In my family, I’m generally not the first person who springs to mind if an auntie needs a new shelf put up, or my dad wants a second opinion on some bathroom grouting. "Dan’s not the ‘practical sort’" is the general mantra.
So when confronted with a car mechanic, talking of faulty V-belts and worn gear box casings, my eyes tend to glaze over and I wish I could curl up into the foetal position until someone else has made the required decisions for me.
This happened last week when, just after I had paid over £100 for a seemingly innocuous dashboard light to be turned off. "That’s what it costs to plug it into the machine" was the garage’s line, which I felt unarmed to question.
However, despite their time being so preciously expensive, the repair shop had kindly found time to check over the whole of my car, and present me with a list as long as my arm of faults that needed urgent attention.
Once I got past the nausea, I said I’d think about it and hot-footed it to the exit. But, with a few long journeys planned over the next couple of weeks, I thought it best to get a second opinion and popped to a garage located further from home, but which had given me some fantastic service in the past.
The hours ticked slowly by and I waited for the thumbs-up or down phone call to arrive, frantically checked my bank balance online, and mentally totted up my (probably wildly inaccurate) guesses at the total cost.
But, to my pleasant surprise, the second mechanic remained the philosophical, logical guy I remembered.
Yes, he could see wear and tear in the places noted, but then "it’s a ten-year-old car, mate". If I wanted pads, belts and ‘bushes’ (seriously, is that a real thing?) that shone like new, then why didn’t I buy a new car each year, he reasoned.
I’m sure he would happily have taken my cash and sent the car home fitted with sparkling new parts, and obviously anything that is dangerous needs to be taken care of – one new tyre was needed, as it goes.
But I think this raises an interesting point; we’d all love treasured and/or expensive possessions to remain at their gleaming best ad infinitum. But, without bottomless pockets, isn’t functional enough?
Let me know what you think in the Does a repaired car have to be good as new? discussion