Dec 1, 2021 - Things to Do

Finding the right Austin auto mechanic

Asher's neighbor Gary examines his truck's engine.
Gary, the neighbor down the street, ruling out one potential problem after another with Asher's truck. Photo: Asher Price/Axios

Asher is in possession of a beautiful, two-tone 1993 Ford F-150.

It actually belongs to his friends Beth and Michael, but they high-tailed it to New Mexico as the pandemic stretched on and entrusted it to his supposedly capable hands.

Why it matters: Last weekend, Asher wanted to haul some lumber — but the truck refused to start.

  • The engine turned over but never quite vroomed to life.

Worth noting: Asher grew up in New York City; his family didn't own a car, and he has no idea how they work.

The play-by-play: The AAA guy said the truck probably needed a new igniter coil and recommended a tow.

  • But after a couple days — Asher wanted the truck to sit there, think about what it had done and apologize — he turned to his neighbor down the street, Gary, a retired auto mechanic who decades ago opened one of the first Toyota repair shops in Austin.
Gary trying to fix the truck.
Gary gamely trying to fix Asher's truck as Asher helpfully snaps pictures. Photo: Asher Price/Axios

On Monday evening, Gary tinkered under the hood and methodically ruled out the igniter coil, the spark plugs and the distributor as the problem.

Then he asked: "Are you sure it has gas?"

Gulp.

The takeaway: Asher is an idiot.

The big picture: Many of us depend on neighbors at one point or another. This post-Thanksgiving, pre-Christmas season, let us know if you have a Gary on your block: Is there someone you can count on for some spare butter when you’re making cookies or who organizes a basketball game for the kids?

Email to let us know...

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