Y’all. My truck. She is not ok.
You may remember a few weeks ago when I got into a minor fender bender and my truck was towed away to a body shop. Two weeks went by before they called me and said she was ready to come pick up. I was very excited. My little rented Nissan Altima is great and all, but… it’s not my truck. I love my truck, she is my dearest, my beloved, and we’ve been besties for almost five years. I drive a lot, I spend a lot of time in my truck, and she’s certainly towed my trailer aaaaaall over creation by now. She’s the first truck I’ve ever owned, and while she’s not fancy in the slightest, she’s rolled right along with everything I’ve ever asked of her, ever faithful. I say all this just so you know exactly how I feel about my truck.
Anyway, so on Friday they called me to come pick her up. I was so relieved to have her back. I paid my deductible, they brought her out front all clean and shiny, I hopped in, and away we went. Reunited and it felt so good. The body shop isn’t far from my house, a few miles, just a short jaunt up the highway. As I was on the ramp getting onto the highway, my oil temp light came on. I thought hmmm that’s odd, what the heck. I had already decided to pull over and call the body shop back, once I could safely get off the highway. By the time I merged into traffic, I noticed the heat gauge creeping up at an alarming rate. Then the check engine light came on. All in very rapid succession, maybe a minute. Um. WHAT THE FUCK. I took the first exit I could, and as I was limping down the exit ramp to pull over the engine started to sputter, and I noticed the temperature gauge was now all the way at the top. I slid over immediately into the first parking lot I could, snapped a picture of the dash real quick, turned it off, and called the body shop.
They were only about 10 minutes before closing, but luckily the manager answered. I explained what had happened, and he apologized and asked me to bring the truck back. Um. Don’t think I’ll be driving anywhere like this, thanks though. When I explained a bit more forcefully that it was super hot and the engine was SPUTTERING, he said okay tell me where you are and I’ll drive your rental car back to you and arrange for us to tow it back in. It was a stroke of originally annoying luck that they still had my rental. Since they had waited until 45mins AFTER the rental car place closed to tell me my truck was ready, I couldn’t go drop it off, I’d had to leave it at the body shop for the rental company to come pick up on Monday (which would accrue 3 more days of rental fees). But thank goodness for that in retrospect, because otherwise I’d have had no vehicle.
Anyway… so the guy shows up in my rental 5 minutes later, very apologetic, and I show him the picture of all the dash warning lights and explain the sequence of events. He says “hmm… that’s weird, we ran the diagnostics and nothing showed up” enough times to make me see red. See, in the time I’d been waiting for him to show up, I had called my mechanic SO (he works at the Bentley/Rolls Royce/Aston Martin/Lotus/Maserati dealership) to tell him what happened, and the very first question he asked me was “Did they road test it?”. IE, did they drive the truck around the block a couple times after repairs were complete to verify all was well. This is standard procedure at any repair shop worth their salt with any mechanic who gives a shit about checking their work. SO was out at happy hour at the time with a bunch of other mechanic friends, and as they all heard what had happened I was met with a loud chorus of “Daaaaaaamn, THEY DIDN’T ROAD TEST IT!”. So as we’re standing in the parking lot next to my disabled truck and manager said for the second time that they ran the diagnostics and it didn’t return any codes, I asked if they road tested it. He paused, looking a bit panicked, and repeated the same line about the diagnostics for a third time. Uh huh. Got it. Figured not.
I quietly packaged my rage, stuffed it deep down inside, took the rental car keys from him, and drove away without another word. Mostly because if any words had been allowed to come out of my mouth, they would not have been very polite.
When SO got home we talked through what happened in detail and his guess was that either the coolant hose came loose or had a major leak, bad enough to where in the very short distance between the dealership and me getting on the highway, all the coolant had leaked out. Which of course caused it to overheat, which in turn caused the sputtering as the engine was starting to take a hit. His concern is that once the sputtering starts, there’s almost always some kind of resulting engine damage. Even though I got pulled over and turned the truck off as fast as I could get out of traffic, maybe went all of 50′ with the sputtering, that’s still bad. Really really bad. Especially for a high mileage vehicle that has to tow things reliably. There is a good chance my engine is fucked. I am equal parts devastation and rage.
I have yet to hear from the body shop again, so I’ll be calling today and asking for an update. In the meantime my insurance stopped covering my rental as of last Friday. As far as they’re concerned, everything was completed then. The body shop WILL be covering the rental and any subsequent repairs, at the very damn least, whether they know it yet or not. I’m mad. I’m so mad. Just driving the damn truck around the damn block after they had “fixed” it would have prevented all of this.
Once I had calmed down enough to see straight, I went back and dug through all the paperwork my insurance had sent me from the claim. I went line by line, looking at what all they had done. You know what they did? Replaced the bumper and the grill. That’s. It. Absolutely nothing internal was noted, even though the truck had to be TOWED IN THERE because it had two MAJOR LEAKS with fluid absolutely POURING out the bottom of it in multiple places. Which they knew for sure, because it was noted on the original intake paperwork. So how the heck did only the bumper and grill get replaced? How did no one even think to drive it around the block? Really?
I also noticed that where they noted the “mileage in” (how many miles the truck had when they brought it in) and the “mileage out” (how many miles it had on it when they completed repair and returned it to me) was exactly the same. So yes, unequivocally and without doubt, provable right there in black and white, it definitely was not road tested. SO said that’s especially bad when there have been known leaks, because you need the pressure from the running working engine pumping things through to be absolutely sure that the leaks are fixed. You can’t tell that from running a diagnostic or just turning the vehicle on. Kinda looks like they just reattached a hose or two, put a new bumper on, and called me to come get it. In what fucking world is that sufficient, given the circumstances?
This is going to get messy. Really messy. I can already feel it. SO says that unless they show that they did some kind of actual engine repair, he would want me to get a new truck, because he wouldn’t feel comfortable with it being a tow vehicle again. I’m trying not to absolutely lose my internal shit, so I’m waiting to see what they have to say for themselves and what they actually do here. They better fix this, they better fix it right, and they better pay for it all, INCLUDING THE EXTRA RENTAL FEES, otherwise I swear to christ…