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February 2019

Editor’s Note: Adventures in Car Repair
By Lee DeOrio
For The Record
Vol. 31 No. 2 P. 3

A routine trip to the auto repair shop for an oil change resulted in some underlying conditions being revealed. A close-up of the vehicle’s tires shone light on egregious wear resulting from a possible chemical imbalance. This was a problem beyond the shop’s scope, however. As a result, I had to wait until the shop owner got in touch with the tire experts, whose offices were a couple of miles away. I was informed I had to head over there as soon as possible.

Upon arrival, I was asked whether I brought the report from the previous shop. I had not done so, but the attendant said it wouldn’t be a problem; he’ll call and ask them to fax it over. Unfortunately, that took a while. In fact, I sat in the crowded waiting room for over an hour.

Finally, my name was called. A tire expert was going to look over the situation and develop a plan for how we would move forward. He asked me a series of questions about my car’s history, including whether it smoked, consumed oil, and acted wonkily, including the date the erratic behavior began.

After the discussion, he went inside the restricted area to take a closer look at the car. He confirmed the wear was having an effect on the rest of the car but couldn’t pinpoint the reason for the chemical imbalance. He thought it may be emanating from the engine but needed more information. Images were going to have to be taken. Back to the waiting area I went.

About an hour later, I learned the imaging professional’s docket was packed; it would be a little while longer. In the meantime, a different tire expert came over and asked me the same questions the previous tire expert had asked. Not too long after that, the imaging professional returned with my car’s diagnosis: corrosion inside the engine lining. A tube was going to have to be attached to drain the fluid that had built up and then another tube was going to redirect the oil around the trouble spot. Of course, an engine specialist would have to perform this repair.

The engine specialist eventually stopped by, asked the same questions, and informed me an engine overhaul would be taking place to alleviate the problem. “Whoa,” I said, “the imaging gentleman told me that wouldn’t be necessary.”

“That’s not what I read in the report,” he said. “I was told you were having engine trouble, nothing more.”

Is it possible three individuals working in the same organization could have different views on how best to fix the problem? The well-being of my car—not to mention that of my bank account—was hanging in the balance. I had always trusted the auto repair shop, which had been looking after my car for years. I went back there and, since he had no record of the tire store encounter, tried to explain all that had transpired since my last visit.

I suggested he meet with his colleagues to make sure they’re on the same page. In the meantime, I had to run. I was late for my doctor’s appointment.