Wednesday, December 12, 2007

All's well that ends well

(Writer's note: In retrospect, the following car repair stuff is a lot longer than I intended. Feel free to skip ahead to the knitting content if the journal-type stuff bores you.)

If my mood today were plotted on a graph, the resulting image would look like a check mark. I wasn't going to mess around with the "service engine soon" light and took the car to a dealership for an oil change and a diagnosis of what triggered that blasted light.

As a rule I never go to a dealership for repair work. Too expensive. I have a local mechanic I trust and who charges reasonable prices. In this case I had a free oil change certificate. That gain was offset by the fiftysomething dollars it cost for them to hook up the car to a computer to determine the source of the problem.

Expecting the worst, I knitted in the waiting area and tried to block out the horrid daytime television blaring in front of me. Although I thought I might have a bead on the car maintenance issue, my general belief about this sort of thing nagged at me. It's going to be bad, and it's going to be expensive.

The service consultant approached me with the recommended treatment plan. Before he started, my eyes drifted to the bottom of the sheet and popped out of their sockets. I saw an estimate subtotal of $2227.65.

I do not feel confident dealing with automotive repair workers because I usually don't know what they're talking about and have the niggling sense that they're trying to pull the wool over my eyes. This was an incredible estimate. I already knew that I wouldn't be having any work done at the dealership, which tempered my initial reaction of full-blown panic. The light was tripped by a faulty EGR valve. Something to do with emissions. Beats me.

I examined the report while I waited for the oil change to be completed. My mood improved incrementally the longer I looked at the paperwork. Best I could tell, many of the suggested repairs were unnecessary for the car to continue running as it has been. This EGR valve was still more than I had been anticipating spending, but it was a far sight less than twenty-two hundred bucks.

One thing that did pass their inspection was the shocks and struts. I found that interesting since the last place that did my oil change said I probably ought to have them replaced soon. No wonder I distrust those who work on cars.

I called my mechanic to get an estimate on the EGR valve and to see if he could fit me in today. When I told him what needed replaced and the number of miles on my car, he said that he didn't think I needed to bother with it. I feel relieved, to say the least.

The day ended on a high note when I found a package on my doorstep tonight. It was from my International Scarf Exchange 5 secret pal in Australia!

I was impressed with the care taken in wrapping each item individually. I regret to say that I went to no such effort in sending mine. Inside I found my scarf, of course. (Better pictures to come. This isn't representative at all of the color.)

Some stitch markers my pal made...

And chocolate biscuits and yarn.

This made my day. My pal did a wonderful job. The scarf is beautiful. While the fringe surely wasn't as difficult as the pattern, I'm amazed at how it was attached because I have a hard time with it. (That's why you rarely see it on scarves I knit.) The stitch markers will be very handy. I'll have to brainstorm a good project for the yarn. I'll try to practice some discipline and not eat all of the biscuits in a flash. (To my knowledge they're no available in the US.)

Thanks very much Katherine!

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At 5:06 AM, Blogger Katherine said...

I'm glad it arrived safely (even if the gift tags fell off). Hope you like it!

At 7:58 PM, Blogger Jennifer said...

Love the scarf and can't wait to see more pics!

Phew on the $2200 being in inflation of what it really ended up costing you...I was worried for a second there!

At 11:00 PM, Blogger the secret knitter said...

I guess I didn't make it clear. I'm not going to have any of the work done for the time being.

I'll probably get a new set of tires next week, and the serpentine belt should be replaced in the near future.

The car runs fine, so other than taking those maintenance measures, I'm going to keep from sinking a bunch of money into the car. I'd rather work on setting money aside for a replacement (perhaps in a year) than putting it into a car that might not be worth it by then.

At 11:33 PM, Blogger Donna B. said...

I knew it was the emissions system! (feels smug and smart)

Good news: if you get that fixed (and if you asked me (which you didn't) you should, so that your car doesn't end up spewing more pollutants out the tailpipe than it ordinarily does) the light will go out and you'll remove that source of anxiety from your life. If you're going to keep the car for a year, getting that light off and not worrying about what else might be going wrong behind that light is worth a couple hundred. But that's just the way I'd react in that situation -- YMMV, as they say (aptly, in this case!)

At 4:49 AM, OpenID ruthsplace said...

Tim Tams are great! You can buy them online in the USA. I know because a swap partner I had did that to send to me in South Africa. Love the scarf too.


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