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Is your car about to divorce you?

You thought you had it made. It was true love, really it was. You remember the good times: the surge of power, the sensual ride, the open road, sunset at the beach, nights out… But after all you’ve been through together, something in your relationship has broken. You’re conflicted. She’s not that old and she’s still pretty good-looking. You thought you were caring for her properly, but she’s clearly not happy. What went wrong? Maybe she’s been trying to tell you something all along. Maybe you were just too busy to listen.

Now you have a painful choice to make. Should she stay or should she go? And you feel like a jerk because, whatever choice you make, there’s a huge, unknown cost.

Abusive relationships always end in tears

It’s time to man up, take responsibility for your behaviour and get real. First off, it’s a car. It may be the love of your life but, really, it’s a hunk of metal that has been depreciating ever since you drove it out of the showroom. You’ve used and abused it, not even thinking that parts were getting older and wearing out all the time that you were driving it. You didn’t give it a second thought. You took it for granted that, as long as you gave it minimal, occasional attention and followed the manufacturer’s warranty servicing conditions, it would be faithful and always perform immaculately. If you got that kind of treatment, wouldn’t you complain after a while?

You never listen to me!

We tend to think that we have a one-way relationship with our car. But our car is always communicating with us, if we care to listen—and it does pay, long term, to listen. Divorce can be messy, and very expensive. If a car hasn’t been looked after properly for a few years and something major breaks, it’s either not going to be worth much to sell, or it’s going to be expensive to fix. Either way, you have a problem.

Our cars are always communicating with us, if we care to listen—and it does pay, long term, to listen.

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Feel the love in a committed relationship

There is a better way. If you want a good, healthy and happy long-term relationship, get a marriage counselor—aka a trusted team of service technicians in an independent auto maintenance shop—who will help you decipher your car’s periodic baffling moods, annoying whines, incomprehensible complaints and unpredictable behaviour.

Regular vehicle inspections and communication with on-board computers—even when everything appears to be going fine—highlight emerging problems that may be masked by car’s computers, which are designed to compensate for wear and tear as you drive. They also help you understand what your car needs in order to operate optimally, depending on how you drive and allow you to plan a practical, efficient and cost-effective service regime.

Doing so reduces the chance of a breakdown, while also reducing your stress, and saving a lot of money. It also enables you to keep the car far longer than you would otherwise expect to, thus avoiding the emotional and financial pain of premature separations.

Regular car inspections reduce stress and the chance of breakdown, and save you money

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Have a plan for all those little surprises

At The Garage, we aim to make regular maintenance easy and convenient for you. First, we get to know you and your vehicle, so we can design the best possible plan for your particular relationship. We even have a planned maintenance program so you can budget for maintenance on a monthly basis—in the same way you most likely pay for your electricity and gas. And we will always keep you fully informed about the true condition of your vehicle so you can make informed decisions. When your car is in our shop, should we find anything we need to discuss with you, we email you a digital picture of the relevant part on your car, together with a summary of what needs to be done and the cost involved.

We live in a world where divorce rates are soaring because we may not have learned how to nurture a solid, lasting relationship (we’re told that we need to change our car at least every five years). The manufacturers’ recommended warranty services are minimal and designed to make a car last just five years—so they can sell you a new one after that period of time.

Manufacturers’ warranty car services are designed to make a car last just five years - so they can sell you a new one

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Modern relationships can be challenging

Cars have changed a lot over the years. Relationships with them used to be easier because the car talked to you using plain language. You could hear, see, smell and sense trouble as it happened. Nowadays, with computer controls, high fuel-efficiency and outstanding performance, the communication your vehicle has with you is cryptic, at best. Things happen that you can’t learn about until the computer chooses to let you know by switching on an indicator light, or the car suddenly stops working, without any warning. This can make you feel silly, disappointed and even cheated.

We all have choices.

Not ready for a committed relationship? Well, here are some alternatives:

The escort agency

Car-sharing is brilliant! Pick up a car of your choice whenever you need one, have a brief flirtation, and give it back. No hard feelings and it’s convenient, cheap and fun for everyone.

Dating

If you have a fat wallet and want to play the field, get involved for a while and then jack your car in for a fresh one every now and then. Not a cheap option but, if money is no object and it’s important for you to be seen with the latest flashy model, go for it! Have fun!

Be single

Great if you live in town, or don’t feel a need to get into bed with either of the options above. Blissfully ride the buses, trains and planes and never give a thought to relationship-building of any sort. Yay!

Stress-free, clear communication for a beautiful life

Modern cars are actually engineered to a very high quality and can last for 20 or 30 years, if properly maintained. The team at The Garage is committed to helping you know and understand what your vehicle is saying to you. We inspect your vehicle and help you understand what we hear from it. Using digital photographs and reports, we can help you learn about the risks, costs and benefits associated with all repair and service options, such as a minimum safe repair to suite a budget or the repair that will best serve your long term ownership plans. Our customers can attest to the fact that keeping a car in good condition is much, much cheaper, less stressful and more enjoyable.

How is your relationship with your car working out for you? Scroll down to the bottom of the page and tell us about your experiences in the comments below.

Ronald Tremblay

Ronald Tremblay is the owner of The Garage, a fourth-generation family business in Vancouver, BC, specializing in vehicle maintenance and repair. Clients of The Garage enjoy a high-level of service whereby lifestyle and usage of their vehicles inform the service schedule and they are fully informed about the status of their vehicles. In this way clients can make empowered decisions, control their budget and save real money as the the life of their vehicle is extended long past the manufacturer's warranty expectations.

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