a few months ago, my "mechanic" (or the guy who changes my oil) also rotated my tires, and informed me that my rear struts were shot. bummer, on my 4 yo car. he quoted me about $500 to fix it. ouch! i asked my motor-head co-worker what he thought: that sounds expensive, but you're better off fixing it than letting it go. i called 5 or so automotive places, plus the dealership to get other estimates. mmm, $300, that's more palitable. i got the struts replaced, and have been traveling with a smoother ride ever since.
a month or so ago, i got my oil changed again. the "mechanic" tells me that i should have the timing belt replaced at 60,000 miles. if i don't and it slips or breaks, it'll do serious damage to my engine (because of the type of engine i have). again he quoted me around $500 to fix it. in denial and pure i-don't-want-to-spend-the-money mind-set, i forgot about it, except for a few nagging popped into my head reminders once in a while. this morning i remembered again. darn. i so don't want to spend that money. i thought i should become more educated on the subject. i googled timing belts on the internet. i found some contradictory information on when the timing belt should be replaced. i found that edmonds.com is a great resource on new car facts, but also on car maintenance. with all this information, it really sounded like i didn't need my timing belt replaced just yet. i finally called the honda dealer. 110,000 miles. what? hey, so i can drive my car for roughly 4 more years before i drop that cash. sweet! so glad i took the time to do the research and make the call. hmmm. now, the guy who changes my oil does a decent job, at a good price... but, what about this non-sense he's recommending for about $500?!?! is he really trustworthy? or is he just yanking my less-than-knowledgeable car-girl leg?
anyway, valuable lesson learned: just because a mechanic suggests something, doesn't mean you should have it done, and doesn't mean you shouldn't shop around.