Cars can sense two things: when you get paid and when you are about to take a road trip. In my case this week it was the later of the two.
With talk of long distance driving and time on the open road Clyde (my car) began to dwell on the five hours of driving and started getting nervous. The thought of being stuck on a freeway surrounded by bad drivers began to make him shudder and the next thing I knew, I was struck with the knowledge of a leaky master cylinder.
While I had important plans that included a list of things such as painting my nails and digging out my bathing suit I instead found myself on Charleston Boulevard, in hopes to introducing Clyde to Charlie’s Import Auto Repair, an auto shop destined to prepare Clyde for his upcoming adventure.
While Charleston Blvd. sparks a multitude of ill memories for me, I was happy to set aside my bias and give the shop an audition and from the moment I pulled into the parking lot, which was packed with cars, I was rest assured that Clyde would be taken care of. What provided this reassurance of the garage you may ask, well, from my experience, a busy parking lot and the need to search for a parking spot at an auto shop is usually a supporting sign that the shop is not only knowledgeable but credible as well.
After a quick look I was saddened to find out that driving with such a problem would not be a smart choice, however thanks to a proactive and up front staff, I was told that the part had already been ordered, would be in after lunchtime and they would be sure to have me on the road with a new master cylinder in time for my trip.
After grabbing some breakfast and heading back to the auto shop I handed over the keys and formally introduced Clyde to Charlie. The two bonded immediately and for the next two hours Clyde relaxed in the open bay of Charlie’s Import Auto as mechanics massaged and hammered sense into Clyde with a new master cylinder.
While Clyde received his brake makeover, I sat patiently in the waiting room, book in hand, trying to decipher the breakdown of specific smells of an auto shop; one part oil, two parts grease, a dash of rubber all simmered in sunlight until the signature smell is achieved.
Suddenly a moment of fear took over, as Clyde pulled up in front of the shop looking distraught and sounding like a rice burner. Panic-stricken I demanded to know the source of this sound. Assuring me that it had nothing to do with what they had worked on the mechanic led my car back into the garage and hoisted it up into the air. I was called over to look under the vehicle at a broken weld that was vulnerably exposed, causing the car to sound like a drag racing menace. Despite my attempt to withhold my discomfort, the mechanic read my facial expression and immediately held his hand to his chest, swearing on his own skin that it had absolutely nothing to do with anything he had done while replacing the master cylinder and offered to re-weld the piece for a mere $30. I graciously accepted and was quite pleased that they had gone a step farther to take my car back into the shop to locate the problem and offer to fix it immediately, on the spot.
With no more brake problems or leaks and sound returning to normal my car pulled back in front of the waiting room doors, ready to take off.
I made my way into the driver’s seat of my car and asked Clyde if he was all set for our road trip together and his engine purred an automotive translation; “Let’s do this!”