Wednesday, April 11, 2007

Car Saga Update

Well, I am back from vacation and mostly caught up at work and at home. I'll post about the vacation and other assorted happenings later. First, I'd like to wrap up the car saga insofar as it can be wrapped up for now...
As you may recall, the first estimate I got for the repair work was $2800. That was not a promising start at all. So, I shared the saga with Jeff, a car savvy buddy at work. He felt the total was a little high so he suggested a couple other body shops in the area. I offered to treat him to lunch if he'd come along. Free lunch to go to a car place? I didn't have to ask him twice. We grabbed Sal because mischief is more fun with three and off we went.

We headed south of the office and took our business to El Dorado Collision Center in Poway. We made small talk with the office manager while one of the service technicians was paged. John came right out and we walked out to the vehicle. He looked at it and gave an off the cuff estimate that was even higher than my first estimate. I'm sure if he sat down and did the detail work it would have come out closer to the $2800 number, but his overall point was that it was likely not worth it for me to do it. He wanted, instead, to focus on the problem of getting the trunk functional.

After a careful examination, he told me there was no reason the trunk could not be opened. The damage was not sgnificant enough to wedge it closed. Therefore, the mechanism was the likely culprit. He got me a flashlight and a screwdriver so I could crawl into the trunk from the inside and jimmy the mechanism. I figured out how to get it to pop open with a little help from Jeff and Sal. They flipped the release repeatedly so that I could see the device attempting to act. My keen mechanical eye combined with the flashlight and screwdriver to do the rest. Clunk! The trunk popped open and in flowed sweet, cool air. Inside the trunk was rather hot given that it was around 85 degrees outside.

Once it was open, John carefully removed the carpeted lining around the mechanism and examined it while we tried to work the release. He showed me how I could take it apart with some pretty basic tools and said that the release wire either just came loose or the wire was stretched and needed to be repaired. Based on this, I was able to see (without even removing the bolts) that the release wire just came out of its groove. I put it back and and we did a little testing. Trunk victory!

John basically served as a service consultant. He diagnosed the problem and guided me through fixing it. He spent about 15 minutes with us and didn't charge me a thing! I told him if I ever needed vehicle body work again, I'd definitely head in his direction. And you should too! If you are interested, I can recommend them for their integrity and Jeff can recommend them for quality of work.

El Dorado Collison Center
12502 Poway Road
Poway, CA 92064

My story didn't exactly have a happy ending. I still have an ugly dent in the trunk and bumper. The big dent needs to be sanded out and painted over as it is already starting to rust. But John managed to make it a less miserable ending. The car still functions and was never terribly lovely to begin with. All things considered, it was about as good as I could expect.

With that taken care of, it was off to lunch!