I’m in love with my mechanic

I’m currently sitting in a coffee shop waiting for my car to to get motor mounts put in. I don’t have any idea what a motor mount is or why it should cost half a pay-check to put in, but apparently when your car has over 160,000 miles, these mounts need to retire into a car-part Active Adult Community. So Tony and his guys are looking at it. 

Tony is indeed, the man. 

The Subie awaits some new motor mounts

I met this guy when we moved to Tempe five years ago. I needed work done on the car and I realized that we have everything within a skateboard ride: Trader Joe’s, a used clothing store for kids, a great bookstore, every ethnic food option you could think of (including three Mexican spots), three coffee shops, and the list goes on. Why not find a mechanic from which I could just walk home? So I turned to Google and found a place right on the corner that got 4 out of 5 stars in their reviews. What? A mechanic shop that rates better than most tourist destinations? 

Do you ever hear of people liking their mechanic?! 

It really became love when I took it in for a dreaded “check engine” light scare. I knew that shops routinely charge 80-100 bucks for just plugging in the contraption that then tells you what horrible expensive fix you need to do. So, as much as I was starting to trust Tony, I decided to go to a car part place where they do the plug-in contraption for free. After they kindly printed out a four page list of the thousands of things it could be, I drove across the street to Tony’s.

160K miles worth of some good Road Trippin’…

After explaining the issue he motioned for me to follow him outside. 

“I bet’cha it’s your gas cap, Joey,” he said. 

Sure enough, it was a bit loose. After telling me it would be about $15 to fix and then we’d check the light, I thought “OK, that’s pretty cool. He just passed up an easy $80: I like this guy.” So while he swapped that out and changed the oil, I jumped on my skateboard to head home. About an hour later I get a call:

“Joey, hey man, I’m really sorry.” Here it comes… “I know I told you that part was going to be $15.” Don’t drag it out, dude. Just hit me with it. “It actually came out to $17. Is that alright? And the “check engine” light doesn’t come on so you’re good.”

What?! $17?! This is an outrage… I mean, yeah, that’ll work. 

And this kept happening: he’d quote us something and it’d come back cheaper. After the first couple fixes where I called other shops just to compare pricing, even his quotes were better. I stopped calling other people. I sent friends and family to Tony for stuff that other shops would say “sorry, only the dealer can fix that.” Tony would have it done in two hours. One time he sent me to Discount Tire because he knew we could get a better set of tires there for cheaper than he could get them. Once we were headed out of town on a road trip and a part they had just put on failed (we couldn’t steer; not good) and he felt awful even though it had nothing to do with him or his guys work. Our car was up on the rack before I left the shop and we were on the road in less than an hour and he didn’t charge us a dime. 

My other Subie…

Even now: we visit the Phoenix area every month or two so I religiously take it back to Tony. He knows our car and us. He’s in our circle. And shouldn’t he be? We live in a car-centric city where we see him at least 4-5 times a year for brakes and oil changes. That’s more than we see some family members… Speaking of brakes and oil, we trust him to take care of our family: I’m putting our safety into his hands pretty much every day, knowing that he’s letting me know why that squeaking is important to fix or the suggestion that maybe your motor will fall out if you don’t get new mounts. 

So here’s to Tony. And to the tears I know I’ll shed when it just doesn’t make sense to drive two hours for an oil change. 

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