Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Eternal Daddy's Girl

Nearly four years after my father passed I am still dealing with the fact that I am a clueless Daddy's girl. So many things my dad took care of that I have no clue about.

My vehicle being the main thing. 

I know to change my oil every 3,000 miles but that is pretty much the extent of my car-fixing-mojo.

Growing up if my Jeep made a funny noise I would go to Dad tell him what it was doing (or not doing), hand him the keys and my Jeep would be returned later problem solved. 

It was a pretty good system we had going there.

When graduating college I decided to hand over the keys to my Jeep and purchase my first vehicle with understanding I would now be on my own. With this decision I gained the responsibility of insurance payments, car payments, and maintenance. At the time I was thrilled with my 4runner and this new found responsibility. 

Boy was I stupid. 

Do you know how much insurance is?????

I didn't.

Tires cost how much???? ~ You've got to be kidding. 

It needs new brakes how often?

You see the trend that developed. 

Clueless may have been an understatement.

The good ol' 4Runner likes to keep me on my toes and is not nice enough to give warning like the Jeep used to before something went wrong. Oh no not 4Runner. 4Runner likes the element of surprise.

This morning I went out and got in the 4Runner to head to work. I turn the key and I hear it struggle to come alive. (Imagine me in the morning before my Dr. Pepper -- STRUGGLE).


I can guess it is probably the battery. 

I'm running late so I head to work with the Scarlett O'Hara philosophy "I'll worry about it later."

This afternoon I go to leave work and I turn the key praying to the car gods. It works and the 4Runner again struggles to life. 

I can tell it's going down fast. 

I head to Advanced Auto. 

Where I wait.

And wait.

And wait a little more.

Finally a guy emerges from the back and asks what he can help me with. I tell him I think I need a new battery. 

He says they will check it for me first.

I think the "check" is going to be useless but agree on the off chance its not.

So he grabs his little machine and we head out to the 4Runner where he hooks it up to my battery.

After several minutes it prints out a slip of paper.

"Did you leave your lights on recently?"


"Your batteries week. But not dead. It just needs charging." He tells me then adds, "Do you have a charger?"

My mouth says, "Yes." ----- My mind says, "I've seen one at the barn hooked up to the tractor but would I know how to make it work? Or even how to get my battery out of the 4Runner to charge it?" 

I had several other stops to make before I would be heading to the barn. Was it worth the risk of getting stranded somewhere?.........

He - unaware of my inner monologue - is responding, "Well maybe charge it first and see if that works. If not then you'll need to go ahead and get yourself a new battery."

I decide to level with him. "Look I really don't want to end up stranded somewhere. I've had the car four years and I've never put a battery in it since I've owned it. How long are batteries good for?"

His inner monologue either pictures a short, pissed off girl standing beside a broke down 4Runner or he works on commission and sees a chance to make money. I think it was probably the first one, "Let's go take a look at batteries."

We go back in the store and he pulls a list of batteries up on his computer that will fit the 4Runner.

I am clueless at what a battery would cost --- this being my first battery buying experience. I was thinking around 50 bucks. 


He points out the differnet batteries on the screen and starts speaking a language now that may as well have been swahili. From the pointing and gesturing I was able to comprehend that the cheapest battery only put out enough volts as the 4Runner requires. 

Apparently this is not a desirable thing. You need more volts than is required.  ---- Or so I'm told.

Sure give me that one. 

He then tells me that I need this thing that will keep my cables from corroding. I'm skeptical but its $2.95 so why not. 

He goes to give me the battery. At which he receives a blank - deer in the headlights - stare.

I was told they would install it. I ask. They do. All is right in the world again.

The end result new battery, and non-corroding goop $100.

Getting half home and the 4Runner wanting to die - frustrating!!

I pray to the car gods once more; just please let me make it home!

What I'm going to do when I get home I have no clue. But at 8:30 on a Wednesday night it seems like the most reasonable option.

Today the 4Runner is visiting the doctor (aka mechanic). 

Poor Marine. He really doesn't have a clue what he has gotten himself into.


Date Girl said...

Oh man, I'm sorry about your car. One thing I do know is to charge it you just hook it up to another car that is running. I used to have to have my car "jumped" all the time in high school cause it was constantly dying. Hopefully it's nothing too serious. Cars are WAY too expensive. I had the brakes go out on my focus, and it cost almost $600!!

E said...

Yeah I know how to charge that way. But the guy was talking about the actual battery charge machine. Which we have one of but like I said I had no clue how to use.

And $600 for brakes???!!! Holy moly! Thats crazy!

phoebe said...

so. i had a whole comment typed out... then of course... error!

blah. so i think the jist of it was.... 'welcome to car ownership', haha. they are certainly not cheap to keep up, however.... a lot cheaper than buying a new car. i'm in the market for new tires... can you tell how excited i am to be dropping $550. *sigh*

good luck with the 4runner!

phoebe said...
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