RIP to my car, and thanks to VIP in Arundel for killing it on Monday, when I took it in to have the snow tires put on and for a simple oil change.
I dropped it off in the morning for the service, then got the call from them a couple of hours later that it was ready to pick up. My husband and I finished our errands, then went to get my car.
As we were about to pay, they mentioned that there was a belt that was pretty loose and either needed to be tightened or replaced, and that we should do it sooner rather than later. “Just do it now,” we said, since they already had the car and I had the day off from work. “Well, I’m not sure if we can just tighten the belt, or if we have to order the part. Hold on for five minutes and we’ll get you the answer.”
We go to the waiting room. We wait ten minutes. He returns with a grim look, saying, “Come with me,” and leads us behind the counter to the garage, where I am now certain, no good news awaits. My car’s hood is open, guts exposed.
“See this?” the “mechanic”-type person said. “That’s the bolt that was holding the belt on.” I know enough about cars to have caught the “was” and then I knew we were in trouble. “It snapped in half,” he said. “The bottom line,” the “supervisor”-type person took over, “is that the car is not drivable; you have to get it towed, preferably to the dealer,” he said. “I’m not equipped to deal with this here.”
Funny, I was thinking how my car was drivable ten minutes earlier when I came to get it, and that suddenly, after they “checked the belt”, the bolt was now broken off, and the other end of it was somewhere in the engine (at least, he that was where he thought it was.
Well, to make short a long, sad story, that bolt that mysteriously broke off at VIP and probably cost about two bucks, was (according to Toyota, who called us 21 hours after they received the car) going to cost almost two thousand bucks (not to mention at least three days) to fix. Putting that much money into a car with almost 120,000 miles on it was not an attractive proposition. In other words: Hel-lo, deal-breaker.
Also, heads up to any new car buyers: of course it always pays to do your homework, but especially “nowadays”. We were offered a loan of 0.9 to finance the new car that we ended up deciding to buy when the best rate they were actually advertising online (where we checked the deals and printed them off before heading to the dealership) was actually ZERO percent financing.
Go figure. But hey, we got to meet Ira, so it’s all good.