Back when I was young: Car repairs didn’t have to cost an arm and a leg


They say that one of the signs you’re getting old is that you find yourself, more and more often, using phrases such as: When I was a boy/girl, Back when I was young, In my day, When I was a kid. Well, you get the idea. Rather than fight this tendency I’ve decided to embrace it by posting, on occasion, blog entries the title of which will begin with “Back when I was Young”.

I welcome others to post similar pieces and let me know so I can link to them here.


Back when I was young car repairs didn’t always involve paying an arm and a leg. In fact I can recall, probably around 1978 or so, exiting the highway and coming to a stop only to find the guy in the car next to me staring aghast at the front of my 1973 Toyota Corona that was spewing thick, black smoke.

Fortunately there was a fully equipped service station (remember those, not just a mini-mart that sells gas, but a “garage”with qualified mechanics) right there, so I pulled in. Once the smoke subsided and the mechanic had a look, he confirmed his original diagnosis of a broken radiator hose. In about ten minutes he was able to replace said hose and I was on my way once again having paid the princely sum of five dollars. Yep, $5.00 all in; labour, parts and tax. Five smackers.  Which was good because it was all I had with me at the time (who am I kidding, it was all I had anywhere at that time).

Chrome Bumper
Chrome Bumper

As I write this I am waiting for my 2011 Hyundai Elantra to have a dent repaired; a dent on the bumper cover that will cost me about $200 (I once bought a car for $275!). There was a time when bumpers got dents, that’s why they were called bumpers, they took the impact of those little bumps and touches. Then some genius got the idea to put a cover over the bumper. What was so bad about bumpers that we had to cover them? Folks used to polish the chrome bumpers, dents and all. But now there’s no more chrome, it’s all color coordinated just like Garanimals children’s clothes.

I’m sure you’re bursting with curiosity about how I dented the bumper cover. Well, let me tell you it was a trap set by a snow removal contractor. After a recent snowfall the city removed the snow from my street, leaving it clear for parking, which is what I did. Unbeknownst to me, the recalcitrant contractor came along after and upon clearing the snow from a driveway, deposited it in front of my parked car. Low enough that I couldn’t see it when I got into the car, but, given the sharp overnight drop in temperature, icy enough to become hard and cause the damage pictured below when I drove into it having assumed the street was clear.

I guess I could chase down the contractor next time he he shows up, but I’m kind of hoping we’re through with any substantial snowfalls.

Published by DCMontreal

DCMontreal - Deegan Charles Stubbs - is a Montreal writer born and raised who likes to establish balance and juxtapositions; a bit of this and a bit of that, a dash of Yin and a soupçon of Yang, some Peaks and an occasional Frean and maybe a bit of a sting in the tail! Please follow DCMontreal on Twitter and on Facebook, and add him on Google+

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