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I used to work as a mechanic, a long time ago when the pay was in the $8/hr range.  I know shop rate has to be about triple what the mechanic earns; I've spent time in management also.  But I have a hard time paying a $65/hr shop rate for something I can do myself, so I still do most of my own car repairs.   Our large family has found reliable and inexpensive transportation in the form of a used Cadillac funeral limousine.  Finding parts is not always easy when it involves the fact that the car was stretched by a custom shop in Texas 18 years ago.  Recent exhaust repairs were going to cost me about $150 at RockAuto.com, plus shipping, plus one custom-bent piece to traverse the stretched middle (price unknown), and probably 3 hours of cutting & fitting while lying in my driveway.  

Hhmm...  I called the shop where I'd planned to obtain the custom-bent pipe.  They had a cancellation-- I could bring the car in right now.   So my daughter went along and we dropped off the car, discussed the needed repairs with the mechanic, and took a walk over to the grocery store.  Had a wonderful morning eating breakfast at the little tables outside the coffee shop, chatting with my daughter, enjoying each other's company.  We rescued a Yellow Jacket from inside the convenience store window before the clerk could get a bee-swatter, then paid the bill for the freshly-repaired Caddy.  We stopped at a neighbor's place on the way home, saw the new calves in the barn, and then returned home-- relaxed, cheerful, knuckles intact (not bleeding from slipped wrenches) and clean.

Time involved: 2 hours 15 minutes.  Dollars involved: $153.25 to the repair shop and $10 to the grocery store & coffee shop.  It really pays to know when to "farm out' some of the work!

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Comment by Bernice Coles on June 19, 2011 at 8:24pm
Good for you. You deserve a break. Thanks for sharing.

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