So hey, I figured I'd document the latest bit of drama with my car, since it's eaten up the last few days of my life. Plus I'm tired of transmitting the details to everyone individually, so I've chosen a broadcast medium. Interactivity can still be achieved through personal or electronic means.
A few weeks ago, Alan and were working on my car. After changing the oil we began to rotate the tires. Aside from some issues with the tires themselves which I had to take care of, we found that the wheel on the front driver's side was covered in grease. From what, we weren't really sure, but our guess was the CV joint. I decided to put the wheels back on and take it to a shop, since this was into my gray area of car knowledge. I had a good one in mind, so I drove it over a few days later.
I told them about it. Moments later, they had the car up on a lift and I was looking at the source of the problem. The rubber boot around the CV joint had a tear in it. Since the boot is what holds the grease in, it explained the problem. They said that they had to replace the boot because of the tear, then re-grease the joint and drive axle. Two hours later, I was on my way with a working Jetta.
Everything was fine until about a week had passed. Monday night, when I was driving over to Tianna's, I tried to start from a stop at a green light. When I started to let up on the clutch to put the car in gear, I heard a loud pop, and then the car started making a strange vibrating noise. Afterward, the car wouldn't move, even if I had it in gear and the accelerator going. I really didn't have much clue then as to what it could have been. My first inclination was something with the transmission. Tianna came by to pick me up, and with some help from the police, we pushed the car into a nearby lot to be towed the next day.
The morning after, I did some research on the problem to try and determine what had happened. After some searching, I decided the transmission still made the most sense, so I had it towed to the dealer in the hopes that my recently expired powertrain warranty would come in handy. I agreed to the diagnostic charge, then waited to hear.
When the dealer called the next day, I wasn't really sure what to expect. Imagine my surprise when he told me that the problem wasn't the transmission at all. Apparently, the drive axle on the front driver's side was improperly attached, and several vital bolts were missing. Basically, I was being told that my car was improperly serviced. I asked him to put it in writing and let me go back to the shop where I had the repair done. My intention was to have them pay for the repair at the dealer, even though I knew that their first inclination would be to tow it to their shop to try and get right what they royally botched in the first place.
Turns out I was right. The service rep at the shop asked why I didn't have it towed back there instead, and I told him that a diagnosis from a dealer was required if my warranty was to be honored. When he offered to tow the car back to his shop, I respectfully declined. Even if it's free, it's a pain in my ass and, frankly, I wasn't in the mood to let these guys off the hook. I told them that I expected them to cover the repair and the tow. He spent a lot of time guaranteeing me that there's no way they messed up, so I asked him to talk directly with my VW repair rep. About an hour later, I get a call from the shop telling me that they've agreed to pay for everything. I should get the car back in a few days.
In my opinion, this sort of thing has no real defense. The shop clearly didn't fasten the bolts to factory specifications, otherwise they would have stayed put like they did for the first 50,000 miles on the car. I considered the possibility that the VW dealership was somehow exaggerating the problem, but I just can't see why they would have done that. To sell me 6 new bolts at $2 a piece and one hour of shop time? The bolts really could have only come off for one reason: they weren't put back on correctly.
Moral of the story? I'm strongly recommending against servicing your car at European Legacy Motors on Blalock Road. They did the right thing by paying for the repair, but their negligence could have caused a hell of a lot more harm than a midnight breakdown at a lonely stop light. The drive shaft really only makes the car go faster, but sometimes that how you avoid the accident, kid in the road, 18-wheeler bearing down behind you, etc.