Sunday, January 01, 2017

The service light, OBD-II, and the quest for a tool, part 006

(This is part 6 of the story that started here)

It looked like I wasn't going to be able to reset my service light on my own any time soon. I also needed to get a smog check for my pending vehicle registration renewal. Since a smog check requires a trip to the shop, I decided to combine it with a reset request. I made a morning appointment at the independent shop I usually go to and prepared to once again grovel for a reset and also deal with whatever else might come up.

I got there a few minutes before my appointment and it was busy and crowded. Eventually, I was able to talk to one of the service advisors. I explained my need for a smog check and also requested a service light reset. He said no problem. Things were going well, I thought, hmmm... too well. I figured while I was there I could pick up an oil filter for the next oil change. I asked to buy one and that's where the problems started. The service advisor said "sure" and made a trip over to the parts department to get a filter. He came back with a box that was smaller and a different brand (not Volvo) than I was accustomed to. Volvo parts have a distinctive blue packaging but the one he had was beige. He handed me the filter and it was much lighter than I was used to. I knew there was a problem. Even though I knew it wasn't a Volvo part I asked if it was. He then said it wasn't and proceeded to explain that sometimes they use parts that are a different brand than Volvo but just as good. I didn't feel like arguing with the guy so I just said ok. I then opened the box to investigate why the item inside could be so much lighter and smaller than I was used to. Well, it was smaller and lighter because it was totally the wrong filter. He gave me one of the cartridge/insert type filers rather than the spin-on metal filters that my car uses. While I was investigating the filter, the advisor was trying to move my car into a different spot so it could be in the queue for service. I turned around just in time to see him start it up and stall it. This happens almost everytime I take my car in. I realize there aren't many 5 speed wagons around but geeze, at least pay attention! The guy started laughing in an embarrassed way because there were lots of customers around watching him stall my car. He said something like "Wow, a 5 speed, that's rare!". At least he didn't crash into the car in front of mine. To be fair, I've never seen one of the mechanics stall my car, it's usually someone else.

I took a seat on a bench and waited for my car to be smog checked and have the service light reset. The whole time I'm trying to figure out how to nicely tell the guy that he gave me the wrong oil filter. I didn't want to get in a hassle or make a really big deal about it. I sort of compare it to giving a waiter or someone else at a restaurant a hard time. I don't want to piss off the people involved in my food and I don't want to piss off the people involved in my car service. After a while, my car was next up. The mechanic drove it into position and connected the smog check equipment. He saw me and asked how the car was running. I said the car was running good. He's a nice guy and had worked on my car before. I'm not sure if he recognized me or not. He always does a great job. After a while more my car was ready and I met up with the service advisor back at the counter. He said my car passed the smog check and they reset the service light too. I said that was great. I told him I'm used to a different type of oil filter and put the one he gave me on the counter. I described the kind that I usually use and expressed my concern that the one he gave me might not be the right one (even though I knew for sure it was the wrong one). He immediately started typing away on his computer. I assumed he was doing a lookup on my model and the appropriate oil filter. After a bit, he walked over the the parts department again. I guess he didn't find what he was looking for there because he then walked over to the mechanics area. He came back with a familiar looking box. He handed it to me, I said thanks and opened it. The box was blue like I was used to but the brand was Mann rather than Volvo. The filter inside looked like the right type but it was missing a gasket. I told him the gasket was missing and he seemed to not sure that it was supposed to come with one (the Volvo ones always come with a gasket). He said he could try to dig one up but I said I probably had an extra. I really didn't feel like hassling any more over a $8 filter. I paid my bill, grabbed the filter and got out of there. For the first time in a few weeks I was driving off without having a service light on.


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1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Well, a 5 speed wagon is sort of rare... but cool! It's funny that the guy stalled it.