Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Car Mechanic Needed!

I know. It's supposed to be Automotive Technician now. Call it whatever you want, do any of you have any recommendations for a good mechanical guy to do some work on the wife's '95 Geo Metro?

We've had this looked at twice by the dealer (I realize dealers are often the most expensive place to take your car). The latest estimate, to replace the distributor and do a "major tune- up"( dealer's words) is close to $1000.00. I'm hoping I can get the work done for less than half the dealer's estimate by getting the parts myself and having a private mechanic or shop do the work.

I have three places in mind to ask, one I've already dealt with but he makes me just a bit nervous. Any good recommendations will be considered. Eureka shops get preference.


At 2:45 PM, Blogger Hank Sims said...

First Aid For Ailing Autos in Arcata. Those dudes are straight arrows, and they understand budget limitations. They'll give you a range of options -- the cheap way, the right way, and the ridiculously cautious and complete way.

At 2:54 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

My advice is to junk the Geo and buy something safer. The Metro is a death trap. I would never let someone I love drive one.

At 6:29 PM, Blogger ΛΕΟΝΙΔΑΣ said...

If you don't mind the trip to Willow Creek there is an extremely competent and ABSOLUTELY honest mechanic there. We have done business with him and his wife for 15 years and always visit them when we visit California.
Gary and Karen Madson of Willow Creek Towing and Repair. (530) 629-3499.

At 12:18 AM, Blogger Tom Sebourn said...

You seem to have two good mechanic leads. I have found the best place to diagnose weird car problems is Dan's Auto Electric across from Broadway Cinema in Eureka. They don't rebuild engines or transmissions but have helped me twice. Once for starter problem where the starter tested good and I would turn the key and it would click several times until it would start. They fixed the problem I lived with for 4 years for less than 130 dollars.

Another problem that was blowing fuses was diagnosed by Dan's as a burnt valve. I rebuilt the head and the problem went away. I would start there.

At 12:20 AM, Blogger Tom Sebourn said...

Start at Dan's I mean. They charged me one hour of labor to diagnose the burnt valve blowing fuses problem.

At 7:29 AM, Blogger Fred said...

Hank wrote, "First Aid For Ailing Autos in Arcata."

Sound like a good shop.

Anon wrote, "The Metro is a death trap. I would never let someone I love drive one."

Good point, but it's all we have at this point. She wants a new car but I just can't see how we can afford one. If we can't fix this Metro, we may not have any choice, though.

Leonidas wrote, "If you don't mind the trip to Willow Creek..."

Car has bad axles so it probably wouldn't be a good idea to drive it that far.

Tom wrote, "Dan's Auto Electric"

Yes, I'm familiar with Dan's. That's where we go for all our auto electrical problems. Hadn't thought of them for this particular one but, since the problem seems to be electrical, maybe I should have a chat with them.

At 9:19 AM, Anonymous narration said...

Fred, it's nice to see my growing-up home still a bastion of people treating fairly and helpfully with others -- and auto repair. It was once a big thing, and might get bigger again.

I'm no expert on pricings whatsover, particularly having lived out of the country for many years, but 1000 sounded skyhigh, so looked up the price on a distributor.

A _new_ one should cost 100-150, depending on type. Surely a serviceable used one much less, and that's what a good mechanic will know how to find, if a full distributor is necessary.

Good fortune, and sounds like you've got some very good leads from the good people here. I looked up the 95 Geo Metro also, and people seem generally to love them. So maybe not such a bad car for what you use it for locally anyway, and in these times.


At 9:31 AM, Anonymous narration said...

Here's where I found the kudos for the Metro, by the way:


At 9:54 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

We go to Sounds of Silence (Casey) for repairs and use Dennis for electrical which is on the Fourth Street side with Casey's access in the alley behind. I believe Dennis is Dan's brother.

I have found that sometimes mechanics get better prices when they buy the parts.

At 10:32 AM, Blogger Fred said...

narration wrote, 1000 sounded skyhigh, so looked up the price on a distributor.
A _new_ one should cost 100-150, depending on type. Surely a serviceable used one much less

The $1000.00 quote was for the distributor, other parts and labor, which I still felt was high. I'm wondering if the distributor really needs to be replaced as I get the impression these guys just like to replace parts rather than try and fix them.

I looked and found a couple distributors at $150 and $175, but some other web sites offered them for more than even the dealer was saying he could get them for.

A lot of people love the Geo Metros because of the great gas mileage, but I'll admit I don't like the thought of being in one in an accident.

In fact, there's a Yahoo Geo Metro Group I found that has some knowledgeable folks on Metros. Some info they've gave me was potentially very helpful but the local people I've dealt with so far didn't want to use the info.


At 7:59 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I do my own work on my car, it can be an empowering experience! I have always been really good at diagnosing potential problems, and as un-American as it sounds, I fix things that are worn before they break! I found a good shop manual on CD on Ebay, and I order high quality OEM or better parts. Shops charge a lot per hour because working on cars is usually a dirty, PITA.
I wonder though, if your axles are bad,(!!!!) why you are worried about a major tune-up (which any DIYer could do)?

At 11:31 AM, Blogger Fred said...

I used to do at least some of my own auto work back in the old days of carburetors. I've been thinking of doing at least some of this work, but I don't know about the electronics and such.

I wasn't, and am not, going to take care of the axles unless we can get the starting problem fixed. The first guy that looked at the car gave us a price of $310.00 to replace both axles. Sounds fine to me but I told him I didn't see any point in doing that until I get the bigger problem fixed.


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