With 45 years of experience in the auto repair, body, customizing and restoration businesses, Bob Bacon may not know it all, but he comes close. And he willingly shares his knowledge in What Is Wrong With Your Auto Mechanic: An insider’s View of the Auto Repair Business.
Although the title seems to indicate something targeted to consumers, the book also addresses prospective mechanics. Neophytes will find value in the author’s tales from the front, admonitions of what to avoid, and advice on how to deal with customers and supervisors alike. For example, Bacon offers his “axioms and truisms” (don’t let customers or suppliers tell you how to run your business; have the right insurance coverage, etc.). It’s good, unbiased guidance from a guy who has been there.
The consumer is not slighted by any means. The value of extended warranties, the odious strategy of some dealerships to stonewall repairs until a factory warranty runs out, and some unsavory tricks of the trade (making bad cars look better for a sale) are all discussed from an expert’s point of view. Bacon also cautions car owners: “(E)ven now in this era of consumer awareness, there still abound Dealerships that trade in deceit fueled by greed and avarice.”
At 65 pages, the book seems a tad thin. With all his experience, Bacon probably could have filled twice as many pages with interesting stories and good advice. The text also could have used a thorough copyedit to eliminate frequent typos (i.e., “Dealerships loose [sic] when they win,” and “this system is only in placer [sic] in Mid-America”) and word usage missteps (“site” versus “cite,” “breaks” versus “brakes,” etc.). Bacon also has his own quirky rules of capitalization, uppercasing “contempt,” “court,” “used car,” “dealership,” among other words.
Such issues distract from the readability of the book. Still, those who can overlook the errors are sure to come away a little more educated about the auto repair business.
Also available as an ebook.