Earlier this week our Volvo’s “check engine light” came on. I grabbed my handy dandy OBDI reader and plugged it in to the White Whale’s (That is what we respectfully call it) OBDI reader slot. This is really easy to do and at a dealer this work costs $160. I know because I paid for that service once.
Two second later I saw the offending error message – a cylinder misfire. Knowledgeable people on the internet had noted this might affect gas mileage but was not an immediate safety issue.
We purchased the car used but it came with an extended warranty and this is beyond my (current) rudimentary car maintenance skills so we took it in thinking this might be a warranty item.
The shop dutifully noted that it was likely because we hadn’t had the 75,000 service and since that needed to be done anyway why not go ahead and perform the work.
That item – the 75,000 service – rang a bell. I quickly bounded up the stairs and checked my records. We keep a file for each call and just add the work to the running list as it is performed. And sure enough – there it was – $990 for the 75,000 mileage service a mere 12 weeks ago. We didn’t do it at this particular place so they didn’t have it in their records.
This wasn’t malicious intent on their part and was a good guess as to what might have been the cause. More likely one of the brand new spark plugs wasn’t seated properly, or faulty which is a much smaller repair. Indeed, the problem was a cable that wasn’t plugged in properly. The technician reconnected the cable and the problem was solved.
A $990 expense saved – all from a line in a word file on a ten year old computer. Keep your own records for big things like car expenses. Saving $1000 here and there can fund a tuition.