I knew my car needed aligning for a while but I kept driving it as is, as I didn't know the consequences. This was my first mistake. A golden rule that everyone should follow when it comes to fixing anything or doing any kind of maintenance is to do it in the early, don't put it off till later. Things only get worse and a lot more expensive.
Back to the story, so I went and got the wheels aligned and after when I checked them, the car was still drifting to the left, it wasn't driving any different in my opinion. The guy that did the alignment told me to have my mechanic check some of the wheel parts to see if they were bad and then return to him. I did this and this is where the first lesson came. By driving my car without having it aligned... I wore out my 1 year old tire treads unevenly, the entire inside treads on both front wheels are almost non-existent. The mechanic changed the parts after confirming they were no good and the total price for parts and labor came to $463. My $99 wheel alignment has now costed me $562 or $99 x 5.7.
When I got back the car from the mechanic, I still didn't quite like how it was driving and because sometimes I have trust issues(and don't know much about cars), I decided for the first time to get a second opinion on the work that was done. That's when it turned out my mechanic didn't do a thorough job. He did change the parts which is what I paid him to do, but the parts he used weren't the correct parts as they are to long and because of that, the alignment still can't be done correctly. This was all given to me in great detail and explained very well by the new mechanic whom I had gotten the second opinion from. Just to confirm that this new mechanic was right though, I took the car back to the auto shop to get their opinion since they were going to give me a free alignment since the first one didn't work out.
Turns out the new mechanic was right on target with his analysis; with that he also landed him a new client which is me. Right now my car is off the road again and I am now paying him to correct the job my old mechanic did. I know I should have gone back to my old mechanic and have him do the job correctly, but since he didn't do it right the first time, and I am not to car savvy, I can't trust that he will do it correctly the second time. It turns out the old mechanic didn't do a thorough job either as he took shortcuts by leaving off a few "small" things I guess he didn't deem necessary, as discovered by the new mechanic. So far, the cost of correcting the job has been $216 and it could cost a little more. That brings the total cost for my initial wheel alignment from $99 to $778 or $99 x 7.9.
They are two lessons to take away from this. One is a general lesson that most people know and ignore and the other is for people who own cars, especially older ones and especially if you aren't car savvy.
- Always do maintenance as per schedule or when necessary, never put off a problem till later, it becomes more expensive to fix. This doesn't only apply maintenance as it is a very broad lesson about basically procrastination.
- Get a trusted mechanic. Period. If you are on the fence about your mechanic, get a second opinion and a third if necessary, don't worry about paying a double checking fee, it could end up saving you much more money in the future.
My expensive month just became more expensive.