Today, I want to share a story with you in the form of a “diary-post.” Usually, this isn’t my writing style, but the end is so good that I’m sharing it with you so you can learn what I learned. It all began last Friday…
First: My car overheats
Last Friday, June 20th, my car began to overheat on my way into work. After work, it completely overheated.
Second: AAA tows my car to my local shop
I pulled over and called AAA. A tow truck arrived and towed my car to the shop I like. Turns out, my 2006 Honda Civic with 102,523 miles on it was leaking coolant from the engine! Not good. The engine would need to be replaced.
The current Kelley Blue Book value of my car is $8,693. I didn’t know what the cost of replacing the engine would be initially, but the rough estimate (including labor) was $4,000. Ouch.
I’m committed to the Dave Ramsey practice of not getting into more debt while I’m getting out of debt. That means, I have no plans to replace my car while I’m paying off my student loans.
In the time it was taking the shop to figure out where the leak was exactly and how much it would cost me, I began to get nervous and stressed.
Third: I Google my problem because I’m anxious and impatient (not because I’m intentionally doing my due diligence)
While I was waiting for the shop to call me back, I made a random decision to go online and do a Google search of my problem. My thought process went something like this:
“I am really stressed about my car; there’s nothing I can do; maybe searching online I’ll read something about my specific problem; even if there’s nothing that great online, it can’t hurt to look.”
Well, after saying a quick prayer, I typed into Google “Honda Civic 2006 coolant leak”.
Fourth: I hit the jackpot
The very first link that appeared was the following:
Oh em gee. I couldn’t believe what I was reading. The Consumer Reports article described the exact problem I was having, and stated that Honda would replace my engine for free, regardless of mileage, up to 10 years (longer than the usual warranty) because of this problem.
I printed the article and highlighted the name and number of the service bulletin and the exact criteria that needed to be met.
Fifth: I called Honda to confirm my car falls under the warranty
I called the Honda dealership where I bought my car from back in 2008 (knowing they would have all my info in the system because I didn’t have my VIN number on me and my car was still in the shop). Sure enough, they looked me up and confirmed that my car was included in this warranty. They would have to confirm the leak was in fact coming from the engine, of course.
According to Honda, replacing my engine (including labor costs) would cost me at least $4,000. Ouch.
Sixth: I call the shop where my car is and tell them what I’ve found
I hung up with Honda and called my shop and told them my car was covered under a special warranty.
My shop knew about the bulletin but didn’t think my vehicle was covered under it (normally, it’s an eight year warrenty). Thankfully, I checked and knew it was covered.
Seventh: I took my car to the Honda Dealership
Later that day, I picked up my car and took it down the road to the Honda dealership. I showed the service tech the service bulletin with the warranty, and he asked if he could keep it (I thought this was a bit odd – shouldn’t he know this?). He took my information and stapled the service notice to my file, which he handed off to the repairman.
Eighth: Honda inspected my car, determined my engine block was cracked, and paid for a new one
The next day, Honda called me and said that my car was leaking coolant due to a cracked engine block. It was about $2,000 for the parts and another $2,000 for labor. If I would have paid for all of it, I would’ve had over a $4,000 bill, I was told. But, lucky for me, Honda footed the bill on this one! I even had a rental car last week that was paid for by Honda :).
SUMMARY: My engine was replaced for free because I searched one line into Google without any real intent. Unbelievable!
From this experience, I’ve learned the following lessons:
A. No one will ever care more about my stuff than I will
No one cares more about getting your car fixed at the least expensive price than you do. No one cares more about your finances than you do (including anyone who you’re paying to manage them). This applies to cars, to your money, to your health, and to everything else. Although I can’t fix my car myself (i.e., even though I hire professionals to do the technical work), I am still involved every step of the way.
B. Google everything
Do not underestimate the power of the internet. A simple search before making big decisions can make a huge difference. Research is a beautiful thing.
The resources available online seem limitless. Whether it’s a coupon, a recall, a discussion forum, or a specialized encyclopedia (WebMD anyone?), there are so many ways to gain helpful information. (Side note: This only works if you’re not a hypochondriac who thinks you’re dying after reading WebMD.)
Personally, I always used Google to shop for deals and to do research for writing, but I never used Google to search for a specific problem, such as a leak from my engine! (I would shop for deals on tires online, maybe, but that’s about it.) Using the internet to see what’s out there really paid off for me, and I think going forward, I’ll always be sure to check things out online before making big decisions. This is a lesson I learned, and I hope you’re able to learn from my experience, too!
Have you ever saved money from using Google?
How have you saved money online?