A funny thing happened on the way to Panera…

As many of you know, since you are devoted blog readers (Mom, I’m basically just talking to you here), I’ve been without air conditioning for a while at Centro Maria. Last Wednesday it was in the 80s, which meant it was approximately 1000 degrees in my room. Being a woman of action, I took it in mind to seek refuge in the nearest Panera, where I would avail myself not only of sustenance and a reasonable indoor temperature, but also of free internetz.

My Goal

My Goal

With a plan of action set, I headed towards my goal. But no sooner did I reach Rhode Island Ave then my car’s a/c went out! I was upset – no a/c at home, and now no relief in the car either?! But I continued on, rolling the windows down to catch a breeze. Because the windows were down, I was able to notice a burning smell that seemed to be coming from my car. Then, after a few more blocks, a clacking sound whenever I pressed the gas. Then, at a stop light, my car turned off.

Now, being broken down in the middle of traffic with everyone angry and honking and the police coming and yelling at me is pretty much one of my biggest fears in DC. But I did not succumb to panic. I forced the car on, made a U-turn, and mostly pulled into a spot along the side of the road and called my Dad (at which point the car turned off again). Just ahead, I spotted a CVS, so I forced the car on again and made it into a parking spot, right as Dad asked “Is your car overheated?” I checked the dash, and indeed it was! I was relieved – this was something I could fix, right?

I walked across the street to a really nice Safeway and got some antifreeze. After pouring a bunch into the radiator, I noticed on the back of the bottle that it must be mixed 50/50 with water. I got a gallon from CVS, and poured a bunch of it into the radiator. Then, I crossed my fingers and turned the car on.

It worked! Hooray! I drove out of CVS feeling very proud of myself. A couple blocks later, as my car overheated again, I was feeling less proud. Just then I spotted a Shell Station – with a service station, to boot! – and decided to pull in. After waiting at the Longest Red Light Ever, I pulled into the parking lot and again called Dad. He agreed that leaving the car there to be serviced seemed like a good idea, and so we did.

The island in the (car breaking down) storm?

The island in the (car-breaking-down) storm?

I was a little nervous. I don’t know a lot about cars, and I was kind of worried that the mechanics and say “Oh, a woman! She doesn’t know about cars, so we can totally take advantage of her!” Because people think a man might know about cars, they’re less likely to try and rip them off. So a man who knows as little about cars as I do (or less) can still get treated with respect by mechanics because the mechanics assume I don’t know anything about cars, but they don’t assume that about a man. It really stinks, and it’s totally unfair, and it was something I was worried about.

But it turns out I didn’t need to worry! TT and D Value Auto Service was great! They checked out my car early the next day, and called to tell me that the radiator had a hole, and that they needed to replace it and then see if that was the only problem. I told them I’d check with my dad, and he eventually called them back. Even after that, they called me (not my dad) to tell me that the thermostat was broken and needed to be replaced. They didn’t just ignore me after I brought my dad into the equation, which I really appreciated. After giving me a deal on the thermostat, the car was all fixed.

When I went to pick it up the next morning, the head mechanic offered to show me what the problem was on my old radiator. He pointed out where the seal had worn out, and where the hole was. I really appreciated that he took the time to do that. It made me feel very respected, and reinforced my view of the shop as an honest one. Now I’m actually a little bit grateful that my car broke down when it did, because now I have a mechanic in the city that I trust! I wholeheartedly recommend them to anyone who needs a mechanic in the DC area as well, they were great!

TT and D Value Auto Service is located at 4140 Georgia Ave NW, Washington, DC 20011

Their phone number is 202-723-1841


One Response

  1. Boy are we grateful you landed at TT and D too! They were reasonable and efficient too boot. Glad you are blowing cold air in the car.

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