Adventures In Car Repair

Once upon a time, in a brand new16 year old car, the air conditioning died and the Spoiled Americans who owned the car were very dismayed (especially the American Wife). Because the Spoiled American Husband really enjoyed staying happily married, after many hot summer days (and an upcoming family reunion on the east side of the state) he finally got off his hiney and got the brand new, 2001 Chrysler Town and Country to the Air Conditioning Fixing Guy.

The day of Air Conditioning Fixing came, and the Air Conditioning Fixing Guy called and spoke in very technical jargon: “I can’t fix your air conditioning unless your cooling fan works. Your cooling fan doesn’t work.” Well this sounded a bit fishy to the Spoiled American Husband. But being the (relatively) obedient person he is, he took the brand new 16 year old car to the Normal Car Fixing Guys (who don’t do air conditioning) and said, “the Air Conditioning Fixing Guy says he can’t fix the air conditioning because the cooling fan doesn’t work. Seems to me it’s OK, but would you please check for me?”

The Normal Car Fixing Guy called back: “there’s nothing wrong with your cooling fan. I kinda got into an argument with the Air Conditioning Fixing Guy when I called him, but I’m sure your cooling fan is OK.” So by now you all have probably guessed maybe that I am the Spoiled American Husband Guy so I will save my word count and herewith refer to myself in the first person. That is, of course, unless a second or third person comes to visit and claims to be me, in which case I’ll probably not be able to finish the story for many more minutes.


So I call the ACFG (Air Conditioning Fixing Guy) and say, “well I had my cooling fan checked, it’s OK. But you know, you serviced the air conditioning and replaced the compressor about a year ago, and now it is already broken. For why this is so quickly dead? Is there no warranty on the compressor?” There was some silence on the other end, and the ACFG basically gave the telephone equivalent of a shoulder shrug: “uhh… no… it’s been a year… ummm… no; no warranty.” I paused, and said, “well OK, when can you take another look?” “I’m booked till Monday,” he said. So I told him I would consult with my Beautiful American Wife Person regarding scheduling and get back with him.

Now I am knowing it’s time to do the Google search for a nice, shiny, New Air Conditioning Fixing Guy. I am also getting weary to the point of not with good grammar typing or word usage correct. And also even not caring about it really too!! So I look at the reviews and found that a neighbor of mine was indeed pleased with the service at the New Air Conditioning Fixing Place I found. Atsa nice. OK. So I go there and they check and find a bad compressor. I am now tell them “yes I know, the other Air Conditioning Fixing Guy replaced it about a year ago.” “Didn’t he give you a warranty??” “No,” I said with some harrumphing. “Well,” the Nice Office Lady says, “we give a warranty on all our repairs: 3 years or 36,000 miles.” “I like that warranty a lot,” I retorted. I schedule the repair, we drop the car off Sunday night for the Monday working time, and wonder how, oh HOW CAN WE SURVIVE WITH JUST ONE CAR??? OH GOD OH GOD!!!

Monday comes. More waiting. No call. Here comes the late afternoon. Oy yoy yoy…

Finally the New Air Conditioning Fixing Guy calls me and says, “your compressor is bad. Do you know you need to replace the expansion valve and the dryer unit? Ya, if you don’t do that the compressor won’t last very long.” “Pretty sure the other ACFG didn’t do that,” I replied with a sigh. “No worries, we’ll get you fixed up!!” said the NACFG (New ACFG). “When can you do that?” I asked. “Looks like Wednesday is open.” “OK thanks,” I said obediently. We drop off the car again. Again we are cry of our now having only one car, Oh God OH GOD.

Wednesday is almost gone now. Oh God. They call again… “there’s a part we can’t get till tomorrow morning.” I try hard to conceal my sadness. “OK… will it for sure be done tomorrow?” “Yes, no problem,” the Nice Office Lady replied.

Thursday. Tick tock, tick tock… afternoon arrives. Late afternoon.

Yay, I cheer with Great Impatience Now!!  (I cheer with sadness and worrisome sarcasm.)

The Nice Office Lady finally calls and tells me that the bill will be about $818. Well by now I am rolling in gooey, sticky happy sauce, because the first “fix it” job cost a bit over $600 about a year ago. No warranty. Now I get to enjoy a Brand New Bill from the NACFG for $818. Is that cool or what?? And this amount was prefaced with the following, when the Nice Office Lady at the NACFG place told me, “well, your air conditioning works great on the passenger side; but not so good on the driver’s side.” “I can live with that I think, my Beautiful Wife Person is the one who really needs the air conditioning to work.  But wait,” I hesitated, “can you fix the driver’s side? How much would that run?” She commenced to ciphering, and the new bill was looking like it was gonna exceed $1000.

For air conditioning.

In a 16 year old car.


Uh uh.



“OK,” they said. And when I came in to get the car, the Nice Office Lady went over the details of the VERY NICE WARRANTY (seriously, it was very nice) with me. I thanked them all with great exultation, and on the way home I fiddled intently with the temperature controls and I think… maybe… PERHAPS I may have noticed an improvement of air conditioning on the driver’s side.


I dunno.

So, the moral of the story is: we are spoiled rotten. The brand new, 2001 Chrysler Town And Country will now be cooler inside than it is outside when the summer heat returns. Otherwise, it’s in pretty good shape; comfortable to ride in; and runs great. Nice radio… it even gets AM!! I really love AM radio (but that’s another story). And it’s paid for… no car payments at our house.

Spoiled Americans. That’s what we are.

I think next time I go for the deliciously expensive car repair, I will help them to cipher the bill like Mr. Lou Costello did with his landlord…