Or maybe don't bother
Record cool day

Car repairs and lunchtime wanderings

Saturn L300 with matching buildings
Saturn L300 with optional architectural appointments
My Saturn L200, which will be 3 years old in October, experienced a couple of annoying failures last week. When I called for a service apopintment, tne Nice Scheduling Lady first told me, in the Voice of Doom—what Voice of Doom a 5' blonde twig could muster, anyway—that they had no appointments available until late this week, and then immediately scheduled me for today at 11:10.

The air conditioner had stopped functioning. It was happily blowing all the warm air I could possibly want, but the cooling process wasn't happening. No worries, though; the only driving I had planned to do on the weekend was the Deer Valley jaunt for the Utah Symphony performance Saturday night, and in any event a dead A/C unit isn't a showstopper for auto operation.

The other problem, the one that had me a bit more concerned, was an odd groaning sound the power steering was making. Irregularly, of course. It had always groaned a time or two immediately after starting during cold weather, as the power-steering fluid warmed up and circulated through the system adequately. But for a week or so it's been making that groaning sound a lot more, and in the summer months it had never done that before. I'd been checking the fluid level and it hadn't changed, so I wondered if perhaps I was about to experience some catastrophic system failure. Better to have it looked at and preventives completed than to blow it out during some highway jaunt or other.

Got to the dealership at 11:00, the better to process the paperwork and describe the noises—"Is it a moan or a groan?" the service advisor asked re: power steering, and my first thought was, "Is one better than the other?"—and find out how long they thought it'd take so I could hang out there or do something else. As it happened, the advisor estimated 30-40 minutes to determine the actual problems, followed by anything from one to three hours depending on what exactly was wrong with the A/C and what they found with the steering.

I decided to wander around downtown; no point in hanging out in Saturn's waiting area listening crying children (there were 6 kids in there when I arrived) and endless overhead pages (the sales and service depts. get a lot of calls on Mondays, apparently). Left Saturn at 11:10 and walked north on West Temple, ended up at Red Rock Brewing Company for lunch. Their Red Rock Burger is pretty tasty, good lunch-size munchings. I was there for about 20 minutes before the Saturn service department called with the results of the L200 triage.

One of the O-rings on the A/C compressor had developed a leak, so the refrigerant had all vented out (probably in just a few minutes sometime Tuesday night/Wednesday morning; Tue was the last time I used the A/C successfully). They'd need to replace the O-ring and recharge the system, which would all be covered by my service plan. Figured it'd take about an hour, hour and fifteen minutes, if that'd be okay?

The power-steering noise, that was another matter. There's a hose involved somewhere, a hose they want to replace, but they didn't have the part in stock and have to order it, and will let me know when it arrives. It's also covered by the service plan, thank God, because the A/C charges alone came to $120.27, happily billed directly to the plan.

So then. I told the advisor I'd be back in a couple hours to pick up the car, go ahead with the A/C repair and order the steering hose. Enjoyed a leisurely lunch while I watched diving and volleyball coverage on the several TV screens pointed in my general direction (I was near the bar), and walked back to Saturn around 14:00. Car was waiting, paperwork all done, grabbed the keys, off I went.

They didn't know when the hose would be in, and I'm not the wait-by-the-phone type either. Although I only have the cell right now, and I always have that with me, so I guess I am the wait-by-the-phone type, after a fashion.