Serving on the car repair helpline

Auto Tech

Last week I had the privilege once again of working the phone bank at Channel 41’s Call for Action free helpline for car repair. I fielded 30 calls alongside eight or nine other local shop owners who donated their expertise. This time on the phone is not a sales pitch for New Concept Auto Service or any of the local shops. We don’t even identify ourselves, but recommend a AAA-approved shop near the caller’s area.

I feel like I really helped most of the callers. Some just wanted to talk and vent a little about a shop. Most people were elderly and drove Buicks and Lincolns. There was a wide array of questions. How much would it cost to do this or that (we did not guess at pricing)? Do I really need to flush my coolant and transmission fluid at 60,000-miles (yes)? Several had concerns about the engine missing as they drive uphill or accelerate. Several “crank and no start” customers wondered where they should have their vehicle towed.

One woman called in about her 66 GMC pickup she had restored. Her throttle was sticking open, making it hard to stop. After hearing symptoms, I advised her to have a mechanic inspect the carburetor choke. Surprisingly, she said she just had a new carburetor installed. Another guy with a one-ton Dodge truck described a unique situation where his park lights would stay on even when the ignition switch was off and the keys were in hand. As I suggested several parts to inspect, he replied he had replaced them already but to no avail. It was probably a wire shorted to power somewhere, but I would have enjoyed diagnosing this one in person!

I usually asked if they have a regular shop that they trust. Sadly most either did very little maintenance or jumped from shop to shop. A few folks had their favorite shop, but just wanted a second opinion. Hopefully our time on the phone helped these people out and helped make Kansas City roads a little safer this week.

Paul in his element answering car care questions!

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