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Wednesday, October 21, 2015

The Old Car Blues

I drive a 2005 Toyota Highlander.  Wonderful vehicle.  I don't drive very much, so MPG don't matter (10 years old and 25,000 miles).  Its even garage-kept and the garage is in the house.  The temperature never gets below 45F  Maybe 50F.

But the darn thing just won't start in the Winter.  The dealership says I don't drive the car often enough for the battery to stay charged.  I doubt that.  The past 3 Winters, I kept jump-starting the battery from 2 old boat batteries and THEY sat around in the car and the garage for months fully charged even using them to start the car every few days.

There has to be something in the electrical system going wrong, right?  The internet says (and we all know the internet is never wrong *koff, koff*), that the starter solenoid brushes have gone bad.   The dealership says that the startes don't HAVE brushes anymore (but upon my interrogation, they admitted that actually, they do, but they just replace the whole starter when needed).  So they lie without shame...

I'm waiting for a call back about the cost of replacing the whole starter unit (like it takes them hours to figure the cost of replacing a starter?).  I know the part costs $200, so they will probably want $600 for the job.  I hope solves the problem, but it might not and the options are to jump start the car all Winter (AGAIN) every time I want to drive out for an errand, or buy a new car.

I told the TOYOTA dealership that if I replace the car it will be with a Subaru Forrester.  That got some attention.

But is seems stupid to replace a car with only 25,000 miles on it.  I'm not into having the latest car or new gadgets.  I tend to buy highly-rated cars and drive them until they DIE!   And I don't care WHAT car it is or how old, 25,000 miles is too new to die.  I'm still on the original tires!

I can't wait to see what weird explanation the dealership offers when they call back.  I suppose I will have to go to Corporate HQ for some more expert solution.  But I will be hopeful until I can't be...



Megan said...

I hope that your hopefulness is rewarded. Why do car dealers the world over (it seems) try to fob customers off with any old story? Why can't they act with honesty and integrity? Can't they see that that's going to be a superior way of doing business as well as allowing them to sleep at nights?

Sydney, Australia

William said...

Sounds more like an alternator issue. Will they test that for you?

There must be a reputable mechanic somewhere that you might try instead of the dealership. I took my '09 Ford Fusion in to the dealership to get a price on a replacement mirror for the driver's side, and when the estimate came back for nearly $400, I said forget it. I bought a replacement online and did it myself for about 1/10 the price. (I used to fix my own cars, before onboard computers and better earning power.)

~William's mom.