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Book Review: Don’t Let Your Mechanic Pick Your Pocket! by George A. Moyer

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Despite the slightly alarming slant to the title of this book, the author’s aims and intentions come across as genuine and admirable once you start reading. George A. Moyer seems to genuinely want to offer help to motorists and assist us to be better informed about common problems we could experience with our cars.

It is a difficult task to do what Moyer has done. It may sound simple and straightforward to list car faults, but car problems are so numerous, cars themselves so multi-faceted in their mechanical and computerised make-up that it is hard to narrow down the faults that could arise and produce a comprehensive but easily readable and quickly accessible book.

Moyer has done a good job. Don’t Let Your Mechanic Pick Your Pocket! is small enough to keep in your glove compartment, yet it has a good amount of detail about each of the main parts of a car and common noises you may hear, to help give you an overview of the type of problem you may be experiencing. Importantly, Moyer offers illustrations of the main sections of a car so that you can see more easily what the faults mean. He also explains the way that the faults can be understood and also misdiagnosed by unscrupulous mechanics, and how you can avoid being ripped off.

Moyer’s years of experience echo through the book and this is invaluable. The knowledge of an experienced mechanic is similar to that of an experienced doctor. They can diagnose those idiosyncratic problems that are not textbook or thrown up by computer diagnostics. As Moyer says, computer diagnostics can only identify the area where a problem is registering, but frequently cannot identify the precise issue that is causing the fault alarm.

A book of this size cannot give you all eventualities of course – as the section on Transmission demonstrates. But on sections such as Brakes and Clutch I do think that most common problems and what sort of repair you are looking at are covered in a good amount of detail so you can be prepared for the type of repairs, questions, and costs involved when you get to the garage. There is also some good advice on how you can fix certain issues yourself, for example, electric windows sticking. This was advice I could have benefitted from a few years ago when I paid out over £450 for an electric window motor.

The book also includes a useful checklist of dos and don’ts when it comes to dealing with mechanics, such as the suggestions to always get a signed estimate, and ask for the old parts back so you can check they did actually replace the part.

Don’t Let Your Mechanic Pick Your Pocket! is a bare-bones, no-nonsense book that provides a very good introduction to some common car faults and car noises. You can read it quickly and feel that you have learned something – unlike some car books that are overly long and tedious to get through. There is also a website where you can get further information:

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