Taking your car to the shop to get fixed is never a fun experience, especially for a schmuck like me who knows nothing about automobiles. I get anxiety at the thought of changing a flat tire, so having to communicate with an expert mechanic about my car problems is extra stressful. This only gets worse when I’m told what it’s going to cost me. So, for guys like me, here is how a typical trip to the mechanic goes down.
Step 1: After ignoring the loud rattling sound your car has been making for weeks, you finally decide to take it to Tom’s Auto Care down the street.
Step 2: You pull into the lot but have no idea where to park. You pick a spot and hope it’s cool.
Step 3: It’s not cool. A worker yells at you to move so that you’re not blocking other vehicles.
Step 4: You walk up to the front desk and assume the gentleman working there is Tom. You say, “Hi Tom, I’m here to get my car looked at. It’s been making this awful sound.”
Step 5: The gentleman introduces himself as Frank and hands you some forms to sign.
Step 6: Frank asks you to describe what’s wrong with your car, and after stammering for a minute you finally tell him it makes weird noises a lot and you think it’s the brakes.
Step 7: Frank informs you that they’ll check it out very shortly. Unbeknownst to you, simply “checking it out” will cost you $50.
Step 8: You head to the waiting area. It’s the grossest waiting area you’ve ever been in, equipped with greasy chairs, two magazines from 2006 and a broken vending machine.
Step 9: After a half hour, you walk out to see if your car is being worked on yet. Nope.
Step 10: You walk across the street to get some coffee in hopes that when you return your car will be miraculously fixed for cheap. Nope.
Step 11: After another half hour in the disgusting waiting area, another mechanic named Dale finally fetches you to inform you of your car’s problems.
Step 12: You find out you were right — it’s the brakes. But it’s also the shocks, the front axle, the rear tires, the fuel pump, the air filter, the radiator … and you should really replace those windshield wipers, too.
Step 13: You receive a rough estimate of $4,000 to fix everything, which is about double your car’s total value.
Step 14: You tell Dale you can’t afford that, and ask if they can just fix the brakes for now. Dale says they can do that for $400 but won’t be able to get to it until tomorrow
Step 15: You decide you don’t want to give these shady scammers your business, so you just pay them the 50 bucks for “checking it out” and leave. You will keep driving your death mobile until it completely breaks down, at which point you will cry, curse the automotive gods and be forced to use public transportation.