A Respite in the Garage

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Some good news, at least. People are working on their cars again.

Probably for the same reason people are growing vegetable gardens again.

In both cases, because they haven’t got the money – or fear they soon won’t – to buy a new car. Or food, at the grocery store – without having to participate in Sickness Insanity (the mandatory wearing of surgical masks by healthy people) and Submission Training II (standing in queues everywhere – not just at the airport; standing on the spot marked “x” – and so on).

Also, apparently, for something to do.

Since it’s become illegal to do the things people used to do, like go to restaurants, bars, theaters and gyms. Even in states that have “reopened,” Sickness Insanity has made it extremely unpleasant to go anywhere.

Might as well go out – to the garage.

No Fear Mask mandate there; no hectoring about keeping yourself anti-socially distant from other people, no matter how healthy they (or you) are and no matter that you – and they – aren’t demoralized by the now-fashionable pathological fear of catching a cold.

Wrenching is becoming a thing again.

Evidence of this is an uptick in sales of car parts.

One of the largest retailers of the same – Advance Auto – says its business is up 8.2 percent. Which is astounding given how much everything else, just about, is down. The actual uptick is more than that, too – because Pre Corona, the car parts business was doing worse. People weren’t wrenching. They were buying new cars instead of new parts for their old cars.

This was egged on by natural and unnatural forces.

The natural force was prosperity. People had jobs – and so, money. Enough extra money (after having paid for life’s essentials, such as housing and food) to go for the new car rather than tinker with the old one. More accurately, they had enough extra on hand to pay someone else to tinker with it – and thereby have time for other things.

Like going out to eat. Or going to the gym. The natural things people used to be able to do.

Along came the unnatural force of government – which destroyed the 50-year-low in joblessness by making some 40 million Americans jobless by decree. These 40 million no longer have money – so they now have lots of time, being without work. And being without work, it makes more sense to work on their car rather than pay someone else to do it.

And so they, are.

“You’ve got people sitting in their homes and you can only watch so much Netflix,” says Tom Greco – the CEO of Advance Auto. “You decide what to do and you go outside and maybe you fix something in your yard or maybe you work on your car.”

This is lemonaid out of some very bitter lemons.

Corona Fever – the manufactured hysteria of catching a cold that is now equated with catching death – may inadvertently resurrect self-reliance. This would be a wonderfully salutary unintended consequence arising from the manufactured hysteria. People less dependent on the system which has become their enemy, far more so than the threat of catching a cold that won’t kill you unless you’re already close to being killed by old age or some other sickness.

In most cases – more than 80 percent of them – it won’t even make you sick.

Doing things for oneself, on the other hand, will make you well. It tends to increase one’s confidence in oneself – which makes one less susceptible to being cowed by manufactured hysteria.

And just as one thing always leads to another, this may lead to other good things, for a change. People may recover their interest in driving their cars – as opposed to being parented by their cars. They might even resume teaching their kids to drive. After all, millions are already teaching them generally – home schooling has, ironically, been encouraged by Lockdown Uncle.

Self-sufficiency is the best vaccine there is.

Greco also said that people are wrenching so as to avoid mass transit – i.e., fear of catching cold marketed as catching death.

This is also good news, though not for that reason.

Mass transit is a time waster for most people – and unlike money, you can’t earn more time. It is inherently limited in supply. Having to wait for a bus or train – which takes its time – wastes yours. There are a few densely populated cities – such as Corona Fever Central (formerly known as New York City) where getting on a train or taking a bus makes time sense.

But almost everywhere else, it doesn’t.

You get there sooner – and on your own time – using your own car. You also have the option to go via a different – unscheduled – route. To some other destination. To any destination. This makes it worth it – leaving aside the value of not having to sit next to or near a homeless person with continence issues or a sail fawn gabbler.

Even if they haven’t got something that’s catching!

. . .

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29 COMMENTS

  1. Eric – not only are folks who’ve lost jobs and/or income having to wrench to save money and keep the old ride alive at all, many whom otherwise have money coming in, given all the usual diversions being shut down, are BORED. So at least doing some garage work is HEALTHY…until the bureaucratic nitwits and busybodies here in Sacramento County get their collectivist panties in a wad over “hazardous wastes” and nonsense like that and come out with the “Code Enforcement” badged bullies.

  2. The more you know…
    Whenever you leave your home, top scientists recommend running constantly, this makes it harder for the vyruz to catch you. And when at home, jog in place. Computer models show that there’s a high probabilty this confuses the vyruz and gives it “the slip”.
    So remember … run for your life!

    Brought to you by The Safety Foundation

  3. In the UK they’ve suspended the MOT so my motorcycle doesn’t have one at the minute. Obviously i keep it in tip top condition and a MOT is a bloody state interference to keep me safe because you know i might not keep my bike road worthy and die while riding it because i’m to stupid to make sure the brakes work or the chain is loose.

  4. I’d say that it’s more likely that guys are going out into the garage to have a few beers and or smoke a bowl with the guys and get away from the 24/7 confinement with the yammering wife and screaming pooping sprogs. I mean, it’s not as if they just suddenly learned how to work on complex modern cars, and that the tools to do so magically appeared in the garage. “Working on the car” is just the euphemism, like “Going to the reading room” is for taking a crap.

    • You’d be amazed how often a guy will let the little wifey decide how everything in the house will be set, decorated, and so on, and work his ass off to provide those creature comforts. All he often asks for is, provided there isn’t already a dingy basement, for a little corner of the garage as his “man cave”, to have sports on, drink a few brews, and just be “men” with the guys…and how often THAT gets invaded! I faced that with wives #1 and #2 (and though I am a “Jack Mormon”, not at the same time) over MY garage, and now #1 son has to deal with HIS Frau over the same shit. Ladies…it’s just a FUCKING garage! Leave it ALONE! But they CAN’T…because it doesn’t include THEM, and that scares them.

  5. I can’t foresee car makers surviving this discombobulated clusterfuck, without being bailed out, like the airlines and cruise ships etc. are now. like many other debt dependent products, they were in trouble before the Psychopaths In Charge decided the destroy the economy that feeds us. Can’t get a loan if you are already at your credit limit. Credit card debt was more than a lot of people will bring home this year. My personal financial philosophy has always been to avoid debt like the plague, the real plague. It served me well. One can do a LOT of work on a car, whether you do it yourself, or hire it done, for the cost of a new car. Most normal repairs can be done for two car payments, and catastrophic repair can mostly be done for a years worth of payments. And you get to avoid the digital management and tracking of your car by another party you get with new cars. My father taught me the most basic and effective economic method about 50 years ago. If you live above your means, you never have money. If you live beneath your means you always have money.

    • Excellently said, John –

      Living beneath my means has always been my prime directive. My truck is old and the paint’s faed – but it’s paid for, so I can afford to put gas in it (and food in me!)

      • “Living beneath my means” the best advice you can give anyone. An old British saying is l’ook after the pennies and the pounds take care of themselves’. I was raised this way and i raise my kids this way. There ain’t no hell worse than being beholden to another man.

          • Seconded! Never owe anyone anything. If you can’t afford to pay cash…you can’t afford it. Spending cash is a lot harder than handing over a card…so yer a lot more careful.

            A lot of people get caught up in the li’l details- clipping coupons for fifty cents or driving a few extry blocks to save a penny a gallon on gas…but if ya take care of the big things first- live where housing is cheap/taxes low so you can own your house outright and have some land (The commies told one truism- land is the source of all wealth)…minimize/eliminate taxes, and stay away from debt…and the rest is easy and not as big a deal.

  6. I replaced the brake pads and rotors on my Ford Focus last week. It now has 118,000 miles on it and still problem free (it has a 5-speed manual in it). The only gripe I had was installing the new caliper retainer springs. I stabbed my fingers twice getting them on. I usually tend to mix a little blood with the grime from time to time. But the plus side is the cash that I keep in my pocket doing it myself.

    • I did the front brakes and replaced the rotors on my 2014 Focus a year ago (then traded it in anyway, but that’s another story) and spent about $90 for new rotors and premium pads from Rock Auto. The quote I got from Firestone was $750. Midas? $800. Pep Boys wouldn’t even touch them. I did the entire job in two hours and had a beer while doing it.

  7. I have 2 vehicles from year 2000 and plan no changes. Newer cars have too much useless tech in them. And no 10 stacker cd players so that I can enjoy my music all the time without the annoying djs who these days wax on and on about actors and movie bus crap.

  8. The local commuter railroad by me, the South Shore RR (NW Indiana & Chicago) ridership is down 92% during this virus. Don’t know about the local buses, but even before the virus almost nobody rode them here. Never the less, they still plan the largely unpopular and unwanted expansion. Wasting likely over two billion dollars, for ridership that will probably be less than ten thousand daily (they claim about 12 thousand) out of a population of about 400,000. Where as if they spent two billon on ROADS people actually use, it could be useful spending, maybe…….

  9. Maybe some of these millennials might learn another lesson; don’t let anyone get much leverage over you in life. Or, borrowing makes you a slave to your debt master. They might find out living in their stack a Prole expense apartment with a Tesla payment is not going to work for long under these conditions. Maybe they’ll realize they have signed up to slavery with the Big Tech firms they slave for? Maybe they might start to realize who they are and who their masters really are and do something about it?
    As Theodore of York once said…”naaaah”

  10. Last night Hertz filed for bankruptcy. Hertz also owns the Dollar and Thrifty rental car brands.

    Turns out, most of Hertz’s vehicles are leased. Before filing for bankruptcy, Hertz proposed to its creditors to sell more than 30,000 cars a month through the end of the year in an effort to raise around $5 billion.

    But the lenders hissed n-o-o-o-o-o-o … NOT ENOUGH!

    So as Hertz reorganizes and downsizes under bankruptcy protection, it seems likely that fleet sales of 30,000 cars a month or even more will be part of the restructuring plan.

    Hertz’s large-scale dumping will pressure not only the newer end of the used car market, but also new vehicle sales. Why buy a new car, when you can get a one-year-old, low-mileage model for maybe one-third less?

    Bad, sad times these are for car makers and rental car companies. For those of us who stick to vehicles from the 1990s and early 2000s, it makes little difference … unless our OEM croaks.

    Nissan in particular looks a little shaky. But being Japanese, it probably will be kept alive on government life support as an employment project.

    • My son and I bought two late model rental pickups over a year ago. Both vehicles were at local dealerships, certified, were one year old at the time, low mileage, and came with extended factory bumper to bumper warranties. Very good deal even back then. They are usually strippers or close to strippers, which was OK with us.
      They were both in the low $30’s, which is about what you would expect a new truck to cost today, vs the typical $45-55 cost they are new today, crazy. We both had desirable trades (meaning they would put the vehicles on their lot, and not wholesale them) that were paid for and out of pocket was very low.

      • Allen, not to mention you know it was done correctly. I watched these guys on trucknation take 90’s “workhorse” pickup, a Chevy half ton that had two different types of pain and custom wheels and tires. Yessir, a real “workhorse”. They were going to turn it into a custom pickup, which they sorta did. If they wanted a project they’d take my 98 Turbo Diesel that’s been beat to shit and it shows and turn it into a custom pickup. They’re probably have to use a cherry picker to get the gooseneck mount out of the bed.

        So they started on the brakes. They were done, not because they’d been worked hard, they had just never been changed by the looks of it or just had some shoes and pads thrown on. The axle seals leaked, the pinion seal leaked, the brake’s leaked. So they change seals and use new brake actuators, new rotors and drums and just buttoned it up, no drain of 250 mile fluid and that’s when I hd to say “It seems like working on the brakes would be the perfect time to drain and clean the master cylinder and lines…..but that’s just me”. Man, I got so many comments saying I’d called it right I quit counting. I quit watching it too.

    • In the beginning of this event, these corporate commercials telling us how we’re all in this together, buy our product, etc, exuded insincerity. Now the commercials just seem to exude desperation. But at least we know they’ll come to an end. They’ll either get bailed out and be good for a while, ending the need for the pandering commercials, or they won’t be bailed out and they and their commercials will go away.

      I of course don’t know, but I don’t think that this one is going to be “the big one”. I think the can will be kicked down the road again. I think the printing will work again for a while, and things will level off. We’re destroying our currency, but everyone else is destroying theirs too. More time to prepare for the real big one, which, for better or for worse, I think will happen in my lifetime.

      • Brandon, I think it will happen within months. Every single local “news” site I checked- here and back in NY has headlines on the front page announcing that Uncle is hiring “contact tracers and virus investigators” (Free training…and pays very good). They have no intention of letting this die. What we are seeing now is just the tip of the iceberg!

        First the masses fell for 9-11…now trhey’ve fallen for something even bigger, more absurd, and personal. Game over. Uncle won.

        • Hi Nunz, the contact tracing jobs aren’t advertising in my area of course. I could do such a cool job. Anyone who was ever in contact with Nunzio probably has the mind virus, and should be marked and monitored.

          “Did Nunzio ever say anything unusual to you?” “Well, he did seem to talk about liberty, rights, and Uncle a lot…” “I see. We’ll need to vaccinate you.”

          Uncle winning with the masses is a foregone conclusion. I was more referring to the US dollar and the debt economy. I think we have some more time before that truly implodes.

          • Brandon, there is no cure for a case of Nunzitis! Trouble is, it’s very hard to catch!

            Hmmm…no contact tracing/flu investigatin’ work-fare where you are? Don’t see how, considering my li’l one-traffic light county is usually the last to get anything [That’s why I moved here!] – and with only 5 cases of C-19, 2 recovered already, all 5 asymptomatic, no hospi’lizations, 0 deaths….but the real disease did make it here….the one where they print up those green pieces of paper out of thin air, which the American people get to pay back for the next bazillion years……

            But anywho- yeah- your speculatin’ on the economic impact and timing is as good as mine [Brandon: “Why, I’ve never been so insulted in all of my life!”]- I do agree with you that the effects will be delayed (Which will make the ultimate crash even worse)- I just don’t think the delay will be as long-term as you are thinking.

            But, we shall see. We are in unchartered territory!

            • Nunz, we’ve had one case. He was 87 and had Crohn’s disease but it was covid that killed him….even though he was on death’s doorstep before covid was ever spoken about. One case in a county…..help, help, help.

              • Yeah Eight- they say it was Corona- but fer all we know, it could have been someone dressed-up as a scary clown and walking past the guy’s windur- Scared him to death!

            • No cure?!? We are ALL DOOMED!! ^^ These “contact tracers” , are looking like the start of the next phase. Once they find enough people to channel their inner Stasi, they can move to the next sequence. Which I suspect will be some type of social credit score, like they have in China. Couple that with some of their new toys on the tech side… That will make it more possible to enforce their “New Normal”…

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