When I started up the car after grocery shopping, it was noticeably louder than its usual throaty growl. But when the muffler started dragging along, it sounded like the wrath of God on wheels. There was no ignoring the problem. My wife and I needed to do something about the car.
As it happened, it was due for an oil change anyway, so I made an appointment at the Meineke shop around the corner from my house. I figured that I would get a quote on muffler replacement while I got the oil changed (with coupons, they are one of the cheapest places around for basic oil changes). So I called up and the shop’s owner, Bob, answered and set me up for the next day.
I took my car in just after they opened for business. As I waited for the service to be done, I watched another customer come in. She was an elderly lady with an accent and from my eavesdropping, it wasn’t her first time coming there for car repairs. She told them the problem (brakes, if I remember right) and the owner asked if she’d like a ride back to her house while they fixed it. She said that she would appreciate that, so another employee drove her home.
A few minutes later, Bob came up to talk to me about the muffler quote. It was very reasonable, but I had a question or two.
“The car has served us well and it’s still relatively low on miles for being twenty years old, but my wife and I are thinking about selling it and getting something that handles Michigan winters a bit better,” I said. “What would you suggest?”
“What are you looking at?” he asked me.
“We were thinking about a Mazda CX-5 or a Suburu CrossTrek.”
“Hmm,” he hummed. “You don’t really want my opinion.”
“Well, now I definitely do,” I said.
So we chatted about the pros and cons of new vehicles. He gave me his thoughts about different brands and how expensive they are to maintain. And he shared with me what he thought about fixing and selling the muffler-less car that was on his hoist getting the oil changed.
“If you are going to sell it,” he said, “you may not even need to fix the muffler. There aren’t many cars out there for sale in the price range that your car would go for, and the type of person that would buy it would probably want to save the money and fix it themselves. But if you decided to keep it, give me a call and I’ll fix it for you.”
He reiterated the quoted price and I paid for my oil change.
My wife and I are still gathering info on buying a new car, but it is good to know that I have an honest mechanic in my corner for whatever car we’re driving.
If you live in the West Michigan area and you need some car work done, consider the Meineke in Wyoming, MI (2139 28th Street SW, Wyoming, MI 49519). The owner’s name is Bob and he’ll treat you right.
After the fact edit – My wife and I did decide to get the muffler fixed (or put on, as you can’t fix something that isn’t there anymore). I just left Meineke and I’m impressed all over again with their service and attention. If you ever need car work done and you’re looking for an honest shop with your best interests at heart, call Bob at the Wyoming Meineke. He and his crew are awesome.