Canada: The Only Car Part in All of Manitoba

It’s our first working day! We’ve made it to Winnipeg, Manitoba and are driving down to Winkler for our first job site. The drive, unsurprisingly, is flat and surrounded by farmland as far as the eye can see. There are so many locusts everywhere that we murder about 1,000 of them with the front of our car. Gross.

Works goes well and no one figures out that my clipboard and glasses are a ruse to fool them into thinking I’m an experienced professional.

Now we’re on our way to the Toyota dealership to get our car fixed. We’ve only been on the road for a week and a hunk has already come off. We also got a rock to the windshield on our way into Winnipeg last night. A great omen.

Fortunately, we already had an appointment to have a second key made. We bought the car used and it only came with one, but everyone knows how prone to losing things I am… so my dad made it a priority to get a back up. Probably wise. But now we’re tacking on the fact that our heat shield is hanging loose and rattling away below the car. It sounds very problematic. But hey if it had to fall off, at least this is a relatively convenient time.

The dealership is the only place I’ve seen anyone wear a mask thus far, everywhere else has been a mask free zone and we feel a little silly walking around in ours.

But when the guy helping us, Sam*, sees our Ontario plates we get some questions.
“Are you guys really from Ontario?”
“Oh, but like, close to the Manitoba border, right?”
Umm… not exactly.
But not Toronto or anything?”
Then I make the mistake of explaining that it’s close to Toronto but not in the epicentre of the pandemic.
“Okay… I’m just going to be extra cautious then…” he says, literally backing away from us.

I can’t help but laugh. If I was talking to someone who said they were American and I asked “not from Florida though, right?” and they were? I’d back away too. We’re not as bad as Florida, or even Quebec, but I get it.

We give him the keys (which he takes with gloves on) and go for lunch. There’s a confusing chain of communication because Dad made the original appointment, but I’m just down the street. So he’s kind of acting as a middle man 2,000km away. He calls me to let me know Toyota doesn’t have the part to fix the heat shield. But it can be shipped from Toronto in four days. Wonderful. We won’t be here.

So I call the Toyota parts centre and explain the situation. The guy puts me on hold and comes back suspiciously fast saying no dealership in the entire province has the part we need. How tf is that possible? It’s a Toyota, not a Lamborghini or Tesla. It’s the most standard car. But ok fine what can we do? Apparently the part is just a little washer to hold the rest of the stuff in place. Toyota doesn’t have the right size (anywhere in the province?????????).

Can I go to Canadian Tire across the street and pick some up? I will literally get a bag of them and gift them to you. But no. The guy on the phone says he wouldn’t recommend that. K but why? We head back to the dealership to figure this out. Sam* says we don’t even need the part we can just toss the heat shield. I’m not a mechanic, but that does not sound safe or legit in any way.

There’s an independent mechanic down the road so we sneak over for a second opinion. It is absolutely no surprise to me when the guy comes out with the correct size washers that are otherwise a rarity and impossible to get if you’re a Toyota dealership, apparently. This must be the only washer in all of Manitoba.

He’s happy to do it, but getting at the shield would involve removing a bunch of other parts and he says we don’t actually need it. We then contact Dad’s mechanic in Ontario who agrees.

Since we’ve now had three identical opinions… I’m willing to believe them and take the chance. It doesn’t sound like we really have an affordable/efficient option anyway. Pray to your god/goddess for us please.

It’s removed and tossed in the back of our car.

If you know about cars and want to confirm/deny the claim that our car won’t explode without this intact… would appreciate.

As Sam* is giving us the bill he proudly states “we didn’t charge you for the instalment because we didn’t do it.”
Like… yeah dude. That’s generally how the exchange of money for services works. But thank you. Our last conversation with him goes something like this:

“Okay sweet, so we’ll just keep this part in the trunk and hope we can find somewhere with the right sized washers at some point?”

“Oh yeah, you can get it…”

He catches himself and realizes he’s made a mistake.

“…anywhere. It’s a…”

He can’t stop mid-sentence, so he just looks at us awkwardly and finishes his thought.

“really standard part.”

Bruh. What? A minute ago no one in all the land of Manitoba has access to them. It’s pretty clear to me now that they just didn’t really feel like fixing it. But if we don’t need it then I don’t care. It would be splendid if we could leave now.

We still have to go get the windshield fixed at a different shop down the street.

We don’t get very far before a very small bump in the road brings the glove compartment tumbling down and now it’s permanently hanging open. This is just the kind of day we’re having. It’s loose and won’t stay closed. Back to Toyota we go.

Sam* gets someone to fix it, and it only takes a few minutes. I guess whoever worked on the car just didn’t reinstall it properly. If we had discovered this on the way to work tomorrow morning, I wouldn’t have thought it was as funny. But it’s definitely funny. Sometimes you just have to accept and survive days where nothing is going your way.

*(name changed so he doesn’t get fired if anyone at Toyota reads this.)

I’m trying this new thing. If you liked what you read and want to say ‘thanks for sharing your life struggles so I can have a good laugh’, you can shout me a virtual tea to calm my soul!

6 thoughts on “Canada: The Only Car Part in All of Manitoba

  1. I checked with Steve. He doesn’t recognize that particular heat shield, but it is most likely only there to protect things under the car for excessive heat. The only thing he can think of is that you might not want to park on dry grass after driving for a long time, in case the grass catches fire. I think you’re okay. And keep up the tales! I love adventures like this!

    Liked by 2 people

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