I got my car back from the shop today after getting a new muffler, new front rotors, new front lower ball joints, a new front sway bar (something to do with suspension), and a new oil gauge. My car (a 96' black Honda Accord EX) likes to get a lot of periodic expensive repairs like this, all at the same time, because it knows my poverty and likes to mock me for it. It also knows I love it, love it dearly, and so it likes to make me prove my love constantly, like any spoiled child (or cat). Last summer, on my very first date-date with Melissa, my car's radiator decided to meltdown in spectacular fashion on the way to the MN Zoo and pour white, venomous smoke out its hatch until Melissa was literally keeling over in the passenger seat, covering her head with my tattered car blanket.
Anyway. I have found an answer to my beloved Honda's treachery-it's my friendly local Midway mechanic and his wise, Buddha-like ways. He's a young guy, about 30, and as I learned today it's actually his father's shop, though he's taken over as manager. Their shop's been in Midway since 1986, going on almost 25 years, and the first time I went into the tiny front office I thought I'd stepped into someone's messy garage. The oil stained office was empty, and a little creepy, and I had to fight a strong urge to book it and go to some damn chain auto shop. I'm glad I didn't.
For you see, my auto Buddha is a helpful guy. You ask questions, he provides answers. You leave your car, and he calls you every few hours afterward, updating your car's health, providing possible methods of treatment. He's very calm, and even if your goddamn radiator has just melted down on a first date, you feel this calm spread through your bones as well. And, best of all, he is comparatively dirt cheap. I don't know how he and his crew do it, but they had my car in the shop for two days doing everything I listed above for under a thousand dollars. One almost gets the sense he doesn't really care how much money the shop makes off you, as long as the car is fixed properly, you're happy, and nobody was killed in a shop fire.
But that's crazy, right?
Maybe. But here's to you, Auto Buddha!