Wednesday, February 24, 2010

The wrong question

I won't even pretend to know the first thing about fixing a car. Maybe in theory to where I can follow a conversation, and in general I know what (some) parts of the engine do so what might be the problem piece based on different scenarios... but send me to a shop and tell me to have them look at or fix something and I will quickly say NO THANKS!

Last night a light came on in my van. No idea what it was :). I was driving home so figured I'd let Mike know when I came in... and I forgot.

So this morning he left to take the kids to school and called and I got the rundown of how bad that was to leave :) Anyway, he asked me to call an auto parts place that he'll pass on his way back to the house and see if they have the machine thingy that you hook up to the car to know why it's got the light on. (like the technical terms?). So I called and I asked them. And I called him back and said "yes." Then he said I'd asked the wrong question...

How can I have asked the wrong question? They have it, isn't that what you needed to know?

Apparently not. I got the wrong idea. He doesn't want to buy one, he wants them to do it. Ok, that's what I thought in the first place... but I also didn't even know that something like that could be purchased! I thought it was something 'big' that only auto repair places had.

Then I gave up any sense of hope of being taken seriously and decided that the auto parts store doesn't know or care who I am. And I called back.

"Hi, I called just a bit ago but I found out that I asked the wrong question."


"I need to know whether you have the machine thingy that you hook up to the car to tell what the check-engine light is referring to-- and if it's one that we use there."


Now, I could have stopped there... but I wanted to be really sure...

"So my husband can bring our car in and you'll hook it up there and find out why the light is on, it's not something that he'd buy to do at home?"

"Right, we have them both- you can do it here or buy the device."

"Ok, he wants to bring it there, can you tell me what you charge?"

I asked that last question thinking I'd be a step ahead of the game... Thinking it was a smart thing to ask.

"It's free ma'am."

Now feeling somewhat silly because he said this as if anyone in their right mind would know that... and that I now admitted that I'm married and not a 15 yr old kid calling for their dad!

"Oh, great... thanks."

And so I returned the call to my husband and told him that I'd admitted my own car-stupidity and called the guy back to ask the right question (and threw in a 'wrong' one too!). Mike is now headed over to have it checked. Hopefully it's nothing major!


  1. Hmmmm... human nature may not be so different after all. You could have written that about us. :-)

  2. Been there done that. Last time Cecil sent me in for a simple oil change for the car, they were coming up with all kinds of things wrong with the car, wanted me to spend lots of money. I was getting no where with finding out the truth of what needed to be done Few phone calls later: Cecil had to come to the shop anyway to talk to the men at the shop. I think they take advantage of women who know nothing about cars. Next time it had to have the oil change, Cecil took it without me!!
    Good luck with your car. Let me know if you need help picking up the kids.

    Mom C

  3. Ya, mine comes on usually when the oxygen sensor needs to be replaced. Simple fix. I make my hubby go check, too. Hate dealing with the car!!

  4. lol I admit I giggled. it is worth it though to hear them say it is free. Last time I needed to do that it was 70 bucks!!