Flashback Friday – $80 Car Wash: It’s Not Just Me

Flashback Friday

I’m doubling up this week’s Flashback Friday due to last week’s schedule interruption.


The following post originally appeared on 8/28/07 at Exit 51

$80 Car Wash

Ain’t it the truth – things happen when you’re least ready for them and I swear some things only happen to me. Case in point, I get in my car this week and the check engine light comes on. Absent any obvious signs that the engine is about to blow up, my diagnostic skill are pretty limited. Since the car is only two years old and still under warranty I decide the proper thing to do is get to the dealer. And that’s where I ended up getting an $80 car wash.

When I arrived and explained the reason I was there, the service tech checking me in explained that if the issue was not a covered repair, I would be charged their standard diagnostic fee. Of course I agree since I don’t know the first thing about what goes on under the hood.

So I wait. And I wait. I even watch a movie on my iPod. 90 minutes later, I’m informed that the problem was a loose gas cap. And it just so happens that a loose gas cap is different from a defective gas cap. And that difference could be charged to my Visa or Mastercard. But while I’m waiting for my paperwork to come through to the cashier, would I like my car washed. I figure why the heck not, if I have to hand over my debit card for this bit of automotive wisdom, I might as well get a clean ride out of it. I paid the bill and went out to collect my car expecting it to be shiny and clean inside and out.

And don’t you know, that car was dripping wet and void of any vacuum love. Next time, I think I’ll just take it to the AutoSpa instead. For $80, I could have the entire car cleaned, waxed, and detailed. But I learned a valuable lesson…how to tighten a gas cap (three clicks!)…which I gladly pass along free of charge.


And this was the follow up.

The following post originally appeared on 9/1/07 at Exit 51

It’s Not Just Me

Turns out I’m not the only one with gas cap issues. I got the following email from one of my friends:

my mom called me last night. she picked her car up from the VW dealer after having dropped it off yesterday morning because the engine light came on…turns out her gas cap wasn’t on all the way! true story! i almost fell out of my chair. i relayed the $80 carwash bit to her and she thought that was outrageous as well. anyway, i’ve never heard that before and now i’ve heard it twice in the same week. thought i would pass it on. i gave her your 3 click advice.

If car makers have the technology for your car to tell you when your tire pressure is low or email you with service reminders (truth is stranger than fiction), why can’t they come up with a ‘check gas cap’ light?

10 thoughts on “Flashback Friday – $80 Car Wash: It’s Not Just Me

  1. I have been riding for a bout 6 months now with the check engine light on.
    when I notified the spouse that it wa son and not flashing or dancing but burning steadily, his reaction was……”how is it running?” ( like I know the difference?) He said it is not bad enough to fix. (? Like Ihave to be stranded on the Texas 410 for it to be BAD enogh to fix?)

    I will try tightening the gas cap 3 clicks…..and wouldn’t it just be wonderful if it fixed the problem!

    1. Emily, your light has been on for 6 months? Seriously? Girl, get thee to a garage. Clearly, the car hasn’t exploded but something’s not right.

    1. The funny thing about this dealership is that I had shopped there when I was looking for a car. The experience was so unfortunate that I vowed never to give them my business. But when the check engine light goes on and you don’t know if your car is about to blow up, and crappy dealer is 20 miles closer than where you bought the car, you’ll rationalize that the service department can’t be as bad as the sales department. And you’d (I’d) be dead wrong.

  2. Shutterboo, I want to know what kind of car you have since my Mazda clearly isn’t as customer friendly as your Cap’n Cruiser.

  3. Ugh. It is a very common problem with the Honda mini van. Practically everyone I know that owns one has had it happen. The stinker is that the only way to get that light to go off is to take it to the dealership.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s