""Pity be the single lady who walketh into the mechanic shop alone."" We've all heard the old adage, but I never truly believed it until today. I mean, this is Minnesota, the land of tater tot hotdish and 10,000 mosquito-infested lakes and honest, hardworking mechanics who would never dare lie to you to turn a profit, right?
Eh... not so much.
Backstory: my brakes had been screeching for a couple weeks. Not being a complete mouth-breathing moron, and understanding how to perform a basic Google search, I quickly figured out that my brake pads probably needed replacing. Easy fix, right? I scheduled an appointment at this Meineke, simply because I found a ""50% off brake pads"" coupon online. 50% off! Hoo boy!
I brought my car in to the shop at 8:30am as requested. The mechanic was friendly enough -- said they'd take a gander at it, and let me know how much it would cost. He then disappeared into the shop, and I busied myself with reading celebrity trash magazines until he reappeared 20 minutes later with some bad news: Not only did I need new brake pads, but the specific style of my car required four hours of labor to put them on. (For the record, I drive a Hyundai Accent, not a DeLorean.)
To add insult to injury, he told me that I had copious amounts of brake fluid leaking from my rear cylinders. ""If you let this go unfixed,"" he said with stern eyes, ""your brake lines will seize up, your brake pedal will hit the floor, you won't be able to stop, and you will go careening off a bridge into the Mississippi River at 90 miles per hour, ensuring your certain death."" (That's what I heard, anyway.) From his tone of voice, I might as well have had bloody spinal fluid leaking from my ass. THIS. WAS. SERIOUS.
I asked for an estimate, and he printed one out for me -- $600 worth of labor, and over $300 in parts. And that was with the 50% off. And that, quite literally, would have been all the money I had in the world.
After bawling my eyes out for approximately 3 minutes, I composed myself and told him I needed to get a second opinion. ""Okay,"" he said, in that displeased tone your mother probably uses when you bring home a guy with neck tattoos and a 4-gauge septum piercing. ""It's your car.""
And this, friends, was my moment of salvation. Because when my regular mechanic hoisted my car up on his lift and took off my tires, he showed me: there were no leaks to be found. My brake lines were not minutes away from exploding. My cylinders were perfectly intact, my brake fluid levels were full, and the only thing I needed were two new brake pads in the front. Total cost including labor? $90. Approximately a tenth of what I would have paid at Meineke. And presto, my car runs like a wet dream once more.
In summary: Suck it, Meineke. I may wear high heels and red lipstick and not know much about cars, but I'm smart enough to get a second opinion.