Jump to content

    • You can post now and register later. Already registered? sign in now to post with your account.
    • ×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

        Only 75 emoji are allowed.

      ×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

      ×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

      ×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

      Once you submit your question, a new topic will be created for you in our forums. Our moderators may move your topic to a more suitable forum category if one exists. Members will see your topic and be able to respond to your question.

    • This will not be shown to other users.

Article: The Car With Nine Lives - They can't last forever...or can they?

Recommended Posts

The Car with Nine Lives
There are cars and then there are cars. Some cars live out their useful lives going from home to work and back again. Some, start out as rentals and travel the country, while others become the last to leave the dealership sales lot. Still, others work in extreme conditions or in harsh environments, while a few lucky ones spend their off-driving time being polished and admired.

They’re the device man has invented to move him and material across the globe. Their time is limited to the availability of parts, the mechanic’s ability to keep them on the road, and of course, Mother Nature. But, there are cars, very few mind you, which just refuse to be sent to the scrap yard. They hang onto the edge of the pavement with every tire tread, and won’t simply succumb to the ravages of everyday use or turned into next week’s soup cans.

Here’s a story about one particular car that seemed to have more than one chance to be melted down.

The car was originally bought by an older couple who drove it around for several years. They performed the needed maintenance and kept a tidy little record in the glove box. It wasn’t exactly polished to a gleaming shine every weekend, but it was taken through the occasional car wash. The tires were rotated, brake linings checked, and it was vacuumed out once in a while. Still, nothing spectacular or out of the ordinary as far as maintenance.

The old couple were getting up in years and decided to give the car to their son. Their son drove it for a few more years, but didn’t take the same interest in the maintenance as dear old dad did. He neglected the oil changes and didn’t pay much mind to the wobble as he applied the brakes. Then, a few things started to go wrong. First the radiator developed a leak, then a power steering hose, and finally the wobble in the front rotors was so bad he had to get something done about it. Small repairs started adding up to bigger repair bills, but it was “dad’s car” and the sentimental value overshadowed the cost of the repairs.

The paint was beginning to fade, the clear coat was peeling off in spots, and his wife did a number on the mirror one day. She caught it on the garage as she was pulling out. Now a few wraps of duct tape hold it on.

Then, along came junior. Junior just got his license and wanted a car. Dad had the perfect solution. “Let’s give him my dad’s old car,” he says to the wife. Mom was a bit reluctant, she wanted the car checked out by a mechanic first. She didn’t want her baby in an unsafe car, ya know. The car was checked, and wouldn’t ya know it. From a safety standpoint it passed with flying colors. Now, from a teenager’s viewpoint, well… it was a heap of ancient metal with four tires and a lousy stereo. Nobody was concerned about the right rear electric window which hasn’t worked in years, but the stereo, that had to go.

One day the timing belt snapped, and it was assumed it would be the end of it for good. Fortunately, it was a non-interference engine, so no damage was done. The mechanic got a new timing belt installed and took care of few other minor details while it was in the shop.

Junior wasn’t all that thrilled, because it meant he’d have to drive this relic for a bit longer. His driving wasn’t exactly puttering around. He gunned the motor, risking a ticket with every trip in to town, and zoomed around every corner stressing the suspension and shocks. Well, that is he did, until the day he heard a bang that sounded like a cannon going off. (Once you’ve heard the horrendous crack of a ball joint coming apart while speeding around a corner, you’ll never forget it again.) For junior, it was more of a wakeup call to take better interest in his only transportation.

A few more years went by and a few more repairs were made. The car still hadn’t suffered any major wrecks or severe body damage, but it was showing its age. A bit of bailing wire and a little more duct tape on the mirror that mom broke off kept the little problems from being big ones. It always passed the state inspection, and never had too many issues with the check engine light thanks to their mechanic.

By now, Junior was off to college and so was the car. Age and the distance from their mechanic played havoc on the car. It seemed every spring break was a week in the repair shop. It would chug into the service bay and a week later purr like a kitten on the way out. Nothing seemed to keep this car down.

Junior finished college and the car went back to mom and dad’s place. It was then handed down to the next sibling and went through the same neglected care and a few more bruises just like Junior put it through. It was getting harder to find a spot that didn’t have some sort of ding or scrape mark, but as this car with so many lives seemed to do, it still kept trudging along.

These days, the old car has a spot next to the garage where it sits most of the time. Occasionally, dad will go out and start it up just to check on it. He still keeps a fresh battery under the hood just in case he needs the old car for an emergency. (I think he trusts the old car more than his new one.). For the most part it remains steadfast next to the garage, only leaving its spot for an occasional oil change or trip around the block.

At some point there might be another generation of drivers in the family needing a dependable car. I can’t imagine it ever going to the scrap yard, it just seems to have this uncanny ability to stay in one piece. Maybe it’s one of those cars that really does have nine lives, because no matter what it went through it always bounced back.

It still runs, it still gets from point A to B, and Junior’s stereo is still in working order. I think the real reason this old jalopy stayed between the ditches has more to do with the certified mechanics who serviced it over the years.

Somebody really ought to thank those mechanics for all they do. If it wasn’t for their efforts there might not be as many memories of driving that old jalopy by three generations in one family and maybe more. It’s what it takes to have a car with nine lives.

Click here to view the article
  • Like 1

Share this post

Link to post
Share on other sites

  • Similar Topics

    • By Joe Marconi
      In my 40 years as a shop owner, I have battled the age old dilemma: Is it my car count, my customer count or some other reason why some weeks I find it hard to hit my sales goal.  
      It always comes down to production.  Now that's really simplifying it, I know.   But, when you look at the numbers, with the right jobs and a balanced schedule, the ARO goes way up and car counts become not as important as we thought. 
      Another thing to consider, this is not 1995. Cars do not come in 5 to 6 times a year for an Oil Change Service.   You are lucky to see some customers every 10,000 miles as they wait for that Oil Change Percentage light on their dashboard to tell them...NOW IT"S OK TO GO TO YOUR REPAIR SHOP. Isn't it funny how so many people will listen to the dash board light, and not you!
      Anyway, what are your thoughts.  How do you reach your weekly sales goals and what KPI's are important to you? 
    • By Joe Marconi
      Today is the first day of summer, and we are still dealing with the dreaded COVID-19.  However, there are positive indicators that business will be better than expected this summer.  People will be taking more road trips, will avoid airplanes, trains and Ubers and will take to the roads in record numbers.
      Gear up for a great summer and look for opportunity with each vehicle visit.  Perform those multipoints as if your business depends on it….why?....Because it does!
      We have a lot to be thankful for. Keep positive, be a leader and thrive!
    • By Joe Marconi
      For many of us, it's been a wild ride the past few months. We had to take care of everything, making tough decisions, dealing with banks and the SBA and running the shop from the trenches. But, with things looking better each day, it’s time that we get back into the role of building and operating the company. 
      For many, the COVID-19 crisis is far from over.  However, the sooner we begin to adjust and build for the future, the better off we will be.
      Shop Owners are among the hardest working people on the planet. We find ways to get through the most difficult situations. I have no doubt that the lesson’s learned from this crisis will make us stronger and more successful.
    • By Mark Johnson
      In an effort to update the group with all the most recent developments, we are happy to inform you that on March 20, 2020 the U.S. Treasury Department, Internal Revenue Service (IRS), and the U.S. Department of Labor announced that small and midsize employers can begin taking advantage of two new refundable payroll tax credits designed to immediately and fully reimburse them, dollar-for-dollar, for the cost of providing Coronavirus-related leave to their employees.

      This relief to employees and small and midsize businesses is provided under the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (Act), signed by President Trump on March 18, 2020. 
      The Act will help the United States combat and defeat COVID-19 by giving all American businesses with fewer than 500 employees funds to provide employees with paid leave, either for the employee's own health needs or to care for family members.
      The legislation will enable employers to keep their workers on their payrolls, while at the same time ensuring that workers are not forced to choose between their paychecks, their personal health or the public health measures needed to combat the virus.

      To learn more about how this will work or how to access up to $2M in Federal SBA disaster loans call us at 954-324-0803 or book a time in our calendar https://calendly.com/markjohnsontaxplanner/45strategysession.

      View full article
    • By Joe Marconi
      There’s an old Japanese proverb that says, “The footsteps of the farmer are his best fertilizer.” In translation, this means that the closer you are to your crops and animals, the easier it is to observe and respond to their needs. Business owners, just as farmers, have a sixth sense about what’s happening within their company. And, for the most part, business owners are the driving force behind the success of their companies. And it’s not always because of any particular training. Many times, the mere fact that the buck stops with you gives you the mental fortitude to push forward and find solutions to daily problems. Your gut evolves into a very valuable management and survival tool. 
      The majority of business owners created their business with a dream and the passion to make a difference in their lives and in the automotive industry. They clearly understand the sacrifices that are needed to get a new business off the ground, and also the years of dedication it takes to reach a point where the business becomes financially stable. But, running a business takes its toll on even the toughest person, and time away from business becomes equally important. So, the question becomes, can you build your business to the point where your presence still remains when you’re away? 
      Before I go on, I want you to consider something—and that’s your future. I know that many of you have a young company and plan on working for decades to come. But life goes by quickly and it can also throw you a curveball. Please take my advice with this; if you’re a business owner and you are not planning for your future, you are making a big mistake. I know too many shop owners that were forced to walk away from their businesses after decades of work with nothing more than memories. Their dreams turned into nightmares due to lack of planning. Sit down and write out what your future looks like. You will probably need help with this, but you need to think about a continuity plan and an exit strategy.
      OK, I got that out of the way; now back to the article. Here’s the bottom line. Taking time off and having your business run smoothly without you there should be one of your key goals. But the truth is, many shop owners can’t let go. They find it hard to take any time off, let alone leaving their baby in the hands of a manager or another key person. They even feel guilty when they’re away. And there are others who realize that in order to have a fulfilling life, the only way to continue the business is to step aside and stay away.   
      I don’t know what type of person you are. But what I do know with certainty after nearly 40 years in business is that, for the sake of your health and for the well-being of your family, you need to create a business that allows you the freedom to take time off.  And that starts with hiring and keeping the right people; people that share your culture and work ethic. Free time away from the business also requires that you understand your numbers, can generate a consistent profit and establish strategies to continually grow the business.  
      Achieving your goal of taking more time off is more dependent on what you create than the actual work you do. Create a culture where people come to work because they want to. Create a management style that allows you to reach out to your employees and help them achieve the things they want out of life. Create a work environment where the people you employ feel they are part of a unified vision where everyone will enjoy the fruits of their labor. Lastly, create strong relationships with all your employees from the very first day they are hired. Building this culture will help to ensure that your employees will perform the same each day, whether you are there or not.   
      I know for many it will be hard to let go. After all, your business is your baby, right? You founded it; you worked hard for years and dedicated your life to it. But, every baby grows up and becomes an adult.  And adults should become self-sufficient. If you build the right team with the right culture, you will gain the confidence that the people you employ can do an amazing job in your absence. 
      This story was originally published by Joe Marconi in Ratchet+Wrench on September 5th, 2019

      View full article

  • AutoShopOwner Sponsors

  • Create New...