Honest Mechanics
in This Here City of Sacramento, California

It's hard trying to find an honest mechanic. There's just so many ways of suckering you on a car. Some of the places that I hear good stuff about, I also hear bad stuff, so take your chances and let me know who you like/hate.

I got a job working on limey cars because it was killing me trying to find an honest mechanic. I didn't know much about cars, so I went through ARC's greasemonkey school. I ended up quitting my job and working on limey cars. Rolls Royce, Land Rovers, Alpines, MGs and Morris Minors. Mostly, I mopped the floor and got handed jobs no one else wanted to do. It's nice knowing where to pound on a Rolls Royce with a hammer, and I can say if I owned a British car, I wouldn't take it to back to the shop I worked at.

I watched the shop owner, my boss, screw over an old guy who brought in his green Morris convertible 8 months before he needed it. He was old and wanted to drive it one last time at a St. Patrick's Day Parade. My boss let the car sit until the week of the parade. He had me install another engine. I said "this flywheel isn't right". The owner didn't believe me, tried to force the engine in, and broke the fly wheel in two. Then he did a crappy job of welding the fly wheel to "fix" it. I think he had to weld it 3 times. The old guy's Morris died a day later because the fuel pump went out. My boss drove by, ignored the old guy, and left him sitting on the side of the road. The old guy called the day before the parade, described the problem, and it was obviously the fuel pump. I told my boss I'd go to the old guy's house on my own time to replace the pump. My boss said no and wouldn't give me a fuel pump. I don't know why. Maybe so the old guy wouldn't know it was a 2 minute job. Or maybe because the boss was bitter because he was about to get his billionth divorce. Or maybe he was bitter because he was getting sued for the billionth time. Anyway, the old guy couldn't drive on the parade. And his Morris has a flywheel with a crappy weld job. That was in 1999 and it still bothers me. The old guy is probably dead by now, and if I live to be 100 I'll still regret not taking a fuel pump to him no matter what my boss said.

Being a greasemonkey is a horrible job -- you have to be really competitive against the other shop mechanics, because you want the jobs where you make money. You do stuff where you charge someone 90 minutes of labor to install seatbelts -- an 8 minute job including taking time to drink an RC Cola -- and you get stuck on a job that takes 3 hours and the chargeable rate is an hour. And there's the annoying car that pisses you off so it sits for days on end. Well, I never did that but my boss would do that all the time. Of course, I've only worked one place, so I don't know how they all work. But from talking to other greasemonkeys, it's pretty much the same. Mechanic's complain about other mechanics and the owner, and I know they were complaining about me. I don't know what I'm doing. I just like working on cars, but I'm no good at it. So I quit and went back to my old job (cutting the heads off chickens at the local geek ranch).

I understand why when you take your car in, they fix something and come up with a list of other things you should have done. Cars are ignored. Every car on the street has one thing wrong, and usually quit a few. But it drives, so it gets ignored. When the mechanic looks at it, he wants you to fix whatever else is wrong with it, so he (unfortunately rarely she) can make more money.

Nothing much to see here. I still need stuff for motorcycles, bicycles, and scooters, so send stuff to me. If this helped you, let me know. I'm curious what people think about this page.

Anyway, here's places I've heard good things about:

  • Park & Gas.
    Folsom, east of Howe, across from Perkins Station
    Some preferably anonymous person wrote in, "I just wanted to pass along the existence of a little Sacto gem. It's the only honest car mechanic that I know of (my family has used it since before I was born, which makes that almost 30 years now). It's called Park & Gas and it's on Folsom, east of Howe Ave., just across from Perkins Station (the old Pony Express station and a damn fine place to play pool with scary ex-cons). Seriously, the old Korean man who owns this place, Manny Park, is one of God's own people. He never overcharges me and half the time he just lets me have the repairs for free. He's a nugget, as they say."
  • Hueys
    19th and P
    A pretty good place. If your car ain't worth fixing, they'll tell you.

  • Blue Collar Bikes
    Some random place
    If I was going to get a bicycle frame made, I'd go here. These guys are great. One guy is my brother in law, but I'm not the kind of guy who'd say he's great if he wasn't. I would just stick with Rex for a frame. But if you're looking for a single speed bike, this is the place to go. Oh yeah, their site sucks.

Places to avoid:

  • Andy Granatellis
    Might be a nice guy, but man does his chain rip you off. My friend Bill the Locksmith thought it was funny that he kept getting ripped off there, so he took his car back until they broke it so it hardly runs. Now his car has sat parked for years.
  • Sears
    You don't get sued by the Feds for fraud for nothing.
  • Midas
    The Midas on 16th Ave ripped me a new one. They're the main reason I went to greasemonkey school. They worked on my Dart after I told them NOT to and demanded $1,000 for it. I'm still not sure how that worked. I filed a complaint with the Better Business Bureau, but it was pay or lose your car. Midas said I told them to work on my car, and the BBB believed Midas instead of me.
  • Rex's Bikes
    20th and Capitol
    I'm a sucker, and they are really nice. My bike was constantly getting flats. I got a flat after changing the tube and spinning the tire while the bike was still upside down. So since I'd changed it 3 times in 2 weeks, I gave up and took it there because it's the closest to my apartment. They pointed out a hole in my tire, and charged me $30 for a tube and tire. Four blocks later, another flat. I took it back, and the guy said I needed a new rim. He also charged me for another tube and tire. That one cost me $70, but at least I made it 12 blocks that time before I got another flat. I was telling the story the next day to a guy I know and as I say "flat upside down", he says "Your rim was fucked up - happens all the time". I didn't know he had been a bike mechanic. On the other hand, if I was going to get a bicycle frame made, Rex's would be a good place to go.Just don't let them work on your bike.
  • Howards & Sons
    19th & L
    Used to be a place that I'd say, "hey they aren't bad". Even though the screwed up a friend's car. But now they're back on the Evil Side. I think that since the owner retired, it's going downhill.