If you’re an automotive enthusiast, whether self-proclaimed or people have bestowed that honor upon you, you have inherited the time honored tradition of giving non car folk recommendations, and I refuse to do it any longer. If you’re curious as to why, read on fellow enthusiasts.
As automotive enthusiasts, we generally have people asking for our opinions ranging from the all-important new (or used) car buying decision, maintenance recommendations, “what’s that noise” question, and what brand should I buy (is more specific, tires is a good example.) These questions come at us whether we’re mechanically inclined or not. Even if people see you reading Car and Driver, most people assume you know everything. I hate this part of the job.
A little back round on myself if you haven’t read any of my other pieces; I’m an ASE certified tech, former factory certified Volkswagen Tech, and I used to work at America’s Tire. So being a professional technician, the repair questions don’t bother me as much when they’re specific and not “what’s that noise?” I do occasionally get good questions like, “I’ve got a 2012 VW Jetta and the AC smells, what is it?” Specific questions that pertain to a former job are good questions, and I’m happy to help. An example of what I hate is, “I have a POS Mitsu Outlander that makes this noise, what is it?” In this particular case, I didn’t slap the person, because she was very cute and my neighbor, and decided to help her, but regretted it because she “couldn’t afford to take care of her car.” Which brings me to the real reason why I won’t recommend anything or really offer any advice, and that’s because, people are too damn cheap and don’t take care of their cars.
The final straw came for me when my sister told me she needed tires (after I had told her over a month ago but she ignored me and decided to get tires after she took it to some cheap ass jiffy-lube-esque place.) She first asked what my discount was at work (this was when I was at America’s Tire.) She didn’t even ask if I would mind giving it to her, she just assumed, which pissed me off. I gave her a rough estimate of $500 (for 185/60/14) for good tires like Michelins (the only tires I will buy.) She then got all pissy because “that’s too much.” I then told her it was an ESTIMATE since I wasn’t at work and I would get her a price. I went to work the next day and worked with one of my salesman to put together a reasonable quote of Best (Michelin) and Better (Yokohamas) and Good (Falkens.) I then crossed the Falkens off the list because I don’t recommend cheap shit, or things I wouldn’t put on my car even if someone paid me. I then went home and tried to sell her on the Michelins I picked, Michelin Defenders which had a 90,000 mile warranty, outperformed competitors in Tire Rack’s comparison, and was the safest tire in its category. When I told her the price (around $500) she got all huffy and said. “well the shop I went to quoted me $300 something.” The Falkens with my discount were still $360, so she was obviously quoted the cheapest shit made, and I told her this, but she didn’t listen. Her boyfriend ended up paying for the Michelin’s because my Mom got pissed at my sister for being such a cheap ass and tried to explain that spending more on the Michelin’s would be beneficial for the safety, and the huge mileage warranty. It still irritated me she wouldn’t get them herself, but her, and my brother, are both cheap asses, but my sister more-so.
I’ve had more instances like this, but not as heated since they weren’t relatives. I refuse to recommend anything anymore because people are just too cheap. If someone asks for a cheap new car to buy, I recommend a VW Jetta because it’s in the same price range as a Honda Civic, and it’s not miserable. If someone needs tires, I’ll recommend Michelin’s or Yokohama’s, nothing cheaper because it ends up costing more in the long run. When it comes to brakes, I recommend brands like Akebono because they will last with Zimmerman rotors (I’ve only recommended brakes for German cars.) And every time I recommend these things, people ignore me and go the cheapest possible route, so I’m done. What about you guys?