Walker-Buerge: second time

Despite our previous disappointing experience with Walker-Buerge Chrysler-Dodge-Jeep, we decided they were our only resort for my car.

(Side note: Did they drop the “Walker” from their name? An internet search serves up www.buergechryslerjeep.net, for Buerge Chrysler Jeep Dodge. Slightly less of a mouthful?)

What happened? I drove off to work one morning and realized that my car wouldn’t shift out of first gear. Fun times, driving down busy boulevards in L.A. trying to circle back home, my engine revving up to 3000 RPMs and barely hitting 30 mph, me frantically hitting the hazard lights after someone started tailing my rear. (I will never understand. If there is no one in the lane beside you, and the car in front of you is going too slow for your tastes, then move the hell over! What good does riding someone’s ass serve?)

Back home, I quickly switched cars and got to work, and my lovely Mum had my car towed in to Buerge the next morning and got the transmission module replaced so I didn’t have to take any time off work.

Once I got my car back I noticed that cars on the 101 were all traveling at 90+ mph. I didn’t think much of it, I figured it had something to do with summer being over, fewer tourists, more kids back in school, I don’t know. Being the slowest car on the road didn’t raise any alarms with me, because around that time I’d changed my driving style, trying to get the most out of my gas.

I began to suspect something was off when I couldn’t pass the big semis, even though my speedometer read 65 mph. When my odometer kept reading my trip meter at 270 miles every week, I knew then that something was wrong. My commute to work is a little over 23 miles, each way, and I wasn’t driving anywhere on the weekends. (No money for gas. :( )

I asked N why my odometer and possibly my speedometer were off, and he mentioned the possibility of the replaced transmission module having the wrong settings, but that he’d never come across that complaint in the five years he’d worked as an auto technician (the new, modern term for mechanic).

I did a search online, and while I didn’t find exactly the same situation as mine, there were people (mostly motorcyclists) who said that odometers and speedometers could be set up incorrectly, and they had to be taken in to techs to get adjusted.

After weeks of bugging him, my brother finally tested my car with me, using his GPS to find that while my car said it was going 65 mph, the actual speed was about 57. My car said 30 mph? Was really 27. 40? 35.

The first thing that annoyed me about using Buerge this time: calling to get an appointment. Before work I called to get my car looked at, but this was Labor Day weekend so I couldn’t take my car in on Saturday or Monday. (Nice to know there are some places that give their non-office work force the day or even the weekend off.) I don’t want to draw out what happened, but three phone calls later (because of my inability to talk on the phone and process information at the same time, I just kept hanging up [with a “Thank you,” of course] and calling back later) I still hadn’t managed to talk to the service writer who’d handled my car before, nor to make an appointment. Fourth time I called, this was how the conversation went:

Me: “Hi, I’d like to make an appointment with [writer’s name], as soon as possible.”
Her: “You can bring your car in on Tuesday from 7 to 10 am.” [Fudging the time, as I can’t remember.]
Me: “I can bring it in any time between then?”
Her: “Well what is it about?”
Me: “I’d like to talk to [writer’s name] about a previous repair.”
Her: “Well let me see if he’s out there.”
Me [thinking she was going to go check herself, then get back to me]: “Okay.”

Then she transferred me to his personal line, which I knew he wasn’t answering because it was a busy morning, and I didn’t want to leave a voicemail because I wouldn’t be able to take a call while at work.

My brother looked at the repair order himself later that day and realized that the module was set up for a 3.0-liter engine. He called Buerge and left a voicemail message, but the writer never called back.

Next week my mom called and managed to get an appointment so she took my car in, getting it back at the end of the day. They wanted to make sure that they got it right this time, so they put 10 miles on my car. (Compared to the 75k+ that’s already on there it doesn’t matter any. Especially compared to the roughly 200 miles that my odometer inflated.)

It’s nice they put in the time to ensure that my car was correctly fixed the second time around. (Do you know how much time it takes to drive 10 miles in L.A.? ;)) But why did I have to bring my car back a second time? What is wrong with this service department that the transmission module was set up for a 3.0L engine and the tech didn’t think to, or didn’t have the time to, ensure that the module was set up correctly for my 2.7L engine? Why is this the second time that my car has had to be brought back to make sure it’s fixed, or is working properly?

We’ve given up on Buerge and found that there is a new Dodge dealership near Carmax. So even if this Dodge service department is similar and we have to bring the car in a second time, at least we won’t have to trek all the way up to Santa Monica.