Wednesday, June 25, 2014
Off to Luis, the mechanic I went, speedily. The conversation was that I was heading to Houston and now what. He said to have the Nissan dealership tell me what was going on with the emission system so we could get the parts, if necessary when I returned.
True to my word, I drove to the Nissan dealership on 610 near the defunct Astroworld in Houston one day and had the whole car checked out for about $200USD. The five page list staggered me. So did the cost to do the repairs which was over $6,000USD. I, of course, just laughed. The car has nearly 200,000 miles on it and isn't worth, probably, more then $2,500USD.
Anyway, after regaining consciousness and looking at all five pages, I was frightened. I trotted over to the Parts Department and asked the man to look at the list and tell me if any of the things were life threatening as I was going to drive it back to San Miguel de Allende, Mexico, over 1000 miles, and didn't want to ruin the car. His last name was Hernandez. He understood.
He quietly told me that no there was nothing that was critical. He even said if there was an aftermarket store near where I lived, I could get the parts for a lot less! In addition he told me that the engine light automatically comes on at a certain mileage and not to panic. Whew! I drove it back here with no problems except for the rocking back and forth that it does at about 80MPH on the toll roads. So I stayed at 70MPH.
Over the ensuing months I've met with Luis, the mechanic. He took the list to Celaya and got prices for all the parts. He also went to Auto Zone here in San Miguel and got their prices. Around $900USD for all.
THEN he said, I need to check to see if you really need all these things.
He has been busy working on other cars and said he would call when he could get to me. Yesterday I took the "bull by the horns" and drove over to his work yard to leave a note on the door. Out he came. He suggested we go to a place where he could put the car up on a lift and check it out right then and there.
Off we went to the Bardahl yard in Col. Guadalupe. A big operation that I had never even noticed in all the years I've been in SMA. At least fifteen mechanics busy working on six cars while I sat there for two hours waiting for one of the lifts to be available. It was like watching a ballet of workmen.
It was fascinating to watch Luis. He has a great big booming laugh and visited with all the mechanics to find out who would be finished first and would they let him use a lift for 30 minutes. Patience in Mexico is absolutely essential. Time is not important. At least it didn't seem important yesterday. We waited. Luis visiting and watching all the work. Me sitting in the car, patiently! Really for TWO hours.
Finally, a lift became available. What happened next, I think, would only happen in Mexico! About five mechanics along with Luis came over and began to minutely check out the car. One thing they discovered was that the two front tires didn't match! What? Nope, I don't know if when they checked the car at the Nissan dealership they didn't put the tires on correctly or if when I bought new tires a couple of years ago that happened.
Anyway, after "the group" finished going over the car, we had the information we needed. Several things on the Nissan list were not needed. Surprise! Not one penny exchanged hands. They all shook hands when they finished. Amazing. Luis clapped the shoulder of the oldest man who seemed to be in charge. A beautiful sight. Me, I was now sitting on a board sitting on top of two large cans!
Off we went to Auto Zone. It's a store that has been opened for less then a year. I felt like I was walking into the USA. Wow, what a nice store. What a great inventory. They had the struts, shocks and brake pads we needed. Voila. Luis needed a little money to have something done to the rotors, whatever that is, and intends to have the car work completed today.
If, all goes well, the total cost of having the work done here will be less then $400 USD! Oh, and how to fix the engine light that is still on? Luis is going to remove the bulb, ha.
One thing that I thought was very interesting in everything yesterday was that he wanted to use Monroe products from the USA and did not necessarily want to use products from Auto Zone because he said they are made in China. There is a HUGE resistance to anything Chinese in Mexico. Rightly so. But, in the long run, rather then driving the 45 minutes to Celaya to get parts, I convinced him to get them here as I jokingly said my car is Japanese (which it was made in Japan) and it couldn't be that bad.
Keep your fingers crossed that I have the Pathfinder ready for road travel today or by the end of the week.
Where am I going? Who knows? But it is fun to think about..........
I'm grateful that I observed the camaraderie of the Mexican men yesterday. That was a gift! Every day is a lesson in Mexico if you take the time to observe.