So, my spouse and I moved across the country last month, driving - as one does - in two cars with our two cats and two dogs. In Western Nevada, the radiator light went on in the 2004 VW Golf TDI (diesel). We pulled off the highway and discovered a radiator hose had burst. Luckily, with the second car, we were able to procure a jug of fluid and some bottles of water, and by pulling over and refilling the coolant reservoir every 8 miles, we limped the car 41 miles to the nearest town with a garage. Of course, it was the weekend, so we passed a day hanging out in the hotel and trying out the local cuisine.
When Monday arrived, we visited one garage - closed. And another garage that was a Chevy/Buick/GMC dealership. The parking lot was full of pickup trucks, and these city folk with their little VW kind of stuck out. The repair manager first said that they would take a look, but if they had to order parts, it might take a week. We went to breakfast and started making plans to have the car towed 4 1/2 hours to the nearest VW dealership.
Weren’t we surprised when, 90 minutes later we got a call saying the car was fixed! We went to pick it up, and paid $250 for the repair. The service manager said they fixed it with a “universal hose,” and it was good as new. It should last just as long as a VW factory hose, and we need not worry as we started driving across the desert (105 degrees) of Utah and Nevada.
When we arrived in Salt Lake City that evening, we decided that we would take the car to the VW dealership anyway to have a safety check before crossing the desert. I’m glad we did. The mechanic said that the “universal hose” they used was a piece of garden hose that was liable to overheat. We needed to get it replaced before going on. Unfortunately, there was a state holiday the next day, so it took 2 days to get the part and the 3rd to complete the work. But we were glad we did.
So, my question is: were we taken for a ride in Wyoming? Should I complain and try to get that $250 back? Or was a piece of garden hose actually a satisfactory repair? To be fair, it did allow us to make it to Salt Lake and not spend a whole week in that - unnamed - town. But I don’t think it was good that they said it was good as new. If they had told us - “we did a temporary fix that ought to get you to the next big town where there’s VW dealership,” that would have been reasonable.
What do you think? Should I make a fuss?