Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Unpleasant Surprise

Yep, that’s my truck getting towed. Normally I mostly talk about cycling stuff on here, but today I have to mention my latest adventure.

After running a few errands at lunch time, I started making my way back to work. Suddenly, my truck shut off. It sorta acted like it ran out of gas, but I knew I still had plenty. After several unsuccessful attempts at trying to start it back up, I had no choice but to coast down the hill and find spot to pull over. I didn’t get far enough off the road though (there was no place to pull off), so I sat there in the lane like a goon. I put on my flashers and hopped out to get out of harm’s way.

I whipped out my phone to call AAA (don’t use it very often but I’m glad I have it), but before I could dial some nice citizen stopped to see if he could help. He offered to tow me to a neighborhood, or even give me some gas. I thanked him for his help, but I suspected that my fuel pump had gone out. After making arrangements to have my truck towed to a shop near my house, another guy stopped to help. He was wearing a mechanic’s uniform from a local Chevrolet dealer.

He suspected the same thing as I did (the fuel pump), and crawled under my truck to bang on the fuel tank to try to get it going while I cranked it. He told me where he worked, and that they had the part in stock and could get it done right away. That sounded much better than possibly waiting for days at the other shop (like I have before with our other vehicles), so when the tow truck driver got there I made him change my destination.

I don’t normally promote non-cycling things here, but in this case I will. I ended up at Parks Chevrolet in Huntersville, which coincidentally was less than a mile away. Once upon a time I worked at a GM dealer, so I’ve always been “in the know” about shops and how they do business (and also how to avoid getting ripped off.) They were very friendly there, and really eager to help me get my truck fixed right away.

After checking me in and running a diagnostic, the faulty fuel pump theory was confirmed. They had the part in stock, and they put three of their best mechanics on it to get me back on the road in a hurry.

They gave me a ride back to my office to get my laptop (so I could do a little work while I waited), and told me it would be about two hours. Two hours was not even close. In a little over an hour, I had a new fuel pump installed and I was ready to go. The price wasn’t nearly as high as I expected, and it actually was a little cheaper than what I would have paid at the “other” shop. These guys were all about service, and went above and beyond.

Customer service seems to be a lost art these days. Most businesses (especially auto repair), seem to know that they have you by the balls and can do whatever they want. Not true in this case. I guess that’s why I felt like devoting a whole post to my experience, instead of the usual bike stuff. If you ever have a service need, then don’t hesitate to head on over to Parks. I’m a stickler for customer service, so the fact that I’m recommending any type of business should really mean something.

A new fuel pump wasn’t exactly what I wanted for Christmas, but it was something I definitely needed. I kinda need a vehicle to get back and forth to work, and of course to and from the trail. My truck is a pretty nice vehicle, and this is actually the only issue I’ve had with it. I guess since I spent so much money on my truck though, I may have to hold off on getting those new singlespeed wheels I've had my eye on. Damn it.

Tomorrow I’ll be back with my regularly scheduled cycling junk.

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