Car Repairs Aren’t Easy When You Have MS

Ed Tobias avatar

by Ed Tobias |

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I love the car I drive, but I’ve hated going to the dealer to get my car serviced.

In the four decades that I’ve lived with MS, my walking has deteriorated to the point where I use a scooter if I have to walk more than 75 feet. If I do walk, I need to use two canes and wear a Bioness L300 Go electric stimulator to counter my foot drop.

My problem at the dealership has been two-fold. Firstly, standing at the service counter to fill out paperwork takes a toll. Then, I need to walk about 50 feet and climb six stairs to reach the service department’s waiting room.

I could use my travel scooter and ride up a ramp, but getting the scooter in and out of the car and using it for such a short distance is a nuisance. It’s good for me to walk a little once in a while, but it certainly isn’t easy.

So, after buying a Lincoln for the first time, I was delighted to discover that Lincoln offers a free loaner car with — get this — pickup and delivery included. The service is available to all owners and lessees of 2017 or newer models.

It wasn’t a slam-dunk, however. The first time I tried to use the service, the person making my appointment wasn’t aware of it, and it was more trouble than it was worth to find someone who was. I took my car to the dealer, walked, and then waited for it the old-fashioned way.

But I also used the time waiting to locate the appropriate person at the dealer. That made all the difference the next time I needed the service.

A much better car service experience

When I made my next appointment, I was armed with the name and phone extension of the person who arranges loaner cars and knows about what Lincoln calls its “Concierge Service.” It required only a five-minute call and my license and insurance information.

“We’ll bring a loaner to you,” I was told. “It’ll be there at 9:15 Tuesday morning, and the driver will text you when he’s on the way.”

He did. Ten minutes later, the driver was handing me a single piece of paper to sign and the keys to the car. Then, off he went with mine. The reverse process took place the next day. Very slick.

Now, I know I’m very fortunate to be able to afford a Lincoln. But this type of service could, and should, be available to anyone with a mobility disability. What would it take for people with a handicap to lobby all of the car dealers we use to do the same thing that Lincoln is doing? It seems as if the good publicity this would generate would offset the small cost of this type of service.

Another kind of door-to-door service

Many people with a handicap have trouble getting to medical appointments. They may not have access to a car, and sometimes, mass transit may not be available to them.

A couple of years ago, I wrote about a company called Circulation, now called ModivCare. It’s among several businesses, including Roundtrip and Kaizen Health, that use web technology to coordinate patients, healthcare providers, and transit services. A patient is picked up, taken to a medical office, and returned home. Medicare, Medicaid, and some private insurance companies may pay the cost of the rides. Some of these ride-coordination companies have forged associations with Lyft and Uber to obtain discounts.

If you’re missing healthcare appointments because of a transportation problem, you should look into these services. Also, it couldn’t hurt to ask the person who services your car about pickup services.

You’re invited to visit my personal blog at www.themswire.com.

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Note: Multiple Sclerosis News Today is strictly a news and information website about the disease. It does not provide medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. This content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this website. The opinions expressed in this column are not those of Multiple Sclerosis News Today or its parent company, BioNews, and are intended to spark discussion about issues pertaining to multiple sclerosis.

Comments

Carolyn Meehan avatar

Carolyn Meehan

Ed needs to find an auto mechanic that works out of his home garage and has been doing it for 40 years. My mechanic is named Don. He works seven days a week. Each time I go he checks everything. He’s much cheaper than a dealer. He will even drive me home and drive the vehicle back when he’s done. He also buys really old cars and totally repairs them, then sells them. If you have a new Lincoln it may not be an option. Carolyn

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Ed Tobias avatar

Ed Tobias

You're right, Carolyn. The Lincoln is leased and under warranty, which is why I'm using the dealer. Do you know a mechanic like you describe in the Maryland suburbs NW of Wash, DC? I have a 2004 Toyota that could use a mechanic like Don.

Ed

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John Connor avatar

John Connor

Oh dear Ed,
In the UK I've got u beaten 2-0 [that's a proper footie ref!].
The Motability scheme means everything like this is done for u!
And fortunately for our other car[s] one of my neighbor's runs a motor repair service from his home! We're mates - despite having diametrically opposed political views. He used to run a Rolls Royce garage and [heavy name drop] services one of Quean's [the band] many cars.
JC x

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