Posted by: ohmypuddin | June 28, 2010

The Busted Knuckle: A Lesson in Going Local

A couple weeks ago I took my car into the dealership to get a 60,000 mile tuneup. This is a pretty normal service, so I expected to pay a couple hundred dollars maybe, but no more. The dealership called me and told me I also needed to replace a drive belt and a timing belt. I asked what the total cost for all of the work would be. They told me $980.

Look, I don’t have a lot of experience with cars. I know very little about cars. I don’t even care what kind of car I drive, because it doesn’t matter to me. It’s merely a mode of transportation, nothing more. So I put money into my car to keep it running, so I can drive it for as long as possible. I’ve had my car for 4 years, and it was new when I bought it.

Even with my limited knowledge, close to $1000 for a tuneup sounded ridiculously high. And then on the phone, the dealership tried to talk me into buying a new car instead of doing the tuneup. I said no, and not to do any work on it. I picked up my car, they tried to sell me a new car again, I said no again.

Because I know so little about cars and am not very trusting of car dealerships, I tried to find a good local car garage to take my car to. My coworker had just taken his car to the Busted Knuckle, and recommended it to me.

So I took my car there. They were very nice on the phone. Gabe called me throughout the process, letting me know what was going on. With every new thing  they found broken or needing replacement, he let me know what it was, the cost, and whether he thought it was necessary. I appreciate that. I asked him about some services that he said I didn’t need to do, which told me they’re not trying to rip me off. And even though they replaced more things than the dealership would have, the total only came out to $670. Awesome.

Plus, they have a dog!

A couple days after I picked it up, I noticed lots of weird noises. I called Busted Knuckle and Gabe said to bring it in. The automatic steering fluid cap was loose, so it was losing fluid and making noise. They refilled it, tightened the cap, drove it around. They told me what happened and then Tim asked if he could clean off my engine for me, since it had gotten covered in fluid. I asked if it would hurt the engine, and he said no, but he’d just cleaned the engine when he did the tuneup, and it bothered him that it was dirty again. So he cleaned my engine, and I went on my way.

How awesome is that? Everyone has their quirks, and his is that he hates dirty engines. So much that he couldn’t let me leave with one. And it was great service, with really friendly, knowledgeable people, who let me make decisions and advised me on what’s best for my car.

You know, we talk so much about buying food locally and eating locally, but this same concept can apply to so many things. Yes, I could take my car to the dealership, which is one of many. But they overcharge, try to hard sell me, and don’t care about their relationship with me or quality of service. Taking my car to a local garage where they charge less for labor means they’re invested in my repeat business and word-of-mouth recommendations. They want me to be able to drive my car. They understand I don’t want to pay out the ear for a tuneup, and they know that by treating me (and all customers) well, we’ll come back.

And it’s true. Because I’m so pleased with their service that I’m writing about it on my blog and maybe you’ll go or you’ll tell someone next time they ask for a garage. I wrote a review on Yelp and my husband is taking his car there for a tuneup.

Lesson learned: try to go local in all aspects of life. It’s not always the cheapest or best or most convenient, but searching for a local option can save you so much money, sanity, and peace of mind in the end.



  1. […] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Lauren W. Madrid and Lauren W. Madrid, Lauren W. Madrid. Lauren W. Madrid said: The Busted Knuckle: A Lesson in Going Local : […]

  2. Ever heard of Car Talk? They have a section for people to recommend car repair shop that are good and honest. I am surprised that your car needed timing belt at 60K. With today’s technology the belts are supposed to last around 100K (60K was the old number before they figure out how to make timing belt last longer). Furthermore, some cars, like our Maximas do not use timing belt, thus will never need that work.

    • 60k was the manufacturer’s recommendation, so that’s what I went with. What so I need Car Talk for? I just found a great garage!

  3. The key word is recommendation. Not all dealers or independent auto shops are trust worthy or good. I used a local independent auto shop to tune up my old Chevy when we lived in Ohio and he wired my choke shut.

    This is why your blog is so great. you give great recommendations

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