Wednesday, August 08, 2007

Back to the Mechanic

Our car kindof took a beating during our recent trip. We've been back for a month and I kept postponing taking it to the mechanic. I like my mechanic and think he is pretty good at what he does. The problem is that so do most of the taxi drivers on the island. Whenever I go over there, there are always 3 or 4 of them milling about. What I hate is that while I am trying to talk to Roberto, the mechanic, they are crowding around, listening to every word. It is difficult enough for me to explain what is wrong with the car in Spanish let alone in front of an audience! If it is something really technical (like the fan belt is squealing) then I look it up on the internet and write down the translation. They really get a kick out of that! Roberto is always gracious and patient with me and makes sure he understands what I need. I like him.

I dropped the car off at the appointed time yesterday morning and battled my way through what needed to be done again. I had given him my list last week when I made the appointment but he had lost it! It probably got passed around amongst the taxi drivers and not returned to him! I returned at 5pm to pick it up. He had told me 4pm but I don't usually get caught in that scam anymore! Of course, he still had a bit to do. Something with a light gun to check the timing. So I joined the crowd of 7!!! taxi drivers all looking under the hood of my car.

Now don't for a minute assume that I understood a single thing that I was looking at. I'm the kind of person that needs to read the owner's manual to figure out how to roll down the windows! Roberto said something and they stood back and made room for me to view the action. It was oh so thrilling too. Some wheel going around someplace deep in the motor and a strobe light flashing on it. Maybe I should call him my disco mechanic!

The total bill came to 700 pesos and I always give him a 50 peso tip. Some people you just gotta keep happy! That's $75USD folks. It's the largest bill I have ever had there and it kindof shocked me. Then, driving home, I recounted everything that he had done and considered myself to have gotten quite a deal for the money. Here is what he did and he provided all the material:

* Changed the oil and the oil filter. Not sure how much oil and the manual is in the car so I can't check. Maybe 4 bottles?

* Changed the gas filter.

* Changed the air filter.

* Changed the spark plugs.

* Adjusted the timing and did a tune-up.

* Tightened the fan belt.

The car fairly purrs now, it is so happy. Driving downtown last night, I felt like Wayne Andretti!

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