Okay, no more mobile mechanics for me. They’re probably fine for really minor repairs, oil changes, tire swaps, etc., but my experience has left me with a bad taste in my mouth.
The second guy was positive it was the battery, even after first guy got spark. He tested the battery, and it did indeed appear to be dead. New battery…no results. He then tried to tell me it was out of gas. Again, after the first guy determined it had fuel. Solely to humour him, I filled up my jerry can and put some more gas in. More gas…no results.
The next step was a compression test, according to him. This would cost a lot, as a mobile mechanic can’t do anything else when they’re hanging out in your driveway. Note that I don’t think he was insisting on this to bump up the bill. He kept trying to convince me not to do it, but to just junk the car and get a new one instead.
Straight up, there are times that this is the best thing to do. This was absolutely not one of those times, and wouldn’t have been even if it did need a compression test and new head gasket.
I decided not to go with them anymore, and started calling local mechanics. Every single one of them asked the exact same thing: “Why do you think you need a compression test? You probably don’t need a compression test.” Every. Single. One.
Eventually went with a guy who said something like: “Bring it in for a half-hour diagnostic, and I bet I can figure out what the trouble is.” He turned out be correct. He figured it out, ordered some parts, and I was back on the road the next day.
Guess what the problem turned out to be? Spark plugs and wires! Cheap, cheap, cheap. The bill became much bigger than it should have been because…
a) I wanted to give the mobile guys a shot after failing to fix it myself. This is clearly my fault.
b) The mobile guys don’t really seem to know what they’re doing. This is also clearly my fault for believing they did.