If you didn’t know, I drive a 2009 smart fortwo. To be honest, I bought the car on whim. I had just taken a Honda Civic for a test drive, and spotted a smart car dealer on my way home. It was 2009, and smart had just entered the market. They didn’t even have models for sale… It was all pre-order. I was so impressed with the experience, I ordered one. I had to pay shipping, too!
This car is great. It gets good gas mileage and I only need to get the oil changed once a year. It just surpassed 70,000 miles, and it was time for another annual maintenance. I haven’t had the car serviced since moving to Naples, so I made an appointment at Mercedes-Benz of Naples and took my car in for service.
When I dropped the car off on Friday, my service tech said, “This won’t be ready until Monday. We will give you a complimentary loaner vehicle over the weekend.” Awesome! I get to try the latest and greatest smart. Sign me up! They grabbed me keys to a 2017 smart and I was off to the races.
The car was fine and I had planned to drive it to Seminole Casino Hotel Immokalee on Saturday to see Paul Shaffer & The World’s Most Dangerous Band. On our way to the casino I needed gas… The tank was half full when I left Mercedes, so it was time to top off. It didn’t take long because the tank on the 2017 must only be 6 gallons. Right?! The tank on my 2009 is 9 gallons. Anyway, I topped off and we headed to the casino.
We had dinner before the show and spent some time on the floor gambling. I won $15 or so, so it was a good night! We got to the car around 10:45 that night but it wouldn’t start. I can’t make this up… The car had less than 10k miles on it, and it wouldn’t start. I called roadside service and they said it would take them 45 minutes to an hour for someone to arrive. Nope. Not good enough… Then they found someone to arrive in 10-15 minutes. Over an hour later I called back… “Oh, he will be there in 10-15 minutes.” You already said that… Try harder.
About twenty minutes later my cell phone rang. Mercedes had hired a third party to come jump the car, assuming that would fix it. He showed up, finally, and before he gets out of the truck, comments, saying, “Oh, I can’t work on this. Nobody works on small cars like this.” Guy had no idea how to jump the battery… Heck, he couldn’t find the battery! He tore the back of the car apart. He tore the passenger side apart. I got fed up and called roadside service back.
After waiting for 20 minutes I hung up and went back to find the tech fiddling under the hood of the car. He finally found the battery and was able to successfully jump the car. It started, and while the cruise control didn’t work on the way home, we managed to make it back to Bonita Springs safe and sound. Granted, we were planning to be home before midnight… But when we pulled in after 1 in the morning, I went straight to the kitchen, grabbed a beer, and turned on the TV.
This was the cherry on top of a terrible week, but it inspired this blog post. I am sure they are hoping that when they give a new loaner to someone that he or she will be excited about the new model and want to purchase a new car. Not me… The car was NOT what I signed up for. When I took the car back, I complained and they offered me a complimentary detail, which is nice. I am still mad about the drama on Saturday night… But the detail was a nice unexpected touch.
I feel better venting about all of this… At the end of the day we enjoyed the concert, we got home safe, and I dropped the car off without any additional drama. Just mad that I had to go thru all of this on the worst week of the year to date. So, if you are reading this, do NOT buy a 2017 smart. Either buy an older model, say a 2009, or buy a Civic!