Ever had one of those days? Yesterday was mine. My parents have been visiting from the UK for the past two months and yesterday was going home time. They needed to be at the airport for 3pm. As a single car family this presented a small logistical challenge. I had to drop my partner off at work in the morning so that I could have the car for the day, which is not really a problem- the problems started after I dropped her off, when the cars electrical system went on the fritz.
I arrived home, got out of the car, turned off the ignition, opened the garage door, and then tried to restart the car again. Note- ‘tried’ to restart the car. Nothing doing, completely dead. Usually in this circumstance the immobilizer is the culprit and so I tried all the usual tricks to get that back in line. No joy.
So I phoned the alarm installers, “try this, try that…” didn’t work. “Oh well we will have to send someone out but it will cost you R350 and we can’t guarantee that it is the alarm, probably isn’t, can’t say for sure, who knows- just give us R350 and we will tell you one way or the other,” was the paraphrased response.
Well, stuff that. They did say that the likely culprit was the battery, but I had just been driving the car with no problems, and it had started that morning without any issues. So we tried to jump start with a bakkie. Nothing. So how could it be the battery?
The car needed fixing, we needed to get to the airport. I didn’t have the time or the money to have a stream of mechanics in to tell me who to have in next. My emergency recovery was as much help as a chocolate tea-pot, “we will jump start it or tow it to a garage,” was their response- thanks for nothing!
With no clue and time running out I just started hitting the phone (not literally, though I certainly felt like doing it). The battery people said it was definitely not the battery (I won’t name them- but they are on Fish Hoek Main Road and have ‘battery’ in the title) and was probably the key transponder- he gave me the number of his auto electrical mate (also Fish Hoek Main Road, who share premises with a petrol station). He just didn’t answer the phone.
So, as it had been narrowed down to an electrical problem of some kind, and with no-one really all that enthusiastic about committing to fixing the problem I had a sudden thought. A couple of months ago we sold an A-class Mercedes on behalf of my father-in-law who has relocated to the UK. It was a great vehicle, but failed its road-worthy due to a none-working tail light. The main dealer was giving it the ‘ooh, you’ll have to bring it in because it could be this or that or something else we can charge you for.’ Just because I knew it was there, I took it to Peter’s Auto Electrical instead. “No problem, its just a bulb- they use a different type to everyone else, but I think we have one here.” Supplied and fitted for a few rand- no fuss, no messing, no B.S..
I phoned them and explained the problem, “hmm,” said Andrew, “can’t say for sure, but I will come and sort it out for you. The call out fee is R295. I’m going to be busy this afternoon, but I can come now if that’s OK?” Wow, after all the gruff uselessness this was amazing.
It turned out to be a combination of a short circuit and a poor performing battery and Andrew got the car going, but asked me to call at the work shop in Irene Way, Sunvalley, so that they could do thorough diagnostics on the battery, “I don’t want to condemn the battery just yet if there is nothing wrong with it.” These words from the mouth of a motor mechanic! Maybe he bumped his head getting out of the van?
After I drove around a bit to recharge the battery I called in at Peter’s Auto Electrical in Irene Way, Sunvalley. Unfortunately the car would not start again, and the battery was dead- but a new one was fitted without any fuss, and for a competitive price.
That’s twice in two months that I have had cars there and they have been fixed without any fuss or drama- nice guys to boot. If your car has an electrical problem you won’t go far wrong if the your first port of call is Peter’s Auto Electrical.
It took me most of the morning to finally get to the right people (who I will phone first time next time) and a tremendous amount of stress, but it got sorted once the professionals got involved, and we made it to the airport just on time.
Please note that this is not a paid-for-post. It was written following a real event, and without prior knowledge of Peter’s Auto Electrical. I just like to reward good service by telling as many people as I can about it. Good service is very rare in South Africa and so we should reward the good ones with our business, so that maybe the bad ones will catch on and change their ways.