I decided to take a 4 day weekend due to my 28th birthday today. It is the first time off I have had since September. Part of my yearly routine around my birthday is to get my cars registered and inspected, just like millions of others in the USA. It also becomes an important lesson on why it is important to shop around.
Seeing that one of my cars is just 10 months old, for the first time that I can remember I had no anxiety about a car passing inspection. That was easy. The other car, the recently paid off 2002 Subaru Forester, is another story. It is starting to show its age but seems like it is in overall good shape. The Forester passed inspection fine, but the garage I had brought it to (Firestone) said that I would probably need new struts real soon, which costs $1300.
Given that they weren’t necessary to pass inspection, I passed on getting the struts replaced right there. I knew I had to shop around and just get an idea if that is a good price. I wasn’t even thinking at that point whether I actually needed the struts replaced.
One thing I haven’t found since I moved to Manchester, NH is a car garage that I could trust. Looking around online and asking some friends, I stumbled across Brutus Auto Repair & Service. I gave them a ring and the nice guy on the phone told me to bring the car in today and he will take a peak.
I am so glad I shopped around. He put the car on the lift, showed me what he could see. He said he saw no reason to replace the struts right now, the back struts look in excellent shape for their age and the front ones could go at least another year. Firestone lied to me. Right there, he saved me $1300.
What he did see is I should probably get new front brakes soon as they are close to being worn out. He said it was close enough that he could see an argument for the brakes failing inspection. Looking at them and him showing me the various parts of the brakes, for the first time I felt comfortable with a car garage in Manchester, as he clearly explained what was wrong with the brakes. While it would cost several hundred dollars to replace the brakes, given that I once lost my brakes before, I wasn’t taking any chances with that. Plus they were probably the original brakes on an 8 year old car, they are probably about due for replacement in any case. I signed up for the work to be done on Friday. He also is going to fix an annoying loud rattle I could hear when the car accelerates.
Lesson is, always shop around and find someone you can trust.