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3:15 pm - Sat 7/28/07
A Car That Turns

A Car That Turns

(Just posted a MySpace blog entry, waxing nostalgic about the musicals I did back in Michigan. If you want to read it, it's at, under "A Former Song-And-Dance Man").

With some things to look forward to--A JS Represents meeting/picnic tomorrow (I'm taking the night off from work), the Michigan visit at the end of next month, and "Jam Camp" in October--and anxiety-producing obstacles out of the way, I'm feeling pretty good these days.

One of the "concerns" I had after deciding to do all this stuff was my car, and whether it would be able to get to me all this fun.

Some time back (A couple weeks? A couple months? I'm not sure), I took my car to the tire place/garage a couple blocks away (A place I've never completely trusted. But unlike the place I do trust--Gustavo's Automotive--which is miles away down on Pico, Harman & Sons is just a couple blocks away, on Vermont. In other words, they might be crooks but they're very conveniently located. But anyway...).

My power steering was turning into manual steering, and I thought I should get it looked at while I still had any kind of steering.

When something like this happened a few years ago, I took it to the place I trusted down on Pico, and they told me the power steering line needed to be replaced.

It was a pretty cheap fix, and life was good.

Now, I have to admit, I went into Harman and Sons with a substantial chip on my shoulder--I told them what the problem was, told them what had happened a few years ago, and was--how can I say this?--very emphatic about not wanting to hear about anything else that was wrong with the car (I'm not a big fan of "up-selling", on either the giving or receiving end).

They put the car on a hoist, looked at it, and told me that the line was fine, that it was the rack-and-pinion, and it would be something like $450 to fix.

Since I already know I'm riding on broken axles (And I'll have to deal with that at some point), and we're talking about a 17 year old car here, I wasn't sure I wanted to spend the money (And like I said, I don't completely trust these guys). So I left without getting it fixed.

And for weeks, it was fine (I guess they replaced the power steering fluid while they had it). One of the mechanics, on my way out, had told me to make sure I didn't let the fluids run out, because then I'd "really have a problem".

Then the steering started to go again, within days after I'd taken the car to Jiffy Lube. So, since I'm planning some trips in the near future, and am not ready yet to consider a new vehicle altogether (Since I'd just spent about a thousand dollars on flights and reservations and what-have-you), I recently went back to Harman and Sons, prepared to spend the $450 to keep the car going awhile longer.

I got a different guy this time--an elderly African-American gent--and when he checked the computer record for my car, my last visit was listed, but the mechanic hadn't made any notes.
So he told me they'd have to look at it again.

And this time, they didn't say anything about the rack-and-pinion; I was told the line had come loose from the rack (They stuck it back on, and didn't charge me anything).

So there you are.

In this case, procrastination was a good thing.

(I was very tempted to go to the owner afterwards, because there's a world of difference between a $450 repair and a $0 repair, and someone was obviously looking to rip me off. But as Javier said when I told him about it later--and the thought had already occurred to me--there was no guarantee telling the owner about it wouldn't get the guy who was straight with me fired, and I wouldn't have wanted that)

They did tell me my "transmission pan" was badly damaged--likely from a pothole--and that I should take it to a transmission place to see if there was any interior damage (I did, and happily, there wasn't--It cost me $185).

So anyway, I've got a car that turns now, which is cool, and one that I expect to get me from here to there for awhile longer (Haven't decided on the "axle issue" just yet. Hard to know when to fix, and when to give it up; it's a 17 year old car, but it's a Toyota, so for all I know, I could get those axles fixed, and get another 50,000 miles out of it. But I'll tell you something--I'd like to take the city to small claims court, cause apparently potholes have done a number on my vehicle).

Well crap...! I've got so much more to write about, but then I wouldn't be napping.

(Probably the most interesting thing I didn't get to just now was the conversation I had with Javier recently about my journaling, and my need for a "private" journal. But next time...)


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