the secret society of car repair people
I wish I understood
what makes an automobile go. When a car starts sputtering and acting up, I am,
like thousands of other people with poor mechanical aptitude, at the mercy of
garage mechanics, an elite society, mostly men, who share a mystical reverence
for the combustible engine. I bet they even have a secret handshake.
They are keenly aware of their
superiority over those who are ignorant of a car's inner workings. This puts them
in the driver's seat, so to speak, when a good car suddenly goes bad.
The trick is to get rid of a car when it's on its
last wheels, before you sink a lot of money into repairs. I learned
this the hard way with an old 1986 Cadillac Sedan DeVille I used
to drive several years ago. I had purchased it, used, in good condition
and paid cash for it back in 1993. It served me well for about six
years. But then one day -- exactly a week after I spent $1,400 to
repair it -- smoke began to emanate from the hood of the car and
even the dashboard as my husband and I were driving home from church.
It smelled like burning rubber and wires, the electrical incense
of a car paying homage to a fallen deity. We had to make an instant
decision: Pump more money into it or put it out to pasture. My husband
deftly maneuvered it into a CarMax parking lot, and we traded it
in for a used 1996 Mercury Sable right on the spot.
Lesson learned: Don't invest more money
on repairs than a car is worth. It might only last another week.
me as I relive recent car experiences, and determine if you would have followed
the same routes that I took. But before we move onto the next car purchase, answer