And this is how it went. About 2 hours into the drive from Bothell, Washington to Utah and then Texas (in theory), the transmission on my truck started acting funny. It was intermittent when she had to down shift and corrected itself pretty quickly when I took my foot off the gas for a couple of seconds. So? Not too bad, right? It should be fine for another, oh I don’t know, maybe 1900 miles or so, don’t you think? As we crossed the state line into Utah it seemed to be progressively getting worse but I was so tired I shook it off as me being too sensitive to it at this point.
The next morning (side note: a brand spanking new transmission was purchased and installed last year and still had a 100,000 mile warrant), I unloaded all the wonderful packing and headed into the dealership for diagnostic testing to be on the safe side.
Leaving the driveway she ran beautifully. Uh-oh, what if it was the wonderful packing. What if I packed so incredibly awesome (cuz I do) the contents actually exceeded the weight limit for cargo?!? Then what? I better get on the freeway and see if the problem can be recreated. And … yes it could and was! Whew! Exiting the freeway, heading down the surface streets, she began having intermittent issues up shifting into 3rd. A few more blocks and she won’t shift into 3rd at all. The block before the dealership, she won’t shift into 2nd anymore. A little shadow of fear crosses my heart as I realize how close to being out in the middle of nowhere when it could’ve failed completely.
Upon arrival to the dealership, immediately I ask to speak directly to the Service Manager. Although, I’m sure the staff are competent, this story may be a little bit complicated and confusing:
“Umm, I live in Texas where my transmission was replaced a year ago, when it had 170,000 miles on it and not it has 195,000, at a non-dealership shop but it has a manufacturer warranty of 100,000 miles. I drove it to Washington State where I’ve been working for the past 6 months. Since then I’ve driven it once to Utah and back to Washington. Now my assignment is over and I’m trying to head back to Texas and work there. When I left Washington it started having minor problems but got progressively worse as I got to Utah.”
The anxiety is rising. I desperately give more explanation than probably necessary trying to pre-empt any argument from them which would result in somehow a voided warranty or payment necessary from me.
The manager looks a few things up, makes a couple of calls then comes slowly back to the desk, sits across from, and looks intently at me, as if his stare and mind could subdue me before reporting what he’s just learned.
“Ms Lamb, can I call you Sylvia?” – Uh-oh! He goes on to tell me “We have a couple of hurdles. First, although the computer clearly shows the transmission was purchased from the appropriate manufacturer and the manufacturer did indeed warranty it for 100,000 miles, because the shop who installed it did not “register” the transmission, the dealer can not even look at it until it’s registered. But don’t get worried, luckily it can still be registered and as soon as you call the shop in Texas, have them register it and call back with the information, we’ll be able to take a look.”
Ok, what’s the next hurdle, I ask and find out, the next hurdle is “there is no way it can be looked at all until Monday.” MONDAY!?! I’m supposed to be in Texas on Monday. OK, I understand, I’ll figure something out. I can work from here for a couple of days.
Last hurdle? The last hurdle is “although, it’s a manufacturer warranty, since the first transmission wasn’t installed by the dealer, the labor may not be under warranty and only the transmission itself.” I quickly respond with a litany of arguments of how this can not be true and will be a huge issue if they try to tell me it is. He suggests we wait to discuss further once he’s verified one way or another. I agree and ask for a ride to my sister’s house.
My anxiety and stress only continue to rise – what if they don’t honor the warranty? How can I put invest anymore money into a vehicle with 195,000 miles on it no matter how much I love it? How am I going to get to Texas? Should I drive it even if they fix it? Maybe I should fly home? No, I have the dogs. Maybe I need to buy a new car etc..
At some point, in the midst of the churning and working, I had to run to the store to pick something up for dinner. My mom called as I was leaving the store to tell me she wouldn’t be coming over as planned. What?!? Why?!? I’m not sure what came next but I know it ended with “I just can’t talk about this right now, I’ll call you when I get home”. As I hung up, it happened, I just snapped. Like somebody sticking a pin in an over inflated balloon. I ranted and yelled. To no one in particular and not about anything in particular either. I changed topics mid sentence, I waved my arms (yes while driving). At one point, I’m pretty sure I was speaking in tongues, completely indiscernible to any English speaking sane individual. If I had been agile enough, I’m pretty sure I would have thrown myself to the ground, kicked my feet and pounded my fists. Maybe even spit a few times and pulled at my hair.
Almost as quickly as it started, I felt completely ridiculous! I called my mom to see if she wanted me to bring her some dinner and apologized for being short with her on the phone. And for the next few hours, after talking to family and friends, I made the following commitments – 1) I’ll drive my sister’s truck back to Texas for now and just drive hers back to Utah again when my truck is done. This will give plenty of time to decide about purchasing a vehicle and on the plus side it ensures at least one more road trip. 2) I’ll work from Utah for a couple of days this week until there is final resolution on the repair options for my truck 3) I’ll breath deep, very deep cleansing breaths – in with the good air, out with the bad and 4) I’ll cut back my lattes from triple shots to double shots.
So yes, I did lose my ever-lov’n mind, but on the bright side, I did find it pretty quick again and am feeling much better!
P.S. They just called and yippee it’s completely covered under warranty!