Cars break down, but wallets do not have to

Posted on 10 March 2015 by admin

Opinions Editor Livie Hall gives advice on what to do when your car breaks down




Opinions Editor

The most expensive thing a person will ever have is a house. The second is a car. As wonderful as cars are, they are nothing but a headache when something goes wrong. Some people are lucky and have a good mechanic they can trust. Some people have family members who will fix their car for free. For those who have neither of these things, the next headache comes with trying to find one or the other.
Being a younger person and being a girl puts me at a disadvantage. Unfortunately, mechanics will say whatever they can to make a sale. Like all of us, they work to make money. A 30 dollar oil change turns into 60 dollars, and who are you to argue?
Few people have gone to tech school and know everything about cars, hence why mechanics are trusted. They know this and use it to their advantage. They look at women and assume they know nothing about anything mechanical, and as misogynistic as that is, they know they can bank on the idea.
Luckily for me, I grew up in a family of mechanics. I was changing oil the day I got my car, I was handing my dad tools when he fixed motorcycles and I did inventory for him. Needless to say, I spent many weekends in his repair shop organizing gaskets, air filters and whatever else one could think of.
When I take my car to the shop, I know what is wrong and have an idea on how they should fix it. A new tension belt should run around 200 dollars and new tires can be around 400, easy.
As a college student, we are not held in the highest esteem of intelligence. The best thing you can do is try to analyze exactly what you think is wrong with the car. Is there a noise? Is it coming from the front or the back? Are your breaks going out? Is your car hard shifting out of first gear?
Use your friend, Google. Do whatever research you can before taking the car in. Walk into the shop with confidence and tell them exactly what you believe is wrong. It also is smart to call many repair shops, report the issue and get quotes on pricing.
Part of the cost will include parts and labor. This is normal, they are not lying when they say that.
When I lived at home, our family friends owned a shop and fixed our cars at very reasonable prices. Living in a new place, it is hard to find an honorable mechanic. Calvert’s Express on Manchester is my go-to. They are friendly, helpful and they do a great job.
There is no such thing as a “Johnson rod” or a “middle axle.” As frustrating as it is, all learning is done through trial and error. Learn from mistakes and use your head because you have places to go.


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