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Attitude adjustments about car repairs

June 19, 2013
Fort Myers Beach Bulletin, Fort Myers Beach Observer

Cars were invented to serve us, not to be a burden on us. But sometimes they are a burden. When they need to have money spent on them for maintenance or repairs, we are disappointed, or even angry about it. We need an attitude adjustment, and I don't mean going to happy hour at the local pub. That might adjust your attitude, or it might just give you one. Let's explore another option.

Many of us think our government should be here to serve us, rather than us serving it. However, many of us love the memory of President John Kennedy, who told us to not ask what government could do for us, but what we could do for our government. Bingo. All you have to do is ask yourself what you can do for your car (for a change), and your attitude is adjusted. It's a miracle, and it would be unpatriotic to do otherwise. JFK would be proud of your selfless attitude.

Now that you've loosened your purse strings and decided to spend some money on the car, where do you start? (Don't falter now. Remember that JFK said you had to do it.) There is a way to use a little money now to drastically cut your total expense over the lifetime of the car.

Two things need to happen, and you can kill both birds with one stone (with apologies to the Audubon Society). You need to take care of preventive maintenance services, and you need to locate a repair facility that you can trust with the more extensive repairs. Some things are inevitable, like car repairs, and maybe also death and taxes. Failing to do preventive maintenance will guarantee to cause breakdowns, and breakdowns will happen, even with preventive maintenance being done. When breakdowns happen, the worst part for you is the emotional trauma of dealing with repair people who you don't know. If you haven't found a shop that you like beforehand, finding one while you are in a bind is extra traumatic. If you already have a relationship with a shop, it takes a huge load off. Bouncing around from shop to shop, getting estimates after a breakdown, or making a guess and settling for the wrong shop can cost you extra money that could have been saved by going to the right shop first. Here's how to kill those two birds. Pick up a big rock. No, just kidding. No birds will be harmed in the following scenario, I swear.

Get your preventive stuff (oil changes, tire rotation, wipers, belts, hoses, etc.) done by various fully qualified repair shops rather than by discount quickies. Repair shops charge a little more for the services, but your car will be inspected by master mechanics rather than by guys who were flipping burgers yesterday. Many problems can be headed off if noticed early by someone who knows what to look for, and these people are worth more. Meanwhile you are inspecting each of the shops to see which ones you like the best. Then when the stuff hits the fan, you already know where you're going to take that fan to get it cleaned (so to speak). The peace of mind will be worth it.

If you're a liberal, you were probably thrilled by the above logic. If, however, you are more like me, and don't think we were put here to serve our governments, you can take a more conservative attitude about this, and take care of your equipment because it makes economic sense to do so. It will be cheaper in the long run. Save divergent attitudes for happy hour.



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