Our Mazda Tribute is a 2003 model and has travelled slightly more than 251,000 km. By and large we have not had too many problems with it. Over the years I've hit a couple of animals, requiring some panel beating work, but there hasn't been much else wrong with the car. It has been serviced regularly (we had it serviced just prior to the holiday). So why is it that the alternator decides to die whilst we are on foreign soil? One saving grace is that it broke down in the centre of a major town like Mt Gambier and not on the highway between towns.
So, the local AA man (RACV in South Australia) jump starts the car, then removes the jump leads. The car stops. He does it again. Same result. He then leaves the jump leads on, and the car limps to the nearest auto electrician. What then follows is a few hours of head scratching, phone calls to other local auto electricians, wild estimates of cost and time for replacement, before I finally ring the local Mazda dealership to get their service department to fix it.
I don't totally blame Macca, from Gambier Auto Electrics. It was clear that he had a lot on his plate and didn't really want my car stuffing up his schedule. He at least charged my battery up, allowing me to drive to the Mazda Dealer without having any further problems. But $1,200 for a new alternator (Genuine part)? And 7 hours of labour? ( He was talking about pulling the engine totally apart. That's not how you replace the alternator, from what I see here) On Thursday? Sorry. I have booked to see a show tomorrow night in Warrnambool. Mt Gambier is nice, but it's time to move on. Special thanks to my local mechanic, Tony Whibley (Kinglake Automotive), for giving me some idea as to how much I should actually be paying, and how long it should actually take. So, Hello O G Roberts. You have my car, now make it better. The timing might be a bit tight, but it's the best bet we've got to get where we want to be, when we want to be there.
I then spent the rest of the day in the pool mucking around with the boys. Fingers crossed that tomorrow we get our car back with time to spare for the trip East.