It started with the phones Friday evening. We were about to head across town to get new phones. The Texas Gal – whose new job will require her to be out visiting clients at times – needed one for work, and I tagged along to see what adding a second phone would cost. So we fired up the Versa and headed down Lincoln Avenue.
But not very far. The left front tire was flat. We were on a mission, though, so we put the Versa back in the driveway and took off in the Cavalier, leaving the tire for Saturday morning. About three hours later, having been utterly unaware that buying a phone would take that much time, we headed back to the East Side and spent the rest of the evening playing with our new gadgets – we each got a Samsung Galaxy 7 – and wondering what happened to the tire, as I’d not driven the car for two days. I must have run over something sharp and had a slow leak, I assumed.
As I churned out a post on Saturday morning, the Texas Gal called the tire place just down the road to let the folks there know we were coming in, and then she called a towing place, which sent a truck out. The driver aired up the tire and judged that it would stay inflated long enough to get up the hill and down the frontage road to the tire place. It did, and a couple hours later, the fellow from the tire place called and said the tire – in which they’d found a sharp screw – was fixed, and the cost was twenty-eight dollars.
All good and well, except . . .
He told us that while his mechanics had been doing their regular check on the Versa, they noticed that the right front spring was broken. There were a couple other things that would need to be addressed in time – some fluids, the rear shock absorbers – but the broken spring was a major concern. And as replacing one spring required replacing the other, we were looking at a cost somewhere around $1,400. The Texas Gal thanked the fellow, hung up and told me the news.
We each took a deep breath and began to discuss numbers, pondering bank account balances and credit cards. After a few phone calls and a few more deep breaths, we thought we had a solution. I headed off to the library as she called the tire place and told them to go ahead and order the parts to do the repairs come Monday. She looked as stressed as I felt.
An hour later, I got home with my book bag filled with works by authors I’d not read before, and the Texas Gal was looking considerably more relaxed. She told me that she’d wondered if the estimate we’d been quoted by the local tire place – and we’ve had lots of work done by the folks there and have found them reliable – was in line with the cost of similar work done elsewhere, and she’d googled something like “2007 Versa front springs replacement.”
That was how she’d learned that Nissan had recalled Versas in certain states to replace the front springs. Because Nissan’s supplier used an inferior coating on those springs, they’re prone to breaking in areas where there is a lot of moisture, salt and (I think she said) cold. Not surprisingly, given driving conditions here, Minnesota is one of the included states. She told me I had an early appointment Monday (yesterday) at the local Nissan dealership.
So we got the damage repaired for free, which is always a good thing. (And we’re wondering how we missed the notice about the recall or perhaps never got one.) The folks at the dealership noted a few things that will eventually need to be addressed – the same things that the folks at the tire place down the road had mentioned – and we were good to go. And it’s kind of fitting that – except for some test calls back and forth between the Texas Gal and me – the first phone call I got on my new Galaxy 7 was the one from the Nissan dealership telling me the work was just about done and that a driver was heading my way to get me back to the dealership.
So now we can, if we want, do what Dion sang about on his 1989 album Yo Frankie! Here’s “Drive All Night.”