Serial Killers on the Loose 

This article is a true and accurate account of a ruthless serial killer who preyed on local vehicles during the late '90s and early 2000's. A tale of rampant homicidal and psychological vehicular terror right here in our own little town!

To get right to the story, one of our infamous one time customers ("I got your number from an old friend" — right - Hannibal Lechter?), we will refer to him as code name Ear Hole, due to the relocation of certain body parts and their contents to his head.

The car, a five year old Chevy Lumina, named Lizzy came in on the hook. It was for all intents and purposes slightly beyond DOA, its very desire to transport had been ruthlessly and systematically drained and torn from every joint and circuit.

The tow truck had to be treated for depression before it could leave the parking lot.

Lizzy’s fluids were a service mans nightmare of abuse, the oil was somewhere between mud puddle and roofing tar, what was left of the antifreeze came out in a vile wisp of steam. None of the body panels had escaped the torture, the windows had been tinted nicotine yellow and the interior décor was a visual and aromatic explosion of July noon landfill with a crisp under current of sweat sock sauce. Her once snappy, responsive computer module mind had been reduced to a freaked out mass of failure codes, check engine lights, ABS shutdowns and neglected service reminders.

We called the District Attorney, Auto Maintenance Police and Social Services immediately. Ear Hole showed up about an hour later, claiming the lemon law as his defense. He is currently serving five to ten for attempted vehicular homicide. Lizzy has been relocated to Union City as a Lawn Ornament.

The Moral: Don't be an "Earhole" take care of your "Lizzy"!

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Finger Walking 
One of my ongoing jobs, now that I’m not actively involved in the nuts and bolts of auto repair as I once was, is dealing with the many phone situations that arise in this business.

Without doubt the most common, that gets assigned to me, is the “phone shopper”. This is usually not a current or regular customer, but someone who has been told by someone else that they need a certain repair and how much it will cost, and just like me upon finding out how much a jar of peanut butter or a pair of kids sneakers costs the aura of disbelief creeps over them and a healthy pink complexion begins to turn violent purple.

At this point the fingers start doing the walking to find out just how much this job should really cost!! The problem here is that unlike a jar of peanut butter, prices may vary drastically for a water pump repair between different makes, models and engine sizes.

Also, does that price include the fluids necessary to complete the job properly or the testing required to be sure that a water pump is even what is needed to solve the problem?

Probably the biggest danger is that there are places out there that will tell people whatever they want to hear (low price), just to get them in the door, then call them back later with the real cost involved.

My advice to people calling for prices on the phone is that the cheapest price you get by calling is probably the last place you want to take your car for repairs.

You need to find someone you can trust, who uses good quality parts and has well trained, capable technicians to perform the repair. Your car is a high speed family transportation unit—you can let your fingers do the walking but use your head to make those critical repair decisions.


Love Advice: Hold tight, close eyes, touch lips, be true.

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Car Expense or Expensive Car? 
Broke? Out of work? Down sized? Pay cut.

Lots of phrases out there now that are showing up in conversations everywhere. Many people are suffering the effects of this down economy and realistically the end doesn't appear to be right around any corners I can see. Even those of us who have dodged the bullet so far have become much more cautious spenders.

One of the most significant areas to save is on our vehicle expense.

I like to listen to Dave Ramsey on my way home from the YMCA at night. He gives good advice to people in financial trouble. The first step is to develop a budget - where your money comes from and where does it go, the wake up call is you can't spend more than you earn (don't tell that to anyone in government).

Where most people go wrong is their vehicles expense. Getting out from under burdening car payments can be the first step to making the numbers balance.

In my business I am seeing more and more people unloading expensive, high end vehicles for more practical used cars that they can pay cash for.

The key is to find decent, dependable replacements for those pricey budget breakers. Always be sure to get that used car thoroughly checked out BEFORE YOU SIGN THE PAPERS.

You don't want to buy a nightmare, but there are plenty of good values out there and we would be more than glad to help you find one. If your situation is more stable and your thinking new car, it may be a wise decision to back up a few years and find a low mileage car with some warranty left at about half the price. Play it smart and be a financial survivor. gb

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