Thursday, July 24, 2008

I just saved myself $1000 and Geico had nothing to do with it

I travel a lot and thus my car will stay idle, sometimes for lengthy periods of time. On my 1st of 2 Vegas trips in the last 4 weeks, I came back to Miami to find my car completely DEAD in the Fast Park parking lot outside MIA (quick side note here... This parking lot KICKS ASS. $7/day if you have AAA and the shuttle is very fast and they give you a free cold bottle of water on your way out). On top of this lot's awesomeness with service and convenience, the bus lady came over to jump my car. The thing wouldnt even turn over. So, I call AAA and it takes them 2 sets of cables to get my car going. I go to my shop who installed the battery and they run a test showing that the battery and alternator are fine. That made sense because I bought new ones 7 months prior. So, battery was fine but I think all of that voltage blew out my radio because it went dead. The thing that sucked though was that the light behind the LED display would stay on even when the car was off. The only way to avoid this was to disconnect the battery every time I finished driving and that gets old pretty quick. So, I headed over to Braman BMW to have it checked out since my normal shop (Tires Plus on Bird near Merrick Park - they do good work and the guys who work there are trustworthy) didnt do electrical work.

After about 2 hours of sitting there and waiting, Braman told me that my radio was dead. Wow, amazing what 2 hours and $150 can get you! Information you already know! Braman also told me that I needed a new battery and alternator which was odd because I had a printout from the guys who installed my battery and alternator that said they were fine. All in all, they wanted $666 for a new radio and another $600 to install it. The girl in service advised that getting a new stereo from Best Buy would be better and I agreed. So, I headed to Best Buy and bought a new stereo. Later on I found out that I need a special harness and kit to have someone mount this thing in my car. That seemed like a hassle and I had to travel the next day so I postponed the install.

In the meantime, I checked out eBay. I was able to find a BMW factory stereo for $200 and it was in Miami! That and it was plug n play! I bought said stereo and searched the internet for install instructions. I nearly crapped myself when I read how easy the install was. I just got the stereo today. I was able to install this puppy in LESS THAN 10 MINUTES!!! THat is no exaggeration either and I know very little about cars. Id like to send out a big fat "EFF YOU" to the crooks over at Braman who were going to charge me $600 for a job that took less than 10 minutes. Thanks to eBay and the internet, I saved myself $1000.

4 comments:

Rick said...

One word for you, BM.

Lexus.

.

Tere said...

So what was wrong with the car that it was dead at MIA and now it works?

Sorry, I'm not car-savvy...

Alex said...

Nevermind Rick. Infiniti. Have had four of them, never a single problem.

Oh and another word: Crutchfield.

Blind Mind said...

Rick - I think Lexus is right up there w/ BMW. Those are the 2 brands that hold value the best. I have a BMW because I bought it and paid it off with cash from a family member. Not looking to have to make payments again.

Tere - I think the original problem was the car sitting idle for 9 days, however, the radio couldve blown before the double-jump start. In any case, what was happening was that the radio had a mind of its own. The radio was dead but the light that lights up the screen would remain on no matter if the car was on or off. That was draining the battery. I couldnt get it to turn off unless I disconnected the battery and then eventually it would reset itself and start doing that crap again. The new radio is in and Im leaving on a 3-day trip so we'll see if the problem is 100% solved, which I believe it is.

Alex - no thanks on the Infiniti. Ive driven various models and disliked every one. They just arent comfortable to me. The 35 was the only one I liked somewhat.

Shady dealerships and expensive parts aside, the BMW is truly a great driving machine.