Yesterday, I went to a local Jiffy Lube to get a standard oil change and also to get the tires rotated. As I was driving home, I noticed that there was a squeak on the passenger side tire and the car was shaking a little. I thought that maybe I should just ride it out for a bit (although I did think about turning around, but I was on a street that had single lane traffic and no place to really turn around).

I ended up going to another Jiffy Lube location up the road. I explained to the manager that I got a tire rotation less than half an hour ago at another location and I said that I think there are two separate problems: there’s a squeak in the front tire and there is a lot of vibration and shaking under my feet. He took a look under the car and told me that the bolts were screwed in tight and that he didn’t see anything wrong. I told him that I didn’t have this problem before the tire rotation. He said that I might have odd balding patterns on the tires and that could be the cause of the squeak and shaking. They also said that they noticed that there was a crack in the front frame under the bumper that could be rubbing against something causing friction. I said that it was never a problem before. He also said that I could have run over something that caused some damage under the car that could cause some rubbing (I felt like he was implying that I have an interesting habit of casually running over things–however that crack under the bumper was always there–there were a couple of owners before me). He assured me that he didn’t think that there was anything to worry about in terms of safety (he said this at least 3 times). He also offered to rotate the tires back to the original position and that way I would know if it really was the balding patterns on the tires. It didn’t sound like a very productive idea to me because I just paid to get the tires rotated. I felt like I was getting no where with my concerns to the manager so I thought I would just take it home and see what B.B. thought we should do.

This could have been me

B.B. was not happy at all and we ended up going back to the Jiffy Lube for visit number 3. The car sounded even worse than it did when I started, especially when I put the car in reverse (it sounded like I was running over metal). B.B. immediately hopped out of the car and walked over to the manager. It seemed like the manager was just reaffirming everything that he told me. The manager took the car for a short spin around the block and came back and that’s when he understood that I was right, there was an actual problem. Apparently, the guys who originally worked on the car at the first Jiffy Lube, failed to center the tires thus causing the vibrations and thudding. He also said to B.B. that he should have taken off one of the tires to check (well, duh!).

Because they were closing, they said that they would have to fix the tire alignment the next morning. The next day, we get a call saying that although there is no damage to the car, they discovered that on the squeaky tire, there was a missing spacer (normally found between the tire and the hub cap which apparently supports most of the weight of the car). They tried to figure out where the spacer was left, but it somehow got lost. They’re ordering a replacement spacer and it won’t be in until Tuesday, but he’ll order it Monday. So, we rent a car, which they will pay for but they will not pay for the extras like insurance (which I think is a basic necessity when it comes to car rentals–whatev, we’ll deal with that when we cross that bridge). We had to scramble around, trying to find a rental place that wasn’t far away and that was open (it’s not as easy as it sounds finding a place at 1pm on a Saturday–about an hour after we got the news about the missing spacer–places like Enterprise close at noon on Saturday and are closed on Sundays). Well, we managed to find a car and arrange to pick up on Sunday.

I call on Monday to find out if the part has arrived for the car. The guy ordered the part but he is waiting for a tracking order. I call Tuesday, still no part. I call Wednesday, the guy has the day off. On Thursday I get a call from him saying that the part never actually got ordered (that’s why he didn’t get a tracking order, double duh!). Each day, I have to extend the rental for a day for an extra charge of $10, which I am doing based on what the guy at Jiffy Lube is telling me, “Oh, we’ll have your car fixed by Tuesday afternoon!”

Guess what! Today is Friday. It’s been a full week since the whole Jiffy Lube fiasco began and I still don’t have my car back. The part won’t be in until next Wednesday! So, B.B. and I had to go back to the car rental place to start a new rental agreement. It’s so crazy, I almost can’t believe it. I’ve probably wasted at least 6 hours of my life (times 2 including B.B.’s time) not to mention the stress and annoyance. The guys at the first place were incompetent, the guy at the second place let me drive out when I knew there was a problem and even though during my first visit to him, he told me that he didn’t think that it was a safety concern. He didn’t  believe me and it turned out it was a major oversight. He should’ve taken me seriously. This whole incident annoys me. I feel like because I am not a man, my opinions don’t hold any validity. Honestly, this whole incident makes me want to enroll in an automobile trade school and learn how to work on cars. However, despite all of the annoyances, I’m glad that I didn’t have a tire fly off of the car or get into a major accident. I live another day.