After a serious winter with lots of driving, I was not too surprised to see my power steering fail on a day where I was about to take the car to the well established Titan Garage Zuerich (Badenerstrasse 527, Zuerich) anyway. There were a number of occassions where the car was caught in heavy snow or sliding on icy roads as unavoidable consequence of winter travel, and as cautious as one may drive, one wonders how the car holds up. Turns out it doesn't.
A Mini Cooper with a failing power steering is serious business. With two hands, this thing is impossible to steer then. With one hand, no freaking way. So I tweaked my way back into getting that power steering back up luckily - and asked the dispatch person to also check what was wrong there, and if possible, to please fix it.
Later the dispatch person called and said according to the mechanic nothing was wrong.
I told him to assume that I was to 100% relying on that power steering and to make sure they replace all parts that they would see responsible. He said the cost would be ridiculous and I told him, yes sure, but an accident would be even more ridiculous, and far more so after the car had been repaired by the Titan Garage and word would get out they may have overlooked damage.
The dispatch guy said he perfectly understood "the situation" and he then investigated the options. As it turned out, BMW Munich sponsored all the hardware, and somehow must have told the Titan Garage people to not charge too much - I ended up with a ~ 1300 CHF bill and a new power steering unit, which took them two days to do.
Maybe the mechanic was upset that he had to replace a power steering for what he understood was "no reason" at all and by and large, Titan Garage ended up carrying out a repair job they did not like to do. At the end, the plastic cover that sits underneath the steering wheel on both sides had damaged clips and so it would hang down onto my knees.
It is unheard of for a premium brand like BMW or Mini to hand over a crapped out plastic cover some mechanic was too angry to handle. Looks like he broke the plastic clips and could not be bothered to fix it. Normally something no self respecting specialist would like to be caught doing - but it does take a disabled customer for them to show their real face. In fact, I do make the experience that a considerable number of people tell me their absolutely non-conformant and non-acceptable views about this, that, everyone and whatnot - thinking I am some undifferentiated naive container of sorts that acceptingly nods head and goes "Yessum" or "Yes Sir". So, real face, defaced, the end of an illusion once again.
At any rate, I brought it up next time around. The dispatch guy said "they were ""sorry"" and they would "fix" it". He said he "would """order""" parts" in. I called him later to check what he had "ordered" in. He never "called back" after that.
So I fixed it myself. Here is a Becker hand / Centri PVC glove (useful and ugly) holding my power drill for my proof of concept photo.
First, I glued the part into position using double sided sticky tape. Then I used a metal hole strip and some nice sturdy wood screws, here the strip in place already with 1 screw.
At the end, I had mounted the plastic part back into position with two metal hole strips.
This illustrates the difficulties one could get with people that do not fully understand disability related risks and that do not act fair towards all customers alike. However, this was just a minor glitch in their professionalism - i.e., they somehow think it is cool to let the customer's car look bad.
The main thing was that BMW Munich was very generous to sponsor the parts and Titan Garage fixed the steering for an affordable fee. I am happy about that.
Otherwise, though, I can recommend the Titan Garage - particularly if you are not using a car with disability related modifications or related risk issues. If you are, however, be sure to get a Becker hand and a power drill to clean up after these guys, or whatever it takes for you - they could leave you with a bit of a mess. I don't think it is a particular type of discrimination - it is part of the generally discriminating experiences that I make and as that it does not stand out too much.
And for everyone else, always remember: Respect is the ultimate currency (Dalton Russell, movie character in Inside Man, 2006).
Keywords: Mini Cooper Mini Garage Titan Garage Behinderung Behindert Amputation Behindertenfahrzeug Umbau Lenksäule Plastikabdeckung Disability Disabled Amputee Steering Power Steering Discrimination Diskriminierung Beschädigung Damage Repair Reparatur Servolenkung Lenkung Plastik Abdeckung Gehäuse Housing Screws Schrauben