Saturday, May 15, 2010

A Day at the Mechanic

In this view of an automobile disc brake, the ...Image via Wikipedia
I hate taking my car in for service.  Going to a place like Jiffy Lube isn't too bad because you can usually be in and out in half an hour or so.  No, I am talking about going to the mechanic to have something checked out like the exhaust system, or as in my case this morning, the brakes.

One of our cars recently started having the brakes squeak when you step on the peddle. I called the shop earlier in the week to find out how much they charge to inspect the brakes.  Fortunately, there was no charge for a brake inspection.  The shop opened at 7am this morning, and I arrived about 10 minutes before they opened.

I was first in line.  The guy took my info and keys and I proceeded to the waiting area.  They had a few cars left over from the night before.  As those cars cleared out they started bringing new cars in.  Mine was not one of them.  In fact, the two people who arrived shortly after I did had their cars in before mine.  I was starting to get pissed.  Finally, after an hour, my vehicle was pulled into a service bay.

Periodically, I would venture from my chair in the waiting room to look through the window of the service department.  I kept noticing my car on the lift with the tires off, but nobody working on it.  After about an hour of this, I headed back out to the cashier area to check on the status.  They were pretty busy, so after another half hour, the clerk finally came over to tell me what the mechanic found.

He gave me an estimate of the repairs, and it was WAY more than I could pay at this time.  I was prepared to pay about $200-300, but the estimate came in at over $600.  I told him that I could not pay that at this time so just put the tires back on and pull it around front. I watched the mechanic put the tires back on and lower the car from the lift.  For some reason, it then took them over half an hour to move the car from the bay to the front of the store.

All told, I spent over 3.5 hours at the mechanic this morning.  My brother in law knows a mechanic who has saved him a bunch of money on his car repairs.  He thinks he can probably do the job for significantly less.  This mechanic doesn't jack up the price of parts, and charges cash for his labor. We will be giving him a call on Monday.  Still, I am not above a little begging.  If anyone is so inclined and would like to donate towards my auto repair, please click the donate button.

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