Friday, January 7, 2011

The Smart Mechanic

Some say my favorite mechanic is the most expensive in the area. I say he's the best bargain. Sure, his hourly rate is a bit higher than most, but he's worth it. He knows his stuff, does top quality work, is very fast, stands by his work, and is honest. His motto: Quality only hurts once.

Over the years we've developed a relationship. We enjoy talking. He was very patient with my early experiments with waste vegetable oil conversions of diesel engines. I leaned a lot from him.

I don't know how much longer he's going to be my mechanic. The guy just bought a lot of land about 25 miles deeper in the woods than I am. It has woodlots for firewood, year round running surface water, and good solar exposure. The guy bought the land with cash, and is putting in a road and a cabin. Much of work is being bartered.

Over the years he's asked me a lot of questions about off-grid living. Now he's putting that knowledge to use. I answered some more off-grid questions for him today. He's at the serious planning phase. He has a small solar electric system and plans on scaling up.

He tells me he 's going to do some farming. The house in town and garage will be going up for sale soon. The guy gets it. He's moving on to his Plan B.

I'm going to miss him as a mechanic, but I'm glad he'll still be a friend.



  1. known a few that try giving up as a mechanix only find themselves creating a small shop or even equiping avan to work on something; same noted with welders and machinests.

    wait and see how longer mr retiree gets restless..


  2. I noticed that many GOOD mechanics, handy men, electricians, etc are disappearing. When I first moved here, there was a few of each, now I have to hunt for days before I find some half way knowledgeable person... for example, I need the clutch adjusted in my truck... I don't know how nor do I have the tools; I've been "referred" to three different "mechanics" -two no longer work on clutches (what???) and one has not answered his phone or returned my message.

  3. A good mechanic is a good friend to have.

    Now and Zen is back.


  4. Wildflower: One can hope. Then again, when my dad moved to FL, he left most of his tools behind. Now he's recreated most of his old shop and got rid of his fishing poles.

    Kellie: Good ones can be hard to find. Too many people who only know how to change parts but can't actually fix anything.

    John: Welcome back my friend.

  5. Kellie, good mechanics, etc. are disappearing because nobody wants to pay them anymore. Atlas is shrugging...

    Six, you can bet he'll be there for ya, sounds like y'all have a mutually beneficial relationship. And mechanics never give up their tools. I got mine...

  6. The local car dealership charges $110/hour but the mechanics make starvation wages. Something ain't right.

  7. Which is exactly why every mechanic I know; car, boat, or otherwise, dreams of opening his own shop...

  8. Sixbears,sometimes cheap is good. Sometimes you really do get what you pay! A good anything these days is rare.