Thursday, December 8, 2011

The Rental Car Blues

I waited and waited for Idiot's insurance company to get back to me about fixing my car. I called my "assigned" adjuster and left messages. They went unanswered. Finally, I went back to the main number and asked for somebody else, somebody who was actually there and could/would talk to me. That got through.

After giving her the claim number, and giving her half a minute to look it up, she let me know that their company took full responsibility for the accident and how did I want to get my car fixed? All this nothing, and suddenly let's go ahead lickety split?

So, what were my options? I mean, the less work I had to do to accomplish anything, the better. There's enough to do already. We settled on my dropping the car off at ABRA in Forest Lake, who works directly with them, and they'd have Enterprise car rental pick me up from there and give me a car for the duration. Only, please start the repairs on a Monday so they didn't have to pay for the weekend.

That seemed reasonable. The process started this Monday. I am now driving a Chevy HHR, dark red. I hate it!

Let's start with it being ugly. It's Chevy's version of the P T Cruiser, only lumpier. It chugs gas, not too bad for its class but much worse mileage than I'm used to, and the gas is all on my dime. "Free" rental doesn't pay for the $15+/day they charge me for their insurance coverage. My insurance cover's whatever I'm driving but that doesn't count to the rental people. The visor doesn't block the sun. It's got a bigger turning radius than works well with all the funny places I drive into, and parallel parking is again an interesting endeavor. I no longer know where "my" corners are. (I start in a new vehicle by sending imaginary feelers out into the full body of the car until it feels like it's a part of me. Essentially for 10-12 hours a day, it is.)

Internally, everything is in the wrong place for my habits, or moves the wrong way, so I have to think about what I'm doing rather than where I'm driving. I never have figured out why sometimes the dashboard tells me the time, the radio station I'm tuned to, the odometer reading, and if I ask it to, all kinds of other things including individual tire pressure, and other times all those displays are black and stay black. I did figure out how to move the seat back away from the front so I'm not biting my kneecaps while I drive, but I have to keep resetting it every couple days. The lights and radio stay on well past shutting it off or even removing the key, and I just can't get used to that. Glad it's not actually my battery that's being asked to do that.

I can't figure out how the cruise control works. I've used cruise control on older American cars before, but nothing I try tells it to kick in on this thing. Lucky I am used to not having it. Of course I need to pay more attention to my speeds because it doesn't "feel" like I'm going the speed I am.

And of course it's not stickered "Dynamex" so I can park in loading zones. If I can find a meter or a handicap space I'm fine, but still nobody knows who I am by looking at the monster I rode in on. And speaking of handicap parking, my hanger card cracked in three places and the hanger part separated completely from the rest the first time I used it in this car so it doesn't actually hang any more. Sigh! Another errand to take time off work for. I'm not saying the brittleness of the card is the car's fault, but the rearview mirror is weirdly shaped and it's a pain to get the hanger card on or off, even without cracking apart.

So when do I get my car back?

Yesterday the guy fixing it called me, claiming he left me voicemail the previous day and was disappointed I hadn't called back. (I checked after the call: no message.) The upshot was after they pulled the metal parts off they found some plastic ones that needed replacing, and then there's my tricked-up paint job. I was in just the frame of mind when I dropped the car off to point out my silver-red-silver racing stripe on my white car. This comes from preserving as much of the old paint job as I could get away with when I had the car painted white for work. If they'd just put silver striping on a white replacement part, it'd look funny right next to the "original". It'd look repaired. So they're doing what they can to make it match the rest of the car. They're even making the underside parts red again!

He figured it'd be ready Friday morning and cost about $2600. I don't need to know the cost. It's not mine. Just... interesting.

But I called this afternoon to see if they could pin down the ETA for pick up any better for me. I was informed it'd just finished getting painted, like that told me anything about when it would be ready. So I asked for a translation of that into terms of time. There are plans to rearrange. I can now authorotatively state that the definition of "Friday morning" means sometime after 2PM.

Of course it does. How did I not know that?

What's that going to translate into tomorrow?

1 comment:

hunakai said...

We've had to rent PT Cruisers in the past and disliked them so much we've actually canceled at the counter and gone to another car rental company rather than drive one again. Did you figure out the weird placement of the window controls? Can't believe those cars have been on the market so long. They're supposed to be "retro" but they're "awful."