Friday, May 16, 2014

I Hate that Truck

Update (8/26/14): I'm thrilled to report that the cursed truck has now been replaced with a new (hopefully less cursed) truck. The replacement was coupled with the following, very sweet, admission-against-interest for which I love him dearly, by one Jake Hicks:
"You were right, love. That truck was a bad call. I'm sorry you had to deal with my mistake."
I am therefore officially vindicated.

Have you ever hated an inanimate object? I don’t know what it is about my husband’s vehicles, but they seem to war against me in unexpected and ever more maddening ways.

When Jake deployed to Afghanistan, he decided to sell his Jetta rather than let it sit for ten months. Jake’s brother Daniel was moving to Houston and in need of a car, so it actually worked out really well.

I knew that meant one of the first orders of business when Jake got back home was going to be finding a vehicle. He’d been saying for years that he wanted a truck, and now he was going to get one.  I figured that Jake would come home and then we’d go test drive some options in Kansas City, where we typically spend our time together when Jake is stateside.

But Jake had other plans. One morning, I woke up to a text message that Jake had purchased a truck on eBay while I was sleeping.  Oh geez. And I worry about buying clothes online!

Since he was gone, Jake needed me to reach out to the dealer, take a look at the truck, and complete the transaction.  He chose a truck in Houston because he was trying to make things easy on me. Which, as you will see, is incredibly ironic.

I made an appointment to meet with the dealer two days later to inspect the truck. I have to admit, it is a nice-looking vehicle.  But when the dealer went to start the truck, he had a little difficulty.  He was surprised and told me that the truck had been fine so far. He agreed to have the local Chevy dealer look into the issue and see what caused the problem.  Three days later, the fuel filter, casing, and sensor had been changed. I went to see the truck again, started it several times, and it seemed to be fine.

So I finalized the paperwork for the truck on a Friday, and then drove it to pick Howie up from school.  When Howie and I got back to the truck, the valet told me that it wouldn’t start.  Seriously.

I eventually got the truck started and drove it to Autozone to have the batteries tested.  The technician said that the batteries were fine, though, so we drove home while I made an appointment with the Chevy dealer near my home for Monday.

I drove the truck to breakfast and to the grocery store on Saturday with no issue, so I decided to drive it to church on Sunday. I usually drive a tiny car, and so I was trying to get used to the giant truck before I had to take it to Jake in Kansas.

The truck started fine Sunday morning for church, but after church it wouldn’t start at all.  Several of the men tried to help me figure out how to get it started, but with no luck.  I wound up having to send Howie home with friends and have the truck towed.  And since the dealer is closed on Sunday, I had to have it towed home, then towed again on Monday morning when it still wouldn’t start.

The Chevy dealer near my home looked at the truck and found several issues. A hose needed replacing, and a valve was leaking. The dealer replaced both, and then I picked it up.  That same evening, I drove it to a Leadership Houston meeting in South Houston. I parked horribly at the meeting—I can’t drive a giant truck—and when I went to start it and repark, it wouldn’t start. You’ve got to be kidding me!!

What I usually drive. "Small Car Only" parking was made for this car.
I went to my meeting and, thank God, three hours later I was able to start it to get home.  And then again the following morning to take it right back to the Chevy dealer.

Meanwhile, I contacted the seller to tell him what’s going on, and how extremely displeased I am with the vehicle. Not surprisingly, he didn’t care. When you buy a vehicle as-is, there’s not a lot you can make a seller do to fix problems you find later. I have sent a strongly worded letter to eBay about the seller, however, and I hope that future buyers are protected from these problems.

Eventually the Chevy dealer got back to me with a further diagnosis: the batteries are no good. WHAT?!? Thanks for nothing Autozone!

Fortunately, because it was an issue that they should have caught in the previous visit, they didn’t charge me for the labor, and gave me a deep discount on the batteries.

The Chevy dealer told me that eventually the fuel injectors and/or fuel pump would need replacing on the truck, but since it wasn’t an immediate issue and we’d already sunk over $3,000 into the thing, I passed for now.  Or rather Jake did. By that point, he started saying things like: 
"I bet it was just the batteries all along, and these guys are jerking you around because you don’t know any better.” 
Nice, hon.

By this point, I’m extremely nervous about the prospect of driving this stinking truck across country.  I tell Jake I think maybe I should fly instead (even bought refundable tickets), but he was adamant that the truck—which he’d never seen but in true guy fashion had decided was only suffering from user error—would get me to Kansas. He said:
“Worst case scenario, if you get stranded, just leave the truck and drive the rest of the way in a rental.” 
You can imagine how well I took that.

But I was not going to argue with my husband in a warzone about this anymore. I loaded up the truck and started driving across country with Howie and all of our stuff.

It’s a long drive from Houston to Kansas. I planned to stop in Dallas for gas in the early afternoon, then continue to Oklahoma City to stay the night and drive the rest of the way the following morning.

Howie, slap-happy at the end of our trip.
We drove to Dallas through pouring rain (how I learned the truck also needed new windshield wipers; sigh), and got to a gas station around 2pm.  We filled up, grabbed some snacks, Howie had a potty break, and we got back in the truck. And it wouldn’t start. I tried half a dozen times with no luck.  I took Howie back inside the gas station, which fortunately had a McDonald’s in it. We had happy meals and watched a movie on the iPad, hoping that cooling off the engine would help.

Ninety minutes later, the truck finally started and we drove to Oklahoma City.  But we missed our “early afternoon” window and wound up stuck in Metroplex rush hour traffic.  Ugh. Fortunately, Howie was a trooper about it, and we made it to OKC. Eventually.

The next morning, the truck started and we got on the road, but we needed gas. I stopped at a Love’s along the highway for gas, but I parked on the wrong side of the pump (because my gas tank and Jake’s are on opposite sides of the vehicle).  When I got in the truck to move it, it wouldn’t start.

Dozens of attempts, three mechanics, an adjuster, and a well-meaning elderly man later, no one can get the truck started. Howie and I go inside and find a table where we can kill some time, hoping that the truck will work later.  

The only bright spot in an otherwise horrendous ordeal was how awesome the people at Love’s were. They were very kind and helpful, they gave Howie fresh baked cookies to eat while we waited, and regularly checked on us to make sure we had everything we needed.  I could not have been luckier in the place that I was stuck. Or in the fact that my iPad is chock full of Pixar movies.

Three hours, several good Samaritans, and countless attempts later, I gave up and called a tow truck. The adjuster helped me locate the nearest dealer, and a rental car company.

I was working on getting Howie’s carseat installed in the cab of the tow truck when, wonder of wonders, the tow truck driver got Jake’s truck started.  I just threw my hands up in the air.

I knew I lacked the gas to make it to Manhattan, Kansas, so I found myself asking:
“so if I fill up with the truck running, what’s the likelihood it will actually blow up?”
“Ma’am, you’re driving a diesel; it’s not going to blow up,” 
said the tow truck guy, more than a little incredulously.  I confess, in Wichita I tested this advice.  I'm pleased to report we did not explode.

I made it to Manhattan and drove straight to the airport, abandoning the truck for a rental car.  Hours later we were finally united with Jake (more to come on that), and I recounted the whole story to him.  The next morning, he wanted to go to the airport and check out the truck.  When we got there, the truck started for him right away.

And it has started for him every time since. Every. Single. Time.

Of course it has. 

I hate that truck.


  1. Oh my gosh! That's terrible. I probably would have cried. Clearly the truck favors men. Haha. Check out my blog about army wife life in Germany at :)

  2. That's a crazy story! I would probably had cried! Seems like the truck favors men haha. Check out my blog at