Car trouble over the past few weeks has consumed me. Having to rely on others for transportation, learning to drive a stick shift (sad, I know.) and just trying to coordinate schedules when there are two people sharing one car is a HUGE pain, but it sort of works itself out. The biggest surprise has been my experience working with a mechanic who sent me to the Dealer. What mechanic sends work AWAY from their business? Looking back, this situation segued nicely with some life lessons we should all be reminded of now and again. Let me back up and tell the story from the beginning.
I’ve been having some dashboard lights going on in my car recently. I took the car to an auto shop to get checked out. They said everything was fine. Took the car home, the lights come back on, wash, rinse, repeat. In fact, I took my car back to the same auto shop three times!!! Each time they told me it was nothing. I was doing the same thing over and over expecting a different result.
Lesson one: If you keep trying the same thing, you’re going to get the same results. Try something different if you want something else to happen.
Two weeks ago, I take the car to a mechanic who specializes in my make of vehicle. He tries a few things out, then tells me if the car isn’t running funny the lights are nothing to worry about. But he gives me a warning, “as soon as your gas mileage changes or the car doesn’t seem right, call me!” Well guess what happened one week after I took the car to him? I took it back. Insanity, right? Not exactly…the lights were still on, but the car started to act funny – pardon my lack of proper mechanical terminology – but it sounded like my car was going to explode when it was in idle. I take the car immediately back to the mechanic.
Lesson two: Know what red flags you need to be watching for…and when you find one, DO SOMETHING ABOUT IT! Don’t wait, act!
Mechanic spends several hours trying to figure out what’s wrong with the car. Calls me and tells me he has no idea. He’s stumped. He actually recommends I take the car to the dealer. I’ve NEVER had a private mechanic recommend I take a car to the dealer.
Lesson three: Know when to give up. There is no shame in admitting you’re stumped or don’t have the answers.
So I take the car to the dealer. The dealer gives me an estimate for repairs. I get detail from the dealer on exactly what they think is wrong. I call back the specialty mechanic and ask him if the dealer sounds like they’re legit. I also ask him if he wants the work. He tells me the dealer is legit in the diagnosis, and he doesn’t want to do the work because it’s outside his area of expertise.
Lesson four: Check your sources when you feel like something might be “off.”
AND lesson five: Know when something is outside your area of expertise and communicate that to the person you’re trying to help.
Picked up the car today…and it purrs like a kitten! So who gets my future business – the original auto shop, the mechanic or the dealer? Well, as much as I loved my old auto shop, the mechanic is taking this one. Not only did he try to help me (without charging me when he couldn’t find/fix the problem) he let me know when he couldn’t help me AND he sent me to the place that could. Because of his actions, I’ll remember him as someone I WANT to do business with in the future.
Lesson six: Honestly and integrity will always win in the end.