Look, Direct Capital listed this blog at #16 of the 50 Top Automotive blogs!!

16. Don’t Get Wrenched

Don’t Get Wrenched is a site designed to help auto repair customers know as much as possible about auto repair so that they can protect themselves from costly repair costs. Archives date back to January 2011 and feature the knowledge of Elayne Kling, owner of a downtown Manhattan auto repair shop for 20 years. She especially loves sharing her wisdom and helping women and men learn how to handle repair shops and become more informed customers.

Three posts we like from Don’t Get Wrenched:

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Hold on to your catalytic converters and I mean that literally. In the past month we have seen 4 vehicles that have had theirs cut off. Catalytic converters have platinum in them and therefore they are worth some money in the salvage market. Here in Brooklyn thieves are going around and cutting them off. Customers return to their cars after parking them overnight, start them up and are blasted by the cacophony of an exhaustless vehicle.

missing cat

Cats are expensive as well and insurance companies will pay a claim on this theft, minus your deductible, but they love to go online and get the cheapest price for the lowest quality and pay out that rate. In most cases I don’t recommend the cheap cats because they’ve been known to last for only a brief period and they are needed to pass state inspections so you’ll need one to last long term.

There isn’t even anything we can do to help customers mitigate this in the future, a pipe is easy to cut away with the right tools. So the best you can do is to be aware of where you are parking your vehicle. If it looks sketchy at all, move on.

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To Sell or Not

I’m constantly being asked this question and while I’ve addressed this before, I’m happy to rehash it again. “When should I get rid of my old car and buy a new one?” Now many websites love to go over this and they have a very technical view of the whole thing but mine is much simpler. WHEN YOU CAN AFFORD ONE.

If you haven’t guessed by now, I am a very practical person and not a very sentimental one. I’m not one of those people who names my cars or holds onto them because they have some sentimental value to me.
They are tools to be used to get me from one place to another and hopefully be comfortable while doing so, period.
To me a newer Jeep is better than an older one.


My advice is to do the math. If the amount of money you are spending on your car is starting to equal what you could spend on a newer one (don’t forget to factor in the amount you will gain by selling the old one), my advice would be to get a newer one. If you are so in love with your car that you can’t give it up (believe me there are plenty of you out there) then by all means, dump all your life savings into it, but don’t come crying to me when you’re broken down on the side of the road without a dime to your name. I know that sounds harsh but so many people endlessly spend money on “Edwina” because she’s a part of the family.  I’m sorry, NO. 

Oh and if you have a classic car then ignore all of the above. Go ahead and
dump some money into that, up to a point, we need to preserve as many of those
as possible.

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Adding new fuel to my low opinion of many auto repair shops, this lovely news showed up today:

Michigan Car Repair Shop Owner Says He Will Turn Away Openly Gay Customers … And That’s Legal

It almost makes me want to make the headline

Brooklyn Car Repair Shop Owner Says She Will Only Service Openly Gay Customers.

But of course that’s just as ridiculous.

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Here’s an email I got from a woman who knows she got the proverbial shaft but persisted and ended up with a good outcome!  Let her be an inspiration!
Good afternoon,
I saw your blog post about the treatment of women in repair shops. I would like to offer my story about my RV experience. I am married but my husband is military and the non custodial parent of the RV.
I purchased a an RV in July 2014. I drove it away from the dealer with 703 miles on the odometer. After my first and only major adventure, I called the dealer and said the steering wheel is off center considerably and it is awkward to drive like that. The dealers service response “well you didn’t tell us about it during the sales inspection so there’s nothing we can do” so I kindly responded “I did not get the chance to drive it until after the inspection.” The dealer service then informed me that I must have a hit a pot hole or bump and knocked it out of alignment, I needed to have it aligned, they don’t do that, bye now. It took multiple phone calls to find a garage able to perform the service. In November 2014 with approximately 1,975 miles on the RV, I took it to a heavy duty garage to correct the steering wheel being off center and and had an alignment done. I then parked the RV in the storage lot for the winter.
After reading the reviews and positive impressions of a particular Steering Stabilizer, I decided to have one installed. I ordered the part over-the-phone on March 16 to be installed on March 31. I was told that it would increase the handling of the RV and make the driving a little less loose. After they installed it, I drove away and immediately noticed it was pulling A LOT to the left and the steering wheel was off center AGAIN. I take it back and ask for an adjustment, the tech says he can adjust again but he already did it once and the RV must be out of alignment. I kindly explained that there was just an alignment done 50 miles ago and when I initially handed him the keys the steering wheel was straight, the only modification in this scenario was him and the installation of the stabilizer. As I’m waiting for him to look at it, I spoke to the garage that did the alignment and the technicians at the stabilizer manufacturer, both indicated it sounded like something in the stabilizer needed adjustment and it takes patience. The technician proceeded to tell me that he was not going to keep adjusting the stabilizer just because I thought something he did was wrong and that if the garage did not guarantee their alignment work then it was not his fault. He seemed to imply that I, a woman, could not possibly know if it was installed correctly. In the middle of the store, I am having a heated discussion with the technician who refused to continue to make the adjustments necessary to the installation of the product. I turned around mid sentence and left.
A few days later I spoke with customer service of the stabilizer manufacturer and she indicated that it sounded as though the technician did not have the patience to correctly install it. She suggested an authorized dealer install it, I brought it to one and  I explained that I recently had another shop install it and that the steering wheel was off center now and pulling slightly. The mechanic test drove the RV, removed and reinstalled it, test drove it again, made a few adjustments, test drove, and returned the RV to me with a straight wheel, no pulling and no need for an alignment. The mechanic was much nicer, recognized the problem immediately and corrected it.
I hate not having a repair shop I could trust for the coach and the chassis. There has not been an experience yet where I feel that I was treated the same as a man who came in with the same problem would be treated. I complained to the head office of the original shop, they half-heartedly apologized and offered a minuscule refund of the installation fee. I explained that as a direct result of his lazy technician, I had to miss a day of work, drive over 200 miles, and pay another garage to correct their mistake.
Sorry for the long email but I appreciate knowing that I’m not crazy in the way I am treated.
Thank you,
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After this crazy winter, there is an abundance of pot holes out there. Here in NYC it’s particularly bad but I’m going to guess that’s true in many locales. Last night while driving through Manhattan I noticed that cars are not rushing to get through those yellow lights like they normally do and that’s smart. I’m going to consider this post as just a public service reminder…DRIVE SLOW!

In the past couple of weeks we have changed numerous struts, strut mounts, axle shafts, tie rods, etc. I know it’s difficult to avoid some of these, I’ve rammed though many myself. Sometimes you don’t even notice them until you’re right on top of them, but this type of work can be quite costly so let me repeat….DRIVE SLOW!

yellow light

Honestly, I think I’m just writing this to myself, my son is constantly telling me to, “Slow down, Jeff Gordon!”. So if you’d like to fork over some of your funds to me and my fellow repair shop owners then go for it but otherwise….DRIVE SLOW!


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Snowed In

It’s winter, it’s cold and there are mounds of snow on the ground. I’m sitting here in my office (which btw, is cold, in this business we’re not like normal people with nice warm offices) and I’m listening to one of my suppliers talking to my partner.  They’re discussing how slow it is because in NYC people don’t really need to move their cars when alternate side street parking has been suspended due to the snow on the ground.  This particular vendor is telling him how certain shops are not as “slow” because almost every vehicle that comes in for a small problem are being sold many parts that they don’t need.  Of course I find this surprising and shocking….HA! NOT IN THE LEAST!


Let me just keep this warning simple, if you go to a repair shop and are being told that you need an alternator, battery AND a starter, chances are you’re being taken. Will I say that this never happens, no, it can happen but it’s very rare. If that happens then do your due diligence, have them show you each item and have them explain how it’s failing. Of course an experienced BS’er will have an answer for everything, but the more you ask and the more knowledgeable you are the less you will be taken for a ride.

This works in every aspect of your life, be nice, be calm, but be very inquisitive and don’t be satisfied until it’s explained to your liking.


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