Monday, September 03, 2007


I had previously mentioned that we had taken our 1996 Dodge Grand Caravan to AAMCO to get the transmission repaired.

The state inspection on the van had lapsed as of July 31 and since it was undriveable at that point, we decided to let it stay lapsed. Indeed, Mr. Van spent nearly all of August parked in our diveway.

This past Thursday morning I had an all-to-rare bainwave, i.e., call AAMCO and see if they do state inspections! The nice lady at the service desk said they didn't do them, but they could drive it to a nearby garage and have it done for me as a courtesy.

Wow! Actual customer service!

The lady also noted that the transmission repairs were complete and that she would call me later that afternoon to let me know when the van was ready for pick up.

At about 4:00 the nice lady called me back.

"All righty, Mr. Davison, your van passed the state inspection and it's ready to pick up," she informed me.

"Great! How late are you open?" I inquired.

"We're open Monday through Friday until 5:00," she informed me. Since I work until 5:30 Monday through Thursday, this meant I'd have to pick up the van Friday, on Father-Daughter day. I relayed this info to the service manager.

"That'll be fine, Mr. Davison," she replied. "Uh, Mr. Davison, did your stereo work before you brought it in?"


"Why yes. In fact, that's my favorite part of the van!" and I'm not lying. This baby had the premium Infinity stereo package with AM/FM, Cassette and CD! Pretty sweet for a 1996 vintage vehicle.

"Well, it's not working now," the nice lady informed me. "The service tech is supposed to note whether the radio is or isn't functional on his receiving paperwork and he left that section blank. But if you said it was working, we'll go back and see if there's a loose wire or a blown fuse."

Long story short, they couldn't figure out why the blasted thing is no longer operational. Dag nabbit, anyway.

"You'd be amazed how many people bring their cars in for transmission work and then try to blame us for a non-functioning accessory that wasn't working before we even set eyes on the vehicle," the nice lady told me.

The bottom line is that they agreed to cut $150 off the total repair price. And without any arm twisting on my part, I might add!

I picked up the van around 4:00 on Friday afternoon and left our beater car at the lot. The plan I had hatched was that Mariel and I would use the newly-repair and inspected van to pick up Michelle when she got off of work at 8:00 and then come back and get the car.

We rolled up behind the Urgent Care office at the appointed hour.

Michelle got into the van and her first words were, "Your passenger-side headlight is out."

Gosh, how does a vehicle pass even the most cursory of state inspections with a blown headlight?

Well, the headlight was a quick fix and I'm already pricing stereos.

The main point is, the van is once again rolling and maybe, just maybe, this is the reason those other two car deals fell apart earlier this Summer.

I hope everyone is having or has had an enjoyable Labor Day weekend!


Blogger Allan said...

That's good news- 'cept the radio, but the $150 helps, I'm sure...does it power up and receive signal? (The little FM light comes on etc)- could just be a loose speaker wire if so.
Enjoy the well-deserved day off, working-dude.

September 03, 2007 1:21 PM  
Blogger the blogger formerly known as yinyang said...

I like vans. I'm glad that yours is working again. And, as the radio is much more replaceable than the vehicle it is installed in, you really didn't lose a whole lot, I think.

September 03, 2007 10:43 PM  
Blogger Craig D said...

allan; I'm told it's completely dead. They removed it from the dash and I haven't tried hooking it up to see if it'll come back to life.

yinyang: Yeah, I think I like the van better with a working transmission and a dead radio. I tried it the other way and it sucks!

I ran to the local pawn shop on Friday and noticed they had piles of In-Dash units for $100 or less. The whole used stereo idea was nixed by the wife.

A couple of the local "big box" stores have $80 in-dash receiver/cd players. Even at this price, they are rated at 4 x 50 watts, which is what my factory-installed model had.

A "kit" to install an after-market unit into the Grand Caravan costs $20, so it looks like $100 ought to cover it.

The van is due back on 9/10 for a final transmission inspection or adjustment. The owner's parting words to me were, "I look forward to hearing your new stereo."

My response? "YOU AIN'T TOUCHIN' IT!"

(I get the feeling he thinks I faked the whole thing...)

September 04, 2007 10:32 AM  
Blogger DirkStar said...

Ha, sticking pins in a mock up of a van works just as well as sticking them into a doll!


I knew the radio would get to you...

September 04, 2007 11:13 AM  
Blogger Lee said...

Hurray for silver linings!

September 04, 2007 7:11 PM  
Blogger Gale said...

I would wait to put in any new stereo until after the final garage visit.

September 04, 2007 10:02 PM  
Blogger whimsical brainpan said...

That is pretty good customer service, but no radio! I am so sorry to hear that. I can't imagine not having music while driving.

September 04, 2007 10:15 PM  
Blogger Craig D said...

whim: Well, I count listening to the voices in my head as a kind of "talk radio" so it isn't really all that austere.

gale: Good idea. I think I just might do that!

lee: Ha-roo and Hurrah.

dirk_star: I might have known it was you. Curses! You win this round, my be-hatted friend...

September 05, 2007 8:33 AM  
Blogger Charlotta-love said...

Oh man. car repairs. no thankyou.

September 05, 2007 8:50 AM  

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