Terlingua Dreams

Terlingua Dreams
Governors Landing Campground - Lake Amistad - Del Rio, Texas

Friday, August 19, 2011

Are there any trustworthy mechanics?

When my father was alive he always took care of servicing the family vehicles.  By that I mean he took them to the dealer or the dealt directly with the mechanic, as he had no mechanical knowledge.  When dad could no longer take care of that a friend of the family referred us to our current mechanic. A man we have been doing business with for about 15 years.

He is expensive but does all the work himself, which is something I liked.  I don’t like having to pay high wages so they can turn around and use “helpers” whom they pay minimum wage to.

His shop was well located about half a block from the international bridge.  He had customers from both Mexico and the US.  About 3 years ago Homeland Security decided to close down this busy street so they could built the new international bridge station.  The people in historic South Del Rio protested since there was now only one outlet and you had to take a 4.1 mile detour.  Homeland Security promised them a new street and to this day they are still waiting.

As expected this pretty much cut his business in half if not more.  People from big cities might not think much of driving an extra four miles to a dead end street but in a small town that is too much.  That is why I would think he would value his loyal customers.

 I had my mom’s car towed there on Tuesday and I did not hear from him until today.  Said her car is old and parts are not readily available anymore.  He had to replace some part 4 times but they did not work as they were used.  So he had to order a new part, which he was able to find in New York but it had to be paid for in advance plus shipping.  He quoted me a price and said he wanted me to come down and look at other things that were wrong with the vehicle ( like I would really know).

Mom and I went and when I asked him how much we needed to write the check out for to cover the part plus shipping and handling he quoted us another price!!  Then he asked if we could pay for the other parts he had already installed and his labor.  Is this legal or for that matter ethical?  I can see paying for the part he needs to order but he has not even fixed the car and wants money up front?  I was fit to be tied but I want him to do a good job and giving him a piece of my mind would not have been prudent.

To add insult to injury he said he would be by this afternoon to start up my dad’s old car, which he said could easily be fixed if the carburetor was replaced.  Hello???  If that was all it needed why in the heck has he not done it in all these years?   He called the parts store and they told him that they no longer make parts for that vehicle!!   Do I believe this man?  Guess he would just rather come out and get the car started at $50.00 a pop. 

I guess this mechanic is on Terlingua time because he never made it and didn’t even bother to call.  While I am not a betting woman, I would be willing to bet that he ran to my mother’s bank to cash her check.  Like Ben in Texas would say, GRRRRRRRRR!!!!!

Ok, I will get off my soapbox now.

Good night.  Terlingua Dreams.


  1. When a small auto service business is on it's last leg, cash flow is low, prepayment is often requested to make ends meet. This is common in the small auto service trades.

    Replacing parts is some times called "poke and hope". "Let's poke a brand spank'n new part on there and hope it works". Such as the carburetor on your dad's old car. How did your mechanic know it needed replaced with out first "check'n it out"? I would be skeptical to his diagnosis....but then, what can a woman do in a mans world?

    Your mechanic may be reliable and a trusted friend, but it seems he is struggling...at your expense. But don't feel alone little girl, most small service businesses are struggling to make ends meet.

    Good luck with all the repairs.

  2. Our mechanic "was" reliable but a trusted friend he has never been. He was referred to us by a trusted family friend.

    This guy is not hurting for money. His shop is in the back of his house that as luck would have it was a heavily transited street before it was cut off from the international bridge.

    He is in his late 60's or early 70's and his kids are always telling him to close his shop and retire. He tells us he does not do it for the money but to keep busy. His wife also works.

    Would look for another mechanic but believe it or not he is actually the cream of the crop by comparison.

  3. The reason he said it was the carburetor is because he has worked on dad's old car for years. I have to call him every three or four months when I can't get the car started so he can perform his magic.

    I should mention that he really does not like to work on his car and has suggested on several occasions that we need to sell it. If he were a hurting mechanic he would be glad for the extra work.


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