Penny Wise

I received this email the oter day from Jonathan Williams, the Gohst Writer, which put a big smile on my face. I am, as I am sure you are guilty of doing the same from time to time. Here it is:

“Penny Wise

A couple years back, to save money, I hired a mobile mechanic to replace my Acura’s clutch.

I went with a guy who had decent online ratings and was also the cousin of a buddy of mine.

The cousin/mechanic was very nice, but I soon realized that he had never replaced a clutch on an Acura before when he admitted that he had watched a YouTube video for part of the procedure.


During the repair, he ran into some issues, which delayed getting my car fixed. He also left a few rust stains on the driveway when he failed to put paper under some of the parts.

After having to come back and re-cinch some parts of my car back together, he finally installed the new clutch, and it’s worked great ever since.

But after that, other things with my car started to go awry.

First, my car’s cooling fan failed, which caused the radiator to overheat, which in turn caused the radiator to fail.

I hired him to fix the fan and replace the radiator.

And then, the connection to my starter started coming loose, which he sort of fixed, though it would later start coming loose after my car had been driven for a while.

Not long after all this, we sold our house and moved across the country. During that drive, the radiator he installed ended up having a leak, or maybe it had developed a leak earlier, but either way, my car started to heat up during a record heat wave.

To keep the car from overheating, I drove with the heater on (to draw heat from the engine), which worked but made driving absolutely miserable thanks to the 115 degree heat in many places that summer.

Eventually, while stopped at a Walmart parking lot in South Dakota, I discovered that the radiator was empty due to the slow leak and that all I needed to do was to top it off every morning.

In the end, I replaced the radiator (twice) and the fan, and I eventually got my loose starter connection fixed. All told, I probably spent over $1500 on repairs and parts. Maybe more.

Now, did that mechanic cause those subsequent issues? It’s hard to say, but I suspect that the expenses and trouble I later encountered more than made up for any money I had saved by using him.

Were I to do it again, I would have just taken my car to a good shop, paid the higher price for the new clutch, and then been done with the repairs.

Lesson: don’t be penny-wise and pound-foolish. Hire the right help the first time and save yourself from trouble down the road (pun intended).”>
Sent: October 31, 2022 2:44 PM