The guy drove in with a 1978 Cad Seville, and I knew I was in trouble. I’m probably the only guy for a hundred miles who still works on these pieces of crap, so whenever one of my fellow automotive artists gets a call on one, they send it here. The conversation usually follows the same path as it did today after my usual ‘personable’ greeting.
“Yea, how much to check this out,” the short heavy set guy asks, leaning on his door with an irritated look.
“It all depends on what kind of problem you’re having with it,” I answer, knowing he’s probably been all over town, hence the irritation.
“It stalls constantly once it’s warmed up, and the brake pedal goes to the floor before the damn thing stops,” Unhappy Cad answers disgustedly.
“There’s a couple of ways you can go on this, Sir. The first is to dump this now before you put another dime in it, which is what I recommend, or pay me to check it out and give you an astronomical fee to fix it,” I answer truthfully.
“I’m not getting rid of it,” Mr. Cad retorts angrily. “I just spent almost two grand getting the transmission fixed. How much to do the diagnostic?”
I tell him, and he’s stunned. I’ve done more of these than I care to say, and I know the weak spots intimately. The parts are practically non-existent, but I still have a few internet resources supplying parts for the beast. It will take me at least the two hours I charge to confirm what’s wrong and get him a credible estimate. If Unhappy thinks he’s stunned now, wait till I give him the figure for fixing it.
“I’ve already had it checked out,” Mr. Cad argues, assuming I just fell off the produce truck yesterday. “It just needs a tune and rear brakes.”
“I would suggest you take it back to the shop where someone arrived at that conclusion and pay them to fix it,” I reply ‘personably’. :)
He’s stuck, and we both know it.
“Look,” I reason, after a moment’s uneasy silence, “cut your losses and dump this car. It’s a black hole for money. When I check it out, I will invariably find more than you ever wanted to know about what’s wrong with it.”
“I was offered three thousand for it,” Unhappy thinks I’ll care.
“Take it, did you save the buyer’s number?” I prompted him, because I don’t care.
“I’ll get it checked out somewhere else,” Mr. Cad states, slipping back into the driver’s seat. “You’re too expensive.”
Yea, but I was personable, I’m thinking as he backs out. If I’m good this weekend, and I say my prayers, maybe he won’t be in next week. :)