My car needs a whatchamacallit?

Perhaps this has happened to you:

 You take your car in for service or repairs and the service writer tells you that you need to have a thingamajig replaced so that your car will function properly. You don’t understand a single word that he utters, your eyes glaze over as you nod your head affirmatively and then when you are presented with a quote for the repair, sticker shock sets in.

 You tell the shop that you’ll think about it and when you get home, you call your uncle Jake in Des Moines. You figure, heck…Jake knows a lot about cars! He replaced the distributor in his 1973 Chevy truck and it only took him a week to do it.

 Problem is Uncle Jake’s analysis and explanation is about as helpful as that service writer’s was!

 Vehicles have become incredibly complex. They are very sophisticated and ever-evolving. These days it takes a highly-trained technician to properly diagnose a vehicle problem.

 After working as a senior engineering technician with one of the Big Three automakers for over 20 years, owning an auto repair shop for 10 years and having a car talk radio show in the Valley for about 5 years, I understand how you might feel about auto care and repair.

 That’s why I am excited to announce that I will be writing columns for the Arizona Republic that I hope will help you understand your car better.

 In my columns, I will strive to bring you the kind of information that will make you feel much more comfortable the next time your vehicle needs service or repairs. I will also tell you about the latest in new car technologies, important recalls and pass along money-saving info about selling or buying a new or used vehicle.

 I hope you’ll come along for the ride.

 If there is ever an automotive topic that you’d like for me to address in my column or you have a car care question, you can always reach me through the “Contact Us” page at

 Cary Lockwood of is an automotive consumer advocate,  Big Three engineering veteran and host of the “Calling All Cars” radio show heard in Phoenix on KXXT 1010 AM and KXEG 1280 AM. Cary serves on the Better Business Bureau’s Auto Repair Advisory Committee and has over 30 years in the auto industry. Ask Cary your automotive questions at


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