Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Come to me, my pretty...

As Tweeted earlier today, I got my car back from the body shop this afternoon. The car was only gone 5 days, but I missed driving it so much. My rental, a Nissan Versa, wasn't a bad car. It has more headroom, trunk space, and higher visibility than my Bimmer, but it simply doesn't handle and drive as well. It's been my ultimate driving machine for the past 5 1/2 years.

Just a few things I missed: taut steering, the accelerating power and sound of the car's STRAIGHT 6-cylinder engine, stability, suspension, the firm leather seats, the lighted vanity mirror on the driver's side, thermometer (especially in summer to see the wide temperature ranges in the SF Bay Area), and most of all, the manual shifting. And because I would have to push the accelerator hard on the Versa to get decent power, the gas mileage wasn't that much better than my car under typical driving conditions. I know I'm among the minority that drive and enjoy driving stick shift, but for me, it isn't really driving without it.

Welcome home.

Saturday, June 13, 2009

It's just a flesh wound...

Yesterday, as mentioned on Twitter, my bumper suffered a scratch leaving an always insane parking lot at the Marina Shopping Center just off Hillsdale Boulevard in San Mateo.

I headed back to the office and drove to AAA's location on Delaware Street. Since it had been 9 years since I last had any body work done, the office explained they no longer have agents filing claims in person. It was all done over the phone. They thoughtfully took into account there'd be people like me who actually still tried to drive to the claims office, as I was offered to go to a cubicle that had 2 phones and could file the claim from there. I graciously accepted their offer.

While on the phone with the claims representative, we were discussing which body shop I wanted to use. Believe it or not, my encyclopediaic memory couldn't recall the body shop I last used 9 years ago. They worked on my last car twice and loved the results both times . Lo and behold, the claims rep said she could look into my file history and found it.

Near the end of the claims process, my cell phone was ringing with a number I didn't recognize. It was Hertz, already checking with me to arrange to the rental I'll need once the car goes into the body shop.

This will be the 6th time in 26 years I will need to have body work done on my car. For living in a densely populated area, it's not unusual. Thus, the reason why rates are considerably higher than what they would be in Columbus, OH. I like the progress that's been made in servicing claims. It's still going to be a hassle, but much less of one than I've had previously.