Thursday, September 9, 2010

Car repair: You've got a pal (UPDATED)

Posted By on Thu, Sep 9, 2010 at 12:54 PM

UPDATE, 12:54 P.M., SEPT. 9:

Not only am I not qualified to perform car repair, apparently I'm not skilled enough to even write about car repair.

A half hour after this post went up, I got an email from David Sturtz, RepairPal CEO, asking for more information about the timing belt I was looking for. We traded e-mails, and then I got this reply from chief technician Bret Bodas:

Hi Kirk,

The Nissan Sentra engines all have timing chains, not timing belts. So unless you hear abnormal noises from the front of the engine, no actions are necessary.

Please feel free to email me directly with any technical questions you have or you can ask our expert technicians and the RepairPal community of repair shops in our Q&A forum. Just click the "Ask your Question" button on our home page>>

So ... there's no reason to question RepairPal's comprehensiveness. Or, for that matter, its responsiveness.

——- ORIGINAL POST, 10:56 A.M. ——-

Many of us at the Indy have been blessed with good car-mechanic experiences. Whether we've cast our lot with Gregor or Butch, or someone else, we've generally walked away feeling satisfied, or as satisfied as you can be after having car trouble. (Those who've gone with Gregor have enjoyed the added bonus of hearing some unforgettable truisms, such as "When I'm done, this thing's gonna run like a scalded banshee.")

But those who haven't been so lucky should know about Maybe you're familiar with it already; I just learned about it in Al Tompkins' daily Poynter Institute e-mail.

Just enter the year, make and model of your car, and what is wrong with it. The site calculates what it should cost to have it fixed.

I've only spent a couple minutes on the site, and I have to say that it's not totally comprehensive; I was looking for a timing belt replacement, and couldn't find it. But there were about 100 other repairs to choose from, at least for my 10-year-old Nissan.

Use this next time and see how your mechanic measures up. If the numbers look good, then consider giving him or her the real test: Ask for some help cooking dinner on your engine.

Gregor brings his magic touch to both shocks and shrimp.
  • File photo
  • Gregor brings a certain magic to both shocks and shrimp.

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