Wife: "Honey, the passenger side headlight is out on my car."

Me: "Damn. I'll call our financial guy Joe and tell him to sell off the international stock sector of our retirement portfolio."

Three months ago my wife and I were more than a little shocked when we received the bill from a reputable Sioux Falls dealership for a burned out headlight in her Buick Enclave. The total was cost (plus labor) was a jaw-dropping $401.

I called my trusted auto guy from out-of-state to make sure this was legit. He assured me that yes, indeed, it costs that much to replace the bulb. He also told me that these type of bulbs should be able to last 10 years. The bulb lasted only 3 years.

Through a little research, the type of bulb needed for this model is between $99 and $179, but requires much labor and time to get at it. Hence the giant price tag.

Last week the other headlight went out on the same vehicle.

I asked the service tech at the same dealership "aren't these bulbs suppose to last 10 years? This is the second bulb, and again, it has lasted less than 4 years." His reply was "It all depends on usage."

"You mean like driving at night?" I wanted to say. "I knew we should have gone to the matinee last week instead of using all of our headlamps for a 8:30 movie."

They cut me a small break on the second headlight. It only set me back $364 this time. I guess there's much bigger problems in the world than forking over nearly $800 in 3 months for a pair of headlamp bulbs, but it sure stings.

Perhaps the intention was to make me feel better but the tech told me that new Cadillac Escalade will run up to $1,000 for one bulb replacement because of the unique bulb and special housing.

I find myself missing the days when my dad and I could "pop" the hood, take out the burned out bulb and simply turn in a new one for a couple of bucks.

I guess those days are gone, unless anyone knows where I can find a '77 Buick Regal?


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