Saturday, December 11, 2010

Who Needs Money and Time When You Can Have Tires and Brakes?

I hate car repairs and auto service centers.

A little background: my dad repaired cars in his ‘spare time’ and although it was a hobby, he was good enough to be a pro. I learned from him and used to do much of my own routine maintenance and helped him do more involved repairs on my cars. That was all long before automotive computerization and my subscriptions to Consumer Reports. Now I have to trust auto centers and/or local mechanics. The two repair shops I do trust have inconvenient locations and aren’t open on weekends, my only ‘spare time’.

My car needs tires and a brake job before I begin my holiday road trip and today, a Saturday, my only free day before the trip, I am at the mercy of a well-known tire and auto repair store with a convenient location and Saturday hours.

Here is one part I hate: I did my research, chose my tire brand and model, hunted online for a dealer, found one and … they don’t have the tires I wanted and can’t get them till Friday, the price was higher than expected anyway and their specs don’t match those in the Consumer Reports report. So, as has happened virtually every time I have purchased tires during my entire adult life, I have made a decision based on a sales pitch.

Here is one part I like: My car was the exact make and model I wanted when I bought it and has been even more reliable than Consumer Reports indicated. In fact, this is the first time I’ve spent more than $100 on any one service visit. Not bad for the 65,000 miles I have put on the car.

OK, so it took me 20 minutes to walk to this Dunkin Donuts, write the first draft of this post and drink my coffee. What can I do for the rest of my 3-hour wait?

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