Monday, September 11, 2006


Car guy etiquette

That's two in a row. Maybe I'll do all legit titles this week.

This is just a short post covering just what the title says.

Most car guys it is share and share alike. You work on my car and I'll work on your car. The 3 of us have all done fairly labor intensive jobs on each of our cars. (up-pipe on the Suby, turbo install on the Protege, and now the clutch on Tercs.) And it's understood that we all help out and it's a symbiotic relationship (Link for those who slept through biology). Although the owner of the car might chip in for pizza or beer or various other working on car snacks.

However, for non-car people who request the assistance of the "car guy", you are not part of the car guy ecosystem (to continue the same analogy). For example, about a month or so ago, a guy Subaru met on a local ATL Suby forum asked for help installing his up-pipe, Subaru offered his assistance and garage for the day. I also stopped by for a couple hours just to lend a hand. ATL Guy said that it was him and 2 friends, so I was under the impression that they just needed a nice covered place to do it, and thought it was weird that they would be willing to drive 1-1.5 hours to use Subaru's garage.

I show up and it's just Subaru and this guy. Younger, just got into grad school and his parents gave him a newer WRX. He was making it faster, he never raced it (legally, street racing doesn't count because the risks far outweigh the rewards), and was planning on getting a new STI after he got his Masters. Then why are you dumping all this money into a car that you're not going to keep for longer than 3 years? But he was new to the "working on your car" thing, and obviously had no idea about etiquette. He brought no beer, and after I left Suby asked if he was going to get some pizza or something. No, I gotta get back. I told my mom I would be back by 6 pm and I'm really late. Handshake, and he left.

We saved the kid around $400-$500 of labor costs and all he gave us in return is a bad impression of Indian people living in Atlanta and a handshake. Nice.

The moral of the story is, if you are using the services of a "car guy" and you personally have never worked on his car, expect to part with some beer and pizza money. It's the least you could do.


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