After the bad experiences that I've had dealing with moped repairs, I've developed an understandable distrust of mechanics. They have over-tightened my brakes, overfilled the oil, overcharged me, and always talked to me like I was some kind of sap. Perhaps that's why I have been so impressed with my last two repairs on my new mode of transportation, my [rusty] 2001 S10.
Last week, my engine light went off and I swung by for a free diagnostic at the local Monro Muffler. They said the secondary air injection pump had died on my S10, and it was going to cost $420 to replace (I wish I saved the invoice to show you). I said, "What's that going to do if I run with it, cut down on my gas mileage?" "Pretty much" was his response, and he said I could run it indefinitely with the problem. My truck only dropped to 20 miles per gallon, and seeing as I only drive about 80 miles per week, it wasn't really worth repairing.
Later in the week, the engine didn't seem just right, so I made a call to Frank, a retired mechanic in Byron Center who is the relative of a church friend. Frank and his son Sam replaced the clutch a little while back for a few hundred dollars less than the local brick and mortar shops were charging, so I returned to them for the repair.
While the diagnostic machine confirmed that the the pump was the current problem, Sam looked from the top and the bottom of the truck to see where all the pipes and wires were going and the current condition. To the Monro mechanics, the signal that the air pump was out was enough to replace it completely.
Sam gave me a call a short while after I had left to let me know the air pump was perfectly fine – rather the wire connected to the electric pump was broken due to corrosion.
He replaced the wire and cleaned off the corrosion. The simple fix worked perfectly. As Frank has said in the past, "I don't replace anything that doesn't need fixing." I could have had Monro replace the pump and pay $420, but instead I wound up paying $55 for the parts and labor.
I owe Frank and Sam a big thanks for saving me over $600 on the last two repairs made to my truck. Unless my engine is about to explode while out of town, I refuse to go to a different mechanic. It feels good knowing that I can go to a mechanic that I can trust, and talks to me like a human being.
If you need to have something fixed on your ride, I'll give you their number!