood that they couldn’t afford to BUY it due to the long drive.
We agreed. Then the weather started causing trouble. Due to the long drive, the yard wouldn’t send out the driver in bad weather, and it’s been sleeting/snowing/freezing every other day since we got the new car.
Well, we got a little bit of a break today, warm enough to just be normal rain, and they drove over.
The old car is GONE!
though, I should make note that this is not an emergency action. When we had the starter replaced (and the oil leaks repaired) last week, the service station did an exam of the car while they had it, and found that the timing belt was worn and cracked. Though not threatening an immediate failure, it was still likely to fail sometime in the next 6 months to a year. That isn’t really surprising, on a car that is almost 19 years old. So, we went and filed our taxes, and we’re applying the tax refund to getting the work done, using the credit card to cover the bill until the refund arrives.
Ironically, the car will now be more reliable than it was when we bought it.
I know I posted a lot about our car woes last week, but this should be the last update for a while. You see, we got another call Friday afternoon – it turns out the problem was with the starter.
Which, IMHO, is another nail in the coffin for Goodyear. You see, they just replaced the starter with a brand new one about a year and a half ago. It was still under warranty.
So, since they weren’t going to make any money doing the repair we needed, they tried to tell us it was something else, and even then refused to try to fix it because “we can’t find the part available in our computer (the flywheel they claimed needed replaced)”. Of course, the reason they can’t find the flywheel available in their computer – it isn’t available individually, only as a part of a unit that includes the torque converter. I got that from talking to a transmission specialist. Either the staff at the Goodyear center are incompetent or crooked, and I’m not sure which would be worse.
Anyhow, we should have the car back sometime today, and since my wife does a wonderful job of keeping receipts, we’re only having to pay the labor charge for the installation. THANKS HONEY!
We had another idea – a repair shop we’d previously taken the car to for an oil change (we haven’t known about them very long, so don’t really know much) has a good local reputation, so I called them. Not only were they happy to look at it – they could get it in today. So, I called AAA. The car is at the shop now, and I’m waiting for the call to find out what is wrong.
The receptionist had a good laugh with me when I told them that the Goodyear store tried to convince us that it was a cracked flywheel. FYI – if a shop ever tries to sell you that, I hope you need fertilizer. I’ve talked to a few different shops that specialize in transmission repair – flywheels do NOT crack. EVER. Any shop that tries to use that is wanting to pad their profits at YOUR expense. As I said in a previous post, the labor charge on dropping a transmission is around $750 – pure profit if they already know they don’t have to actually drop it. As far as I’m concerned, that’s about as crooked as any repair shop can get. KANSASLAND TIRE will never see a car of mine again.
Things might not be so bad as it seemed.
While she was at work 2 days ago, my wife talked (via email) with one of the instructors in the university’s Automotive Technology program, and found out that there is a transmission repair specialist who is able to address this problem, using a part from a salvage yard (because Mitsubishi no longer makes this model of car). The estimate for getting the repair done is “between $600 and $700”. Not bad.
The catch is – the car isn’t in any condition to drive very far, and the specialist is over in Joplin. We could get AAA to tow the car over there, but most mechanics want you to sign some paperwork authorizing the repair before they will do it. I could ride over to Joplin in the tow truck, but then I still have to be able to get home. Oh, and then going back to Joplin to get the car when the repair is complete, because it is unlikely to be a same-day completion. Yes, if we go this route, there will be a need for lots of coordination.
Still, not having to spend $5,000 right now is a help, and I think we have the room on the credit card to cover getting a rental car for the extra trips to Joplin. We’re going to look at this pretty seriously.
That was fast.
I wrote a blog on Jan 4th about our new plans and dreams for the coming year. Yesterday, they all got trashed. Yes, everything.
What has happened is that our car (a 1999 Mitsubishi Diamante) has developed a problem that two different organizations have said can’t be fixed. It seems to have a cracked flywheel. I say “it seems to have” because nobody will drop the transmission to look – the cost of diagnostics alone with that would run $750.
So, for the next few days my wife is going to have to walk to work, or get a ride from a co-worker. What we’re ultimately going to need to do is file our tax return ASAP and get the refund direct deposited so we can go buy another car.
I’m thinking “Honda Civic” if we can find one in our price range. Of all the cars I’ve ever owned, the Civic we had in St. Louis was the most reliable.