Friday, May 29, 2009

The car has issues

I have a Kia. It's our second one and we've had this one about 3 years now. We bought it at a really deep dark discount one night and have enjoyed it ever since.

Shortly after we bought it, the time came around for an oil change and I, being the thrifty soul that I am, took it to the local Wal-Mart. Where I was told they didn't *do* Sedonas. Well, okay, they didn't do some Sedonas. Maybe they they did my model year, he'd have to check. Yep, they did. So we went on our merry way into the store.

A few minutes later, I was called over the intercom. I went back to find that yes, they *did* do my model, but they couldn't get my oil filter off. They'd tried, pried, and tugged and that thing was stuck tight.

Thus my relationship with the Kia service department was born. The service guy, Jeff, was awesome. He was a homeschooling dad and went out of his way to make sure me and my girls were taken care of quickly every time. I've had all but about 3 oil changes done at the dealership plus some warranty work and a recall and we loved him. Then we moved.

Oh, the tragedy!

But the dealership has another location on our new side of town. I was rather hesitant to use the other location because how could this guy possibly be as good as Jeff? It came time for another oil change and I had to go. Now Steve the Service Guy is my new best friend and unfortunately, he knows my van very well by this time. At the end of last year, he kept it on and off for well over a month, tracking down a difficult problem that was (thank goodness!) covered under warranty.

I had to take the van back into the shop last night. It's been having some issues. Well, really I should spell that with a capital. Let's try again.

It's been having some Issues.

This morning, my good friend Steve called. The tires were worn down into the belts and he was incredibly surprised we hadn't blown one or more of them out yet. The terrible tires had messed up the front-end alignment all to heck, so we had to replace and realign. This is particularly frustrating as we bought those tires new less than a year ago and were promised they were high-quality! Amazing deal! We even had some good friends recommend the tire shop. To have the tires disintegrate and be told by our guy they were horrible quality makes me want to go to that tire shop and give them a piece of my mind. Except they're in Oklahoma, so it's a little too far.

Oh, and while they have the car, Steve asks, are we in a place to replace the engine timing chain? He told us awhile back it needed to be done and we'd been prepared so that's another chunk of change.

Then Steve-o calls again and leaves a message. That fuel gauge issue I asked about? Yeah, it seems like the baffles have come loose inside the tank and we're going to need a gas tank. But since they were poking around there a few months ago, he's going to do what can to help and he'll install the tank for free *and* find us a used tank, which is less than half the price of new.

So I call him back to find out how much THIS will cost us. When he answers the phone, Steve says, "Hi, Valerie! How are you?"

It's like when the doctor walks into the examination room and says, "Hi, how are you?" I mean, really. What are you going to say? "Doing great! Just thought I'd drop in and say hello!" Every time I've talked to Steve today, I ended up a little poorer.

Thankfully, the gas tank is much cheaper than we feared and I trust Steve that when he says something needs to be done that it does really and truly need to be done. I've had experiences with other shops that have not been as trustworthy. When I went to pick up my car tonight, a salesperson came up and Mr. at Home and the girls walked off with him to look at some new cars. We're not in the market right now, but when we are, we'll look closely at getting another Kia. Because a good service guy is hard to find.

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