"Yeah right. I'm gonna get my car repaired at a dealership. Ha! Why don't I just flush my money down the toilet." - George Costanza
Planning to be on the road last weekend, I took my car to the dealership to get it checked out. Just routine maintenance, or so I thought. Oh, and the last three girls I had in my car had complained about the lack of production from my AC, so I asked them to check that out, too.
A couple hours later, I get a call at work. "Mister Bone, this is Will Skrooyoo from the service department. The estimate on your car comes to one thousand seventeen dollars and sixty-seven cents. You need a new compressor. I just need your OK to go ahead and order the parts."
First of all, I like how they always throw that sixty-seven cents in there. Really, would it hurt to round down? Is that gonna put you in the red?
I told them to not do anything. That I would think about it. When I arrived to pick up my car, I had another surprise waiting. The 875-point vehicle inspection had supposedly turned up bad front and rear brakes. The estimate on those? Another $500.
Now I enjoy throwing $1500 around as much as the next guy, but I decided to call an independent mechanic. Just for kicks. I ended up renting a car for the weekend. It was last minute so I could only choose from a silver Mazda 6 or a PT Cruiser. Please tell me you don't think I would have actually chosen the PT Cruiser.
Even though I've lived here for about a year, I haven't used a mechanic here yet. But I had one in mind. Mom had taken her car there and the place is always overflowing witih business. So I called him. He said if I needed a new compressor, he could put one in for $800. I decided I'd rather give my money to him than to the dealership which had sold me the car less than a year ago.
I took my car in this past Tuesday. And also told him to check the brakes. He called me an hour or so later. And said that as far as he could tell, my compressor was working, but that it had too much freon in it. He recommended draining it and putting two cans in and said he'd do that for $80.
He said, and I agreed, it wouldn't hurt to try that. If it worked, it'd save me a whole lot of money. If it didn't, he'd count that towards the cost of a new compressor. He also said I did need front brakes, which he'd do for $110, but that my rear brakes were fine.
I was almost certain I didn't need rear brakes. I didn't have them put on my truck, which I bought new, until around 150,000 miles. My car only has 68,000 miles. This guy seems to be honest. I mean he had an estimate from the dealership in his hand. He could have easily called me and said that's what it was and made himself $800. But he didn't.
So far so good with the AC. It seems to be working much better. I'm keeping my fingers crossed. Now I just have to find something to do with this extra one thousand three hundred twenty-seven dollars. And sixty-seven cents.
Who can find a virtuous mechanic? For his price is far above rubies.
"We got a safe in the trunk with money in a stack. Queens guys in the front and Brooklyn in the back..."