(This is the first of many posts giving props to local/online/other businesses.)
Today, we give props.
Today’s props are going out to:
RJ & G Automotive in Raleigh, NC and 1aAuto.com
They’re combined efforts helped my car go from this:
And all for 1/12th the original quoted price!
On the 10th, I was coming home from TRC (the climbing gym) and was not in the best of moods. I had a bad day at work, I realized my finger was messed up so I’d have to take a month off of climbing, and, worst of all by far, it was my first time going to the gym after finding out our fellow climber, Eric Metcalf, had died the weekend before. The gym had been pretty somber, so needless to say, I was feeling a little down.
At a stoplight on Highway 54, I was stopped, looking down in thought. The light changed and the car in front of me started to go (as did I). Because my head was half down, I did not see a car cut off the guy in front of me. He slammed on his brakes (as did I), and, since it was raining like crazy, I slid right into him. I remember my first thought was that someone had hit me from behind and was pushing me, because when I hit my brakes they basically did nothing due to the water.
Luckily, he was a pretty cool guy and the damage to his car was minmal.
We pulled over and exchanged information. I checked out his car and took this shot of his bumper:
Anyways, I went home super pissed, basically thinking I was going to have to get a new car.
Luckily, my car still ran, so I took it to a couple body shops in the area. Ended up that the hood, bumper and side panels were bent, the headlights were broken, and…the front of the frame was bent.
The dented body panels weren’t a big issue, I could replace and install the headlights myself, but the frame was a problem. It was going to be tough to install the headlights when their attachment points looked like this:
Anyways, I got some quotes from some local shops. Auto Shape off Glenwood (thank for the referral, Aimee!) and Haddock (you too, Ashley!) in Crossroads both wanted to replace everything. That would mean my car was totaled. I called my insurance company and asked them what my options were.
Shit…I didn’t get collision coverage!
Great. So, this was all going to be out of pocket. I briefly considered getting a new car (Honda Insight looked awesome…a hybrid hatchback?? Talk about the perfect long climbing trip car!), but really wanted to wait a year or so for that.
Then, I went to RJ&G.
Ed Torres, their estimator and really cool guy, took a look and estimated me for a full repair. $3,800. No way that was happening. I asked him to skip the painting and get used parts. $2,500. Still nope. I went home and looked into how much it would cost to just replace the frame. Unfortunately, it was a $500 part and 8 hours of labor to get in and out.
I think you get the idea. It was going to be expensive.
The headlights were going to be $400 total with after market parts, so I looked into finding them myself. I actually found them via a YouTube video, which is pretty random. 1aAuto.com apparently puts out how-to videos, and one of theirs led me to their website, where I saw that they had a full set of headlights for $70, no tax, free shipping! So, props to you, 1aAuto.com. Their selection of parts could be better, but what you will find is crazy cheap.
RJ&G said they would install parts I brought to them (which is rare for an auto shop!), so the only issue remaining was the frame. Long story short, I told my situation to Ed and, the third time I brought the car to the shop, he said, “Let me grab one of the guys from the body shop.” One of their head body workers, Bryan, came over and looked at it for a while. Ed asked him if he could “clamp it down and pull it back into place”, and he said yes. I brought it in and they did something for 5 hours, and it ended up looking like this:
They fixed the frame in 5 hours and even installed my headlights for free. The final bill:
Plus the super-discounted $70 for the lights, the total cost was $320. Amazing. Props to you RJ&G. You saved me a ton of money and, more importantly, a ton of stress.
So, a couple takeaways:
1. Don’t skimp on insurance! For an extra $100 a year, I could have had my car covered and probably gotten a new car for cheap. Even if you think “it won’t happen”, it will, and you’ll be screwed if you skimp.
2. Help can come from random places. Just keep looking. I would have never thought I’d find cheap car parts from a YouTube video, but I did. Keep an open mind, you might surprise yourself.
3. Honesty can go a long way. I could have lied to Ed telling him I didn’t have any money, or made up some sob story to try and get a deal. Instead, I told him I was on my own and really needed some help. By talking to him 3 or 4 times and being honest, I got past Ed the employee and talked to Ed the person. He knew that helping me out in that one situation, which would possibly sacrifice his company $1,000+, would be worth more in the long run. And it’s true–hence #4:
4. RJ&G Automotive is amazing. I would recommend them for anyone. They’ve been around for over 60 years and have a full shop. If you need anything done from an oil change to a new transmission, go see them. They’re located right where Hillsborough and Western meet just West of 440, so should be easy to get to for anyone.
Oh, and, if you go, ask for Ed, the person.
Good blog! I read every word, just like you asked! Sorry to hear about your car but, SWEET story on the price and shop that fixed. I need an oil change and tune up so, I’ve found my place. I’ll tell Ed you recommended me. Keep up the great posts! 🙂
Thanks Katie! I’m trying to get a feel for how long these should be/what topics people are interested in, so any feedback helps :).
The guys there are really awesome, I think you’ll like em. Ed would be happy to hear his kindness paid off!