…aka “A Good Reminder that Things Aren’t Necessarily Easier in the US.”
Sometime last month, my car failed the VA state vehicle safety inspection. Apparently, two little orange marker lights weren’t turning on with my front running lights. They put a pink “FAILED” sticker on my windshield and told me I had two weeks to fix it.
I immediately made an appointment with my Hyundai dealer as they’d replaced a burned out headlight several months ago, so I was hoping they could fix it for free if it was something under warranty. On the day of my appointment, the car suddenly wouldn’t start. I called my free USAA roadside assistance for a tow to the shop since we were going there anyway.
But he didn’t show up…for four hours…and we missed our appointment. When he did show up, he got the battery working, so we no longer needed a tow…but he recommended we replace the battery immediately. There was a parts store down the road that did free battery testing and installing, so I went there, confirmed it was almost dead, and replaced the battery.
Another week passed, and I decided to skip the dealer and just have the small inspection shop fix the lights because it would probably be cheaper. They checked out my car and told me the wiring was all screwed up and that I should take it to the dealer.
Made another appointment with the dealer, and my son and I sat in the waiting room for an hour while they looked at the car and finally told me that I needed two new headlight assemblies. (A little backstory: my ex-husband had tried to replace a bulb in my blinkers while we were in Iceland by cutting into the back of the housing and wiring the light directly while watching YouTube videos. Apparently the wiring was now failing because my husband had cut off some connector.)
The dealership suggested that I order the parts myself online because it would cost $1,200 for two headlight assemblies through Hyundai. I eventually ordered the parts through Amazon for 1/4 of that price. One of them showed up a few days later…the other one disappeared in the mail…for two weeks. It arrived the day after I ordered a replacement.
[The supplier said no problem, just refuse the new package when it arrives, and we’ll refund your money when it returns to the warehouse. Except I couldn’t reject the package because UPS dropped it at the front of my door while I was out. I took it to the post office, but because it was a large box, they told me ground wasn’t an option…and that my only choice was 2-Day Priority Mail for $55. WTF??? I thought that’s exactly what ground mail service was for…but clearly things have changed since I’ve been away.]
Anyway, I took the car and the new lights BACK to the dealership. The guy I had been working with was out, so someone else installed them (though he didn’t do a very good job). Afterward he said that I didn’t need new headlights, I just needed the wiring fixed. WTF??
But, hey, they gave me a free state safety inspection, and I finally have that damn sticker.