Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Without giving it a lot of thought, I recently discovered that I am, or have become, the world's biggest skeptic. As I've aged, I've been overcome by this belief that people are inherently out to screw you over. Now, let's understand that this clearly doesn't span all across the board, but I repeatedly find myself questioning things that are "too good to be true".

Such as today's car repair.

I received a call just 10 minutes ago saying my car was finished. The shop was fast about it, the owner called me himself, said it was ready for pick-up and even offered to stay late if I needed.


He installed the parts I already owned, instead of marked-up parts from his own shop. His mechanics clearly didn't need to spend a lot of time working on it, since the total was $80. Including installing the new ball joint and compliance bushing. So let's say, worst case, an hour.

This for something the dealership was charging WAY more for: $256 for the ball joint, $334 for the compliance bushing. Even if we remove the cost of the parts ($38 for the ball joint, $14 for the compliance bushing), we're still looking at $538 in labor.

In the same mouthful, the mechanic told me not to change the other compliance bushing unless it's actually torn. The crack wasn't going to affect performance, and there's no reason to pay the $60 he'd charge to change it.

Say what?

$60 to change a $14 compliance bushing. Honda? $334.

Pardon me while I violently beat my head against my desktop.

Now, I'm going to very honestly concede that I am, and have been, an idiot. Since owning my car, it has always gone to the dealership. For two reasons. One, is that it was on warranty, so it makes sense. The other, is because I had heard a lot of stories of sketchy mechanics, using used parts, charging way too much and not actually doing the work. So I thought that the dealership would be more reputable, since Honda backs them.

In reality, the dealership is gouging its clients. And without hesitation, will recommend you change, swap and fix anything with the slightest bit of "wear", as a means of recouping costs. As people say, the money is made on the service, not the vehicle.

Now, in my mind, the reality must be that this $80 mechanic is screwing me. Maybe he just kept my new parts and left the old ones in there? $80 to not actually do any work?? Especially since I'd called another private mechanic and it was still $240 for a compliance bushing. Yes, cheaper, but still not $80. And again, while the part was supplied in the $240 quote, it's still a $14 part!

I'm prepped and ready to head back to the shop and inspect that car top to bottom. Everywhere. Because I just can't believe it. I can't.


I'm stoked. Assuming this is actually what it's supposed to be, I've just carved off a huge chunk off my expenses.

And I feel about 1000 times better.

My mentor made a comment that perhaps karma was playing against me, or that I couldn't handle the stresses of my car. Thus, the failure for us to repair it by ourselves.

This statement irritated me a lot initially. "Karma" has no reason to cause such strife in my life. I've been a good, diligent citizen, I treat people well, do the best for my animals and while I haven't been the best at saving $$, I certainly could be worse.

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