Save money by knowing your car

By Staff Writer
March 21, 2002

Calling out to all my fellow car owners! I want to warn you about the next time you take your good ol’ car to the shop to get that dreaded inspection. Beware of few mechanics you may run into that want to rid you of every hard earned penny.

Over spring break I decided to finally break down and take my car to the shop because the squealing noise my breaks were making was causing me quite a few stares and I was afraid I might get pulled over for disturbing the peace. I like to call myself independent so I convinced my dad that I could take my precious ’93 Geo Storm to the mechanic myself.

After dropping my car off, the nice man behind the desk assured me that he would be able to have it done that day and he would give me a call to give me an estimate after he took a look under my car. Now I’d just like to let you know that I am not totally clueless when it comes to my car. I am proud to say that I can change my oil, fill my windshield washer fluid and put air in my tires but when Glenn at Monro Brake and Muffler called me a few hours later and started talking about break shoes, ball joints and an $800 bill, my head began to spin. I got hot flashes and thought I was going to puke. All I could get out was, “OK.”

That night I went with my father to pick up my car and was reminded that my inspection was due that month. After listening to the laundry list of other things that were wrong with my car that needed to be fixed in order to pass inspection, my bill was going to surpass the cost of my car. Feeling angered, upset and desperately wanting a better car than the hunk of junk I had on my hands I drove home.

I immediately realized that my steering wheel was sideways, and even I know that it’s not supposed to be like that. My father decided to take my piece of crap Geo for an inspection the next day to the mechanics that we usually go to and to have my alignment looked at.

If you’ve ever heard “Click and Clack” on NPR radio you can imagine what these two mechanics are like. They have taken care of our cars for years but were unable to take my car until my father called them with our little emergency. Being the nice guys that they are they took my car in right away. The diagnosis: “YOU GOT SCREWED!” The previous mechanics hadn’t done even half the work I had been charged for. I got one, instead of two break shoes on each side and no oil change amongst other things here and there.

After being threatened in many different ways the manager of Monro came to the shop to look at my car and admitted that the work had not been done. We are awaiting a refund and have reported them to the Better Business Bureau.

The moral of the story is to know your car and what has been fixed in the past and what may need to be done in the future. Go to a mechanic you can trust and will explain why certain things need to be done. If you’re a girl, realize that you may be taken advantage of because of it and make your dad or boyfriend go with you to drop off your car. Lastly, don’t be afraid to get a second opinion. It’s your car and your money. If you have a weird feeling or think that the price is way to steep say “thanks for your time but I’m going somewhere else.”

If you want to get more info on approved mechanics or learn more about car care go to or

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Staff Writer

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