Thursday, May 03, 2007

To Extend or Not to Extend

a.k.a. If I Were You...

My dad is a Chevrolet retiree.
This means that we are not allowed to buy anything but Chevy vehicles unless we plan to park said vehicle at a neighbor's house and walk the rest of the way to visit my parents.
(Once, in my foolish youth, I had mentioned to my dad how much I wanted to buy a Mustang, to which he replied, "Where would you park it? 'Cause you're sure as heck not parking it in MY driveway.")

But the upside is, we get to use Dad's employee discount when we buy vehicles.

So, three years ago, we bought a Chevy Venture minivan.
Coincidently, Mom and Dad bought one, too.

Their's was bigger, with more stuff, of course.
Ours was the cheapest shell of a van we could find.
Which was kind of funny when we first showed it to Dad...

"How do you like (feature)?" Dad asked.
"We don't have that, Dad."
"Sure you do! The button is right... here... huh, I guess you don't. Well, (other feature) comes standard, and you..."
"No, Dad. We don't have that either."
"Are you sure? The button is right... oh."

Dad has been helping me buy cars since I was buying his old hand-me-down cars fresh off the home driveway.

And I admire how the husband has let my dad be the car expert. He trusts my dad's judgement fully, and doesn't feel the need to defend his manhood over cylinders or low carbs or whatever men usually have p!ssing matches over.

About a year into our ownership of the current Venture, Dad gave us a call to warn us of possible complications.
Apparently, this particular GM vehicle has a problem with its intake manifold gasket. It tends to break, and then it costs about $850 to fix.
Dad knows because he now works at a dealership (like a lot of retirees do because their wives need them to "Get OUT!" of the house), and he has been seeing this particular vehicle engine coming into the service shop over and over.
Dad advised us to consider buying an extended warrantee.

"But wait until your current warrantee is about to run out," he advised. "So, if the gasket breaks before your warrantee runs out, you won't need to pay for the extended one, you see."

Sounded smart.
Everytime I took the minivan in for checkups and oil changes, I'd ask the tech about this intake manifold gasket (only, being a girl, I could never remember the name of this part and would refer to it as a "thingy"), and he'd shrug and wonder why I'd be concerned about such a thing, and basically wave me off.

Uh huh.

Meanwhile, Dad is calling every six months or so to remind me.

Well, here we are, one month till the end of our original factory warrantee runs out.
I call Dad to get his advice one more time.
But mostly to get the name of this "thingy" straight so I can ask intelligent questions about it.

Dad tells me to find out how much the extended warrantee is going to cost, and then ask the service department how much they'll charge if the gasket breaks. Also, Dad tells me to call around to a couple local mechanics to see if any of them would charge about half of what the dealership service department does. Save some money.

During all this advice and my note taking, Dad casually mentions that he and Mom ultimately decided against purchasing the extended warrantee for their own Venture.

Well. Okay.

And *then* he says, "If I were you, I'd call around..."
"... get a couple estimates..."
"What do you mean, 'If I were you?' We have the same van. You *were* me! It *was* you!"

He had to chuckle at himself for that one.

That alone was good enough to blog about.
But it gets slightly better.

I call the dealership where we bought the van and talk to the warrantee people who give me chilling news about the price of an extended warrantee at this late point in the game. (About a year and 5000 miles ago, it would've been less than half the price now. If that tells you how insane the price is now.)

And then I ask to be transferred over to their service department to talk repair costs.

I get Tim.
I've talked to Tim before. Pretty sure I've asked him about "the thingy that tends to go bad in this kind of van", and have gotten the shrug and blank look in reply.

"Hi Tim," I say. "I'm going to say three words that, as a girl, I never thought I'd ever say."

He is intrigued, "Ooookay."

"Intake. Manifold. Gasket."

And Tim replies, "Ah. So, what year IS your Venture?"


You KNOW what vehicle I'm talking about without me telling you?
Venture vans going bad are a familiar thing for you?
What gives with the earlier shrugging, dude?
If this is SO obvious to you, how come you knew nothing for the past two years?

I hate not being able to trust people.

Needless to say...
We are *not* buying the extended warrantee.
And if/when the gasket goes, we go get it fixed somewhere else.

Have a nice day.


Richmond said...

So just don't blow a gasket!

Get it??


Oh alright - it was lame, but I tried!!

Mrs. Who said...

*rolls eyes at Richmond*