Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Mr. Bad Wrench!

One of the sad things is that there is no regulation for any businesses here.
Well maybe that's good and maybe that's bad.
After all, what are you going to do if a business cheats you?
There really is no such thing as small claims court. The only other justice is that has something to do with a bigger bat or a projective of some sort.

So how do you find a reputable mechanic or tradesman here?

We went to Morelia the other day in our Chevy pickup truck, to go to ACE hardware. I left my wife waiting for me outside in the pickup with the AC running.

I came out with some purchases, put it into gear and all of a sudden it was quiet. No motor running, No AC and we couldn't even roll the windows down.

Huummmm. can't be the battery since we had the engine running.

I tried the ignition.......nada.....

Opening up the hood, no problem, I figured it was just a poor battery connection.

I put in a new battery about 6 months ago and didn't tighten the lugs very well.

Let's try it again..... well the dome light came on but as soon as the starter tried to kick in they dimmed.........low voltage.

Hummm. So since there is no AAA down here,
I started walking to buy a new battery.
Since Pemex stations are really not full service, I was lucky to find a auto parts store only a block away.

Not too lucky they didn't have that model battery.

So now I start walking the other way.

Asking someone on the street where the next auto parts store will give you absolutely no credible information.
You can ask 5 people on the street and get 10 different answers.

So after finding a cab, and cruising the streets I purchased a new battery at the battery factory that I now know where it is.

Now back to ACE to buy a set of vice grips to un do the old battery.

New battery installed the truck started immediately and the AC started working again. Now I notice that the alternator does not charge, well that explains the dead battery. No Problem the Chevy dealer where we bought the truck was only 4 blocks away.
BUT the dealer told us that it would be 3 days before they could install a brand new alternator for 3 times the price.

So, we turn off the AC and decide to make it back home, no problem we will find a autoelectric mechanic in Patzcuaro, after all we have friends that can refer someone to us.
The last alternator I changed was 30+ years ago and I didn't have a really great tool assortment anymore., or the desire to loose half the skin on my knuckles again!

First referral was, "well they are up the street, but my brother in law went there and they doubled the price they quoted him"

The next referral was " I took my wife's car to have them replace the headlight and they changed it, it then fell out 3 days later and melted the whole assembly so now the light is crooked"

The last referral that was the epiphany was " They changed the headlight and it stared a fire and burned up the headlight assembly and a new one is $1800 pesos"

Great, just great!

Well, the skin will grow back!

So , back to Morelia to Auto Zone for a new rebuilt alternator, and a new trouble light.

Now I am a certified GMC alternator changing wizard.

Since you no longer have to re-tension the belt after you remove the old one, I was able to replace the unit in less than 10 minutes, sans any knuckle damage!

Another event that forced me into learning about more stuff than I initially set out to do because of the lack of reliable tradesmen down here.

There are certain things that you give up when you live down here.

Or maybe that's just around here.


Michael Dickson said...

There are a number of issues here:

1. No reliable tradesmen!? Jeez, they´re all over the place. At least that is my experience.

2. You live in the sticks, so you need a car at all times. This is one problem with living in the sticks.

3. Trouble with a business that stiffs you? Contact PROFECO. It´s a federal agency to protect the consumer. I have never had call to use it but, from what I hear, it really works.

ken kushnir said...

Well, in my limited sphere of influence and limited referral base I struck out at three. I just need to not be in such a hurry to get things done I guess. I have found that the mechanics here can always fix anything, based on the limited resources.
I probably put too much value into reliable and properly done work.
Sticks? That's a very accurate description of where we live! Lots of stick, most of them 100 ft tall with long branches and short needles.
My sources also mentioned PROFECO, and said that 6 months to settle some action was a gamble. I am not a big gambler....

ken kushnir said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Anonymous said...

Geez, I can't wait to move down there with my MGB. Do parts for foreign cars exist in central Mexico?

Your story does help explain the general condition of vehicles in Mexico. I bet you don't have to smog your truck, no?


ken kushnir said...

Smog? Mexico hasn't figured out the profit center on that one yet! They do try to limit the smog though, by a new law that just got enacted recently, you can not (legally ) import a car that is older than 10 years, it use to be that to import the car, it had to be older than 10, now they want new cars because they can get more impuestos!
They learned from their teacher up north....