Monday, February 21, 2011

A Girl's Dreaded Mission: Finding the Right Garage

Since I've owned my first car (which was when I was 19-a 1987 Dodge Shadow), I've always been concerned about finding the right garage and the right mechanic.  I think as a woman, there are a lot of companies out there that are more than willing to take advantage of a woman.  Now I admit, I don't know a lot about cars.  I have in the past changed my own oil, changed my oil filter, changed a tire, boosted my battery, and can sometimes tell what the issue is.  But honestly, my knowledge is limited, and I find that with each car I've had, I've been more and more limited with what I can do.  I have found too that as I drive more, especially commutting for work, that I've run into more issues...hence the need for a good garage.

When I lived in Portage, I went by reputation in finding my garage.  I asked around, both men and women and settled on Kitson's.  I got to know them pretty well as they were also CAA afiliated.  Never once did they make me feel stupid, inferior, and always gave me options with what needed to be fixed.  On my last Grand Prix (my beloved car in car heaven), I needed to get my breaks done.  They provided me a time schedule of when they thought for long they would last-within a couple of months, I was able to do both the front and back, at two different times. 

One of the other things that I really appreciated was they knew me by name.  While I did go in the ditch a couple of times (nothing major) when I was commuting, they knew who I was, and were open to me giving them weird instructions (like pull my car out, and leave it on the side of the road for me to get it later after school).  They understood that I worked and were open to me stopping by later.

Sometimes you find a garage by mistake or coincidence.  Hence, how I found Birtle Tire.  My first day of moving to Birtle, nobody told me that there was a ditch in front of my house-and when I tried to pull over off the road a bit for the moving truck, well, stuck.  Since then (within 2 1/2 months), they have:
  • pulled me out of the ditch (on a country road)
  • given me a boost when my plug-in quit working
  • given me a tow when my car broke down on the highway
  • fixed a wire to my alternator
  • changed my oil
  • repaired a flat tire
  • and just yesterday, pulled me out of my driveway that I was stuck in
I have never, ever used a garage so much before.  I'm beginning to feel like a real idiot, even though I'm not-I swear I'm not.  But the imporant thing is that they have been amazing-they've been there for me when I've needed them, are friendly, helpful, and care about their client's safety.  They've never once made fun of me and honestly, by now, they have reason to.  They also have great prices. 

The bottom line is that you need someone who appreciates your service and shows that you can trust them.  Maybe it's like the frog and prince scenario:  it takes a lot of kissing frogs before you meet your prince.  It's the same with a got to try a lot of garages before you meet the right one...

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