I drove the Miata down to the selling dealer’s other branch yesterday to change out the now year-old oil and address some minor quibbles/issues. This is a big chain dealer, so I expected it to be quick and painless.

Oh, was I in for a surprise...

The first bad omen presented itself on the drive down when the van next to me kicked a pebble up into my windshield, leaving a tiny spider crack small enough to not affect my vision, but big enough to notice. Bleh.

I made it to the dealer without any more drama and the hand-off was the smoothest I’ve ever experienced; the antithesis of the overcrowded hellhole that was the Toyota dealer who serviced my Camry. I handed the service adviser my keys and agreed to return in two hours.

Two hours came and went, which didn’t bother me because it was a Saturday and I understand I’m not the only customer in the world, though it was a little surprising the see the Miata pull into the bay at the two-hour mark. Another hour and change later, the service adviser wheeled the freshly-washed and buttoned-up Miata into the pick up area. He opened the door, stepped out, and in the seat was a puddle of dried opaque goo. It looked like a ghost jizzed in my car (hey, the Miata is that fun to drive y’know) and it was not coming off.

By now the service adviser was panicking because the plastic goo (henceforth known as “ghost jizz”) was not coming off. His little flathead could only pluck so much off the fabric and it was not helping at all.

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He hurried the car back into detailing and let them work their magic. More time passed. I had at this point read through 90% of the waiting room magazines and was just waiting for the car to be done. I had expected to be back home in my driveway at this time.

The service adviser reappeared with the Miata again, this time with a freshly laundered seat, hoping it was done to my satisfaction. Well, the seat was goo-free, but in its place were swatches where the fabric was permanently marred and I still found bits of residue they couldn’t get off. He tactfully realized that I was not satisfied and promised to order me a new seat/seat cushion assembly and, more importantly, cover the replacement cost.

Now what exactly was ghost jizz? Well, you know how mechanics wrap your seat in plastic for your sake? My car was parked in such a way so that it (and a neighbor) took the full brunt of the 100 deg. F SoCal sun with the windows and the top closed. The car was literally going from 0-100+F real quick, probably in less time than it takes to reach 100 mph from a stop, and it melted the plastic onto the fabric seat.

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We’ll find out in the coming week how the repair will go, but it’s interesting to note how my $70 oil change ballooned into something more.