Friday, January 02, 2009

Shout Out: Smith Mufflers

We regularly highlight restaurants and bands we like here at the Cincinnati Blog. Today, I thought I'd point out something that can be harder to find than good food or good music: a good mechanic.

Just before Christmas, my aging Infiniti started behaving badly: the heater wouldn't work, and (somewhat ironically, I thought) the engine threatened to overheat. I took it to Smith Mufflers and Brakes in Covington, who I'd used for work on my previous car (an aging Neon). Their initial diagnosis: broken water pump and blown head gasket.

The head gasket is a significant repair on a Nissan engine (I know, that's what I get for buying a non-American brand). While I wasn't thrilled that the cost of the repair was much closer to the value of the car than I preferred, I authorized the work, as I'm not really interested in replacing the car right now.

A few days later, I talked again to the folks at Smith to get an update. Understanding the significance of the work they were about to do, they ran some additional tests. It turns out it wasn't the head gasket, but a different, minor problem that can lead to false results in the test they use to diagnose the head gasket. Figuring this out saved me about two grand.

So: three cheers for Smith Muffler. They didn't have to take the extra step in re-examining their initial assessment; after all, I'd authorized the work. But they did so, leaving me with a considerably reduced bill (and them with considerably less money). I've never heard anyone say a bad word about Smith, and this kind of honesty and diligence is exactly the reason why.

So if you're looking for a non-dealer mechanic for your car, check 'em out.

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