An Auto Mechanic Who Makes House Calls
A Driveway Rescue
When was the last time you heard of a doctor making house calls, yet alone a mechanic?
I recently was truly rescued in my own driveway by a local mechanic who makes house calls.
My previously trouble-free vehicle all of a sudden one day refused to start after turning over fine even the previous day. It made robust sounds at trying to crank, but the engine would not fire up. Crisis! Not my old dependable Taurus Wagon!
I had been driving around on the same tank of gas for a week, so bad gas seemed unlikely. Besides, the car hadn't sputtered at all. The battery was new and checked OK with a volt meter.
The budget being tight these days, I enlisted the help of my boyfriend, who is quite adept mechanically and has much better tools than I do. He suggests I buy a Chilton's manual and we begin in-depth troubleshooting. We locate the fuel pump inertia switch, which turns off in event of a collision, but it had not been activated. We further eliminate fuses and a relay in the electrical system as a problem. We replace the fuel filter, which did not show evidence of being plugged up.
The car does not start that day. It is stuck in the driveway and I have no towing insurance. So I sign up with AAA, which provides one free tow per year, plus mileage. I get the tow truck out to the car and, surprise! it starts right up. The tow driver says "No problem" and leaves without payment.
All is OK for three days and then the same thing occurs: the car won't start.
Car Repairs on a Shoestring
Now, having eliminated other causes, it appears to be either a lack of spark to the cylinders or the fuel pump is not working. My boyfriend has not the tools for these issues.
I get estimates from $800 to $600 based on fuel pump replacement. I choose a local mechanic with an A+ rating by the Better Business Bureau, then on a lark call a mechanic a friend had said does car repair house calls. "No tow?" I ask this mechanic on the phone. "No, I'll bring my tools out", he replies.
So my house-call mechanic comes out, diagnoses the problem as the fuel pump and tells me he can come back tomorrow to change it out. I have to go fetch the part, but he even has a discount at a parts store I can go to the next day on the bus.
I verify with my mechanic again that he can actually lower the gas tank, with gas, and replace the fuel pump residing inside of it while the car is in situ in the driveway. "No problem," he says.
So the next day, accompanied by his small back dog, he returns with his tool laden SUV. It is a cold Colorado day, so he puts down a carpet remnant on the cement and has at it. Meanwhile, I am playing with Sparky, who I immediately rename "Spark Plug" after his owner. My house-call mechanic completes the job in about 1 hour and the car fires up energetically.
So for a little over 1/2 the lowest quoted price and without towing, the car is repaired right in my driveway!
And thus, I met the only mechanic willing to do a difficult auto repair on a house call!