I thought once we went on the road Gary would give up his junk yard habit. He knew all the local junk yards before we left scoring such finds as an extra seat belt for the couch in the motor home and for the car the cross rails for the roof rack and the “window shade” cargo area cover, in addition to the alloy wheels from Craigslist. But something happened that sent him back to the junk yard and once he started…….
One day we discovered that the lock on the right rear door of the car would not work. It wouldn’t work with any of the auto buttons nor manually. The lock was stuck open and absolutely would not move. Sometimes we carry some valuable stuff in the car so we couldn’t be without a lock on one of the doors. When we recently purchased new tires at a Ford dealer, Gary had them look at the lock. The lock mechanism had failed and the quote for the new part was $180. Figuring they would charge us an hour of labor, we were looking at a roughly $300 repair. When Gary told me about the diagnosis and the cost of the fix, he also said, “I am not about to pay that much, I will find one at a junk yard”.
The temporary fix was to strap together the two rear door handles so that the right rear could not be opened. Through Craigslist he found a guy parting out a Ford Focus. The guy not only had the part, he tested it and installed it for us – $30.
He talked to the same guy about the driver seat of the car that had a couple holes in the seat cover and that the pad in one of the wings of the seat back was breaking down. Gary told him that we had received a quote of $200 to repair the seat. The guy told Gary about a junk yard where he could look for a new set of seats, preferably leather trimmed, which likely could be had for about $300. But at the junkyard, lo and behold, they had the exact seat with the exact seat cover and were willing to sell just the driver’s one for – $100. After a $25 install we had a “new” seat with no holes and good pads.
But that still didn’t satisfy the junk yard fix. Some days later the rear view mirror of the car came off as I was adjusting it. The little mounting plate on the windshield was still attached, This mirror came apart at one of the joints. I think Gary was actually thrilled to be heading to the junk yard once again. It was becoming a grand challenge to effect repairs without the cost of new parts. In about an hour he was back with a new rear view mirror fully installed and one that was slightly larger than the old one – total cost $10.
Between driven and towed miles, our car has crossed the 100,000 mile threshold. I wouldn’t be surprised that he will be back at the junkyard a few more times in the coming month and years. Maybe “junkyard dog” is a good nickname for him.