Classically Trained

Many of our new customers have classic cars and are sent to us through other classic car owners. Classic car owners usually come with tales of woe about how the mechanic they’ve been using either is unable to fix something or just unwilling. Although it is essentially much simpler repairing a classic car, getting parts for it can be a real struggle. When classic car owners first come in and question our expertise here’s what I tell them. They may have a trustworthy mechanic whom they feel comfortable with and he may be able to repair their car but what they don’t get is ME.

Now I’m not just tooting my own horn here (although many will tell you I’m not shy about doing that) the truth is, getting “me” is VERY valuable. Mechanics in general tend not to have much patience for investigating every available outlet for parts. They want to get the easiest thing available and install it. I, on the other hand who am not a mechanic, excels at scouring incessantly. It’s what I do, I enjoy it. When I built my house, I had a contractor to do the house structure but I found just about everything inside of it for the cheapest possible price.

I would find a fixture I liked, then search and search AND search, sometimes just to save $5, but I would FIND it. I do the same with auto parts. My mechanics get frustrated because they will have to wait for a part I’ve sourced for less. They will say “it’s not even your money, why do you care so much?”, I just can’t help it, I do. I will exhaust every resource from phone calls to ebay to every parts manufacturer for my customers.
Having Me is not only about the parts, there can be warranty items that need to be addressed or there can be repairs that pertain only to specific vehicles that need to be investigated. Mechanics will buy expensive computer equipment to diagnose issues. Some of those we don’t even have because we have me. I often argue with our Snap-On rep when he tries to sell me these things. He’ll pull out diagnostic equipment and we’ll race to see who can solve the issue first. If I don’t win, I usually tie. If I do lose, I will also state caveats that I’ve discovered that he has no access to on that computer.

A friend of mine edits my blog posts for me and I can just hear him now while he reads this. “What is the point of this post, to blow your own horn? How does this help anyone?”. The answer is I’m not really sure, I guess I just want you to see the inner workings of repair shops. I want you to understand why your mechanic gets grumpy when you ask him to do some further investigation it’s because there’s no “me”. If possible find a mechanic where there is a version of me to help you. But if you can’t find that then at the very least ask a lot of questions and see if you there’s a way for you to have a little bit of “me” in you. Good luck with that!

Editor’s note: Behind every great blogger is an editor.


About dontgetwrenched

Elayne Kling, was the owner of a downtown Manhattan auto repair shop for 25 years and recently in Williamsburg, Brooklyn, Elayne knows the particular ins and outs of the auto repair world and keeps up her blog because people will always need help navigating the potential pitfalls of that world. Due to the crazy NYC real estate market she has since closed down her shop and started a new business called Projects Unlimited Inc., helping other small businesses.
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