I needed some work done on my 13 year old truck, and so the search for a trustworthy mechanic began. It feels like an impossible task most of the time, though I’ve gotten lucky and had good mechanics in the past. Mostly good, anyway, though why none of them fixed my windshield wiper gives me a headache, now that I know how easy it is. (Thanks Rich!)

Anyway, I finally decided on a mechanic.

Found by: searching the internets using the google to find reviews. I wanted something not too horribly far away from me that people seemed to trust. I didn’t have anyone to ask in person, because my coworkers live way far from me, and my fellow condo dwellers are people I know only in passing, and never think to ask about car maintenance. The other people I know locally are not especially local either.

The reviews were good. One guy wasn’t happy with them, but just normal stuff from what I could tell, nothing that really sent red flags up.

Initial impression: mostly good. Friendly on the phone, but sort of confused me by not caring why I wanted to drop my truck off or what might be wrong with it. I mean, how do they schedule the right number of cars if they think they’re doing an oil change only to find out that they have to rebuild an engine? Okay, I didn’t need my engine rebuilt, but they had some detective work to do…

First visit: I wasn’t thrilled with the form I had to fill out to drop off my key, and the fact that I needed to pre-authorize them to do work that I didn’t have an estimate on. But I did it anyway, hoping for the best. When I didn’t hear from them by noon, I called, and they hadn’t looked at it. When I called at 4, still having heard nothing, I was told they were “still looking at it” and they couldn’t seem to give me any information on when they’d finish even though they close at 5. They called at 4:30 to say that I could come pick up the truck, that they’d fixed one of the issues, but that I’d need to bring it back later, with less gas in the tank. (Leaky gas tank, so this was mostly valid.) Mostly I felt that they had crappy communication, and that they hadn’t looked at my truck until the last minute, and that was the real reason I had to bring my truck back. However the bill for what they did fix was quite cheap – $27 to fix the ambiguous rattling, which turned out to be heat shields needing securing. (space shuttle or ford ranger, you decide!)

So I made an appointment for this week to take care of the leaky gas tank.

Second Impression: Sort of better. They called by 10am this time, but to tell me that it wasn’t the seals as they’d thought last week (I sort of forgive them for this, since I know damn well they didn’t look at it last week. However this meant that they caused me twice as much aggravation with the whole renting a car and dropping off my truck, etc), it was some stupidly expensive part. I looked it up online after, and they’re giving me a fair quote for the part. The labor though seems outrageous.

Plus even though this work should take a maximum of 3 hours (thanks, Rich, for looking it up!), and even though they knew at 10am on Tuesday what was needed, they told me they’d “probably” not be able to finish it until the next day. Great. Another $40 for a car for another day.

Final review: they called by 11am Wednesday to tell me that the truck was ready. When I picked it up, the price was a tiny bit higher than quoted for the P&L. The part was a tad cheaper, the labor taking up the balance. I’m bad at things like grilling people over the things I should be grilling them over, so I did not ask how long it took them exactly. From my perspective, I don’t care. Either they’re charging an absolutely ridiculous amount hourly (and that is comparing to NYC prices, which is the only price I have available at the moment), or they are incompetent and it took them at least twice as long to do the job as it “should have”. Also they didn’t do the safety inspection (required yearly by this state) that I had requested they do.

That’s okay – I’ll take it to a gas station for the safety inspection. Same price regardless, and less hassle and wasted time to have it done at the gas station.

I actually went back and reviewed some old bills from the past few years, back when I had mechanics I didn’t think were cheating me. Funny how much work they were able to do in a small amount of time.

I’m missing my Denver mechanics something fierce. Even if they didn’t fix my windshield wiper. Next time something needs fixing I’ll be researching mechanics yet again. And probably complaining about it just as much!

I know, I know, that was fascinating, wasn’t it?

chick at ps

Three things for Wednesday:

  1. I did a lot of my “most important tasks”, which felt good.
  2. My truck is fixed, assuming the gas tank no longer leaks. I’ll find out soon!
  3. Fun but perplexing flirtiness with PB at work.