Well, the good news is that it could have been EVER SO MUCH WORSE.
The bad news is we just spent $500 more on my car than we expected too.
Took my car in for new tires today, I probly could have gone another winter on the old ones, but it would have been pushing it, especially if we have a bad winter again. Cringed at the price of the tires, but yah, about what we expected. Go ahead and do an alignment, and do an oil change while you’re at it please. Did NOT go to the Dealership for this, unless its warrenty work we never do, a reliable local place is almost always cheaper, not to mention nicer to deal with.
So they put it up on the lift, pull off the tires, and come back out to tell me that there’s a problem. The lower control arm/ball joint connection is badly rusted, on both sides of the car, and needs replacement ASAP, like “I’m not sure its safe for you to drive” ASAP (and they just don’t say that there, they’re the perfect example of live and let the customer do what they want).
Crap. So while they’re calling to find out if they can get the parts and how much they’ll cost, I’m calling the Dealership to find out if they’re covered under warrenty. Or, I’m TRYING to call the Dealership. The line is busy. How is the line busy, its a multi-brand dealership with major multiple lines? Maybe I have a wrong number. So I dig out a business card out of my purse. Nope, right number. So I use my phone to Google for a different number, if nothing else one of the other car brand desks can transfer me to the Dodge repair shop folks right? Nope, every number rings busy. WTF?! So the shop guys hand me their landline phone in case its something with my cell. Nope, busy signal. F*ck. Well I’m not going to drive it over there (risking life and limb, cause of course now that I KNOW there’s a problem it would be NOW that it would fall apart) on the hope that its covered only to discover that its not and that the Dealership is going to charge twice as much to fix it. So I tell them to go ahead and do it. This is why we keep a paid off credit card with a high availible balence around. One of the repair guys, sensitive to the fact that I’m still not happy about not getting ahold of the dealership, tells me to come with him out to my car, and procedes to remove the passenger side lower control arm so he can show me how bad it is.
Now for those of you who (like me) aren’t car savvy, the lower control arm looks like a big metal boomerang with the ball joint inset at one end that attaches to the wheel assembly, and a bushing inset at the other to connect to whatever in the car it connects too (or at least the one from my car does, online data shows they differ from car to car). From what I can find online its what keeps your steering tires inline when you hit bumps and bounce around on the road. Having one fail (in any way shape or form) while driving can mean loosing control of your car in a very painfull way.
So he pulls it off the car, and says “crap, now I’m really glad we’re doing this…..” which doesn’t fill me with thoughts of joy. He points out the ball joint, and the area around it, and how rusty it all is, and says that THAT is what initially caught his attention and the recomendation for the replacement. He then procedes to point out the bushing on the other end, grabs ahold of the bushing and starts to say “but this is even wor….” and the metal holding the bushing in place disintergrates in a cloud of rust leaving him with the control arm in one hand and the bushing in the other. Cool huh? Yah, not so much.
So, $220each for a new control arm with ball joint and bushing for each side of the car, plus an hour’s labor, on top of the price of the new tires, and I’m off, and hey, the extra squeeling sounds I was getting on corners is gone! Well thats cool. Though I never did hear any of the other warning sounds the repair guys kept asking me if I’d heard (seriously, I think 5 different guys asked me the same question at some various point during this whole thing. I promise I’m not that car clueless, if it had been clunking on corners I’d have already had it into the shop).
Seriously Life, I know it coulda been alot worse, but can we just stop now? I’d like to have a few normal months for a change so I can get things back under control!!