Saturday, May 23, 2015

Not a Happy Driver...

When I was 16, I scoured the newspaper ads every Sunday for a car. I would call on cars to find them to be too expensive or in too much need of repair. It was frustrating, as I wanted a car really badly. One Sunday in particular, I saw a listing that caught my eye. A 2005 Chevrolet Cobalt, with only 33,000 miles on it. Asking price was only $6,500. Excitedly, I called the owner and asked about it. It was in perfect condition! I begged my parents to look at it and think about buying it. Dad agreed to go look at it, and came back home with sad news. Someone had already bought it. I was devastated. 

We decided to go get ice cream that evening, and on the way we took a detour. Dad said he had to go measure a house for windows (See his shop here!). We pulled into a driveway, and Mom and Dad got out of the car, and walked up to a silver Chevrolet. They smiled and looked at me. They had bought it! Dad later told me the hilarious story of his first visit to the car that would later become the Kylie-mobile. He and another potential buyer were looking at it at the same time. The other guy made an offer, but Dad said, "If you buy this car, you're going to make a 16 year old really sad today."  Dad guilt-tripped him into passing on the vehicle. That sly dog...

My car has been the setting
 for many a non-moving selfie.

Ever since I got that car, I've been going to the same place for all my repairs and oil changes. Dad and I were loyal to this company because Dad trusted them. Recently, that trust has been broken. 

This year, I began to have trouble with my car. It would make terrible screeching noises as I slowed down, especially from high speeds like coming off the Interstate. It sounded like metal on metal.

I brought it in to the shop, asking them to look at my brakes. That's what anybody would think is wrong with it. I picked it up later. "Nope. It's your swing arms. You need new ones." And how much would that cost me? $800. Fine. Replaced and paid for. Driving it the next day, the sound was worse! 

I brought it in to get an oil change, and when I left the shop the sticker in the upper left corner of my windshield was the same one as before, and my digital oil monitor hadn't been changed and still said something like 40%. I called the shop. "Did you change my oil?" "Uhhh, we don't know. Bring it in and we'll do it again." I mean, how do you not know if you changed my oil? It was in the shop all day long! They changed my oil again (and I made sure they only charged me once) and I was on my way.

My bumper after I got rear-ended
 at school my junior year.

I brought my car back in because of the screeching noise (that had gotten progressively worse) about a month ago. Again, it wasn't my brakes they said, but my shocks and struts that needed to be replaced. Fine. Another $800 put into my car. I asked them as I left: "Are you sure that my brakes are okay?" The mechanic said to me, "Oh yeah, your pads are fine - you've got a long way to go on them." I believed him. But when I left the shop, it still screeched.

The next week I had an appointment at a tire shop to get my snow tires taken off. When I went in, I gave the attendant my keys and asked, "is there any way you can look at my brakes while you're working on my car? It's making a terrible noise." They said "of course" and went to get started on my car. As I waited for the service to be done, the attendant came out. "You really need new brakes." My jaw dropped to the floor. All four had to be replaced. I had him fix my brakes. No way was I going to go back to the other mechanic.

My brother and I hanging out in my car...

I brought my car in multiple times to my mechanic that I've had for four years, and every time it wasn't my brakes, but something else that was uncannily expensive and urgent. I spent about 2K on things that I'm not even sure I needed. And what's the most unsettling, what if my brakes failed while I was driving? What if something happened? I had felt my brakes give way before, and I could tell there wasn't much left to them when I would brake. When I got my new brakes, the difference was incredible! The mechanic explicitly denied that my brakes were bad every time I brought my car in. 

It's hard to know if they just didn't know that my brakes were terrible, or if they purposefully pretended that they weren't. I don't know which makes more sense. But in the end, they gave me false information, and my life and car were put in danger. I will not be returning to that shop, and I will caution everyone not to go there.

If anyone in the Capital Region knows of a really good (TRUSTWORTHY) mechanic, please let me know!

Friday, May 8, 2015

Coming Soon!

Clear your calendars! Grab the spouse and kids! Fr. Paul Nicholson is coming to Albany!!

Join Fr. Paul Nicholson and Catholic families from around the Diocese and beyond for the Conference on the Family! 

Fr. Paul Nicholson is a missionary priest who has traveled all over the globe to give parish missions and to minister to the Catholic people. Fr. Nicholson is an extremely engaging speaker, who relates to the people, is humorous, and delivers content that is efficacious and easy to relate to.

The Conference on the Family aims to help us better understand how to apply our Faith to our family!

Thursday, June 4th's evening session is for women; Friday, June 5th's session is for men; Saturday's family session includes the talk for families, Mass, and a cook-out! Bring the kids!!

The Conference will be taking place at St. Paul the Apostle in Schenectady, NY.

Tickets are $10/session (Saturday is free-will offering), and children under 18 get in free. Tickets or reservations can be made on our Event page. Please note: Even if you are going to pay at the door, please register so that we can know how many attendees to expect!

Listen for the ad on WOPG, and like Capital Region Catholic Conferences on Facebook!! Please share this exciting event with your friends (within and without the Diocese!), and please pray for Fr. Nicholson and the success of this event!

Holy Family, ora pro nobis!