Thanks to everyone who emailed / tweeted / texted / IMed me after the recent Unfortunate Incident on Monday evening. I was pretty shaken up and so mad I could spit fire and it was great to see that I had so many people in my corner.
And the car-repair-horror stories! Thanks for sharing those but now I’m not sure I’ll ever trust anyone to touch my car ever again.
Since so many of you have asked what happened – here is the incident in a nutshell.
I had extensive car repairs done at Firestone Auto Care including new brakes, new tires etc. Picked up the car on 2/11 and immediately had to return to the store because the check engine light came on. Service manager drove the car and said it was good to go.
Fast forward ahead seventeen days and maybe 150 miles later – went out to my sister’s in the heart of Amish country and this was the first time I’d taken the car on the highway or for any distance other than in my hometown. I was headed home at 7:30 at night and it was darker than dark with very few street lights or other cars. Heck, it’s Amish country – even the horse and buggies were parked for the night.
All of a sudden I heard a slight thudding in the front end of my car. I slowed down and the sound stopped when I touched the brakes. It started up again when I let off the pressure and I thought maybe it was my brakes – something had come loose. I was looking to pull over but this area is badly flooded and the shoulders were like soup. Pulling over in the wrong spot could’ve been catastrophic.
I slowed further and made it to the edge of the only town for miles around and the thudding suddenly got louder. I touched the brakes again to slow further and without warning the front end of my car dropped about 4 inches. Immediately I turned the wheel to the right to get off the road and I reached a parking lot entrance to a hardware store and the entire front end of my car hit the ground.
To make a long story short – my driver’s side tire had come off and it tore up the front end of my car. It was about 20 degrees and windy as heck and I was left stranded in Amish-ville. Do you have any idea how hard it is to find a flatbed tow truck in a community where no one drives? An hour and near-hypothermia later…I was rescued by a man driving a shiny white truck. The final humiliation came when I had to get in the truck and my limbs wouldn’t respond due to the cold. The driver, a prince if ever there was one, had to haul me into the truck (keep in mind its a flat bed so it was five feet straight up) as I couldn’t get there on my own.
Tomorrow my car goes back to the dealership along with a copy of my Firestone bill and they will be going over my car with a fine-tooth comb. I want everything they touched, checked and double-checked. There’s body damage, front end damage and my tire is trashed. The only thing I can think is that my car survived almost two years in storm-torn New Orleans after Katrina only to brought down by an incompetent corporate-grease monkey with a torque wrench.
Do I blame Firestone? You betcha. My insurance company is investigating and I’ll let ya’ll know how it turns out. My only thought is that every time you take your car in for maintenance, you are handing your LIFE to the mechanic. When you get into your car and drive away – it’s his work that stands between you and an accident and if he’s in a hurry to eat lunch and he cuts a few corners - its your life that will be damaged.
Can you tell I’m still pissed off? Yeah – that is an understatement.