Taking the car to a shop

Not my car, just a shot of the shop from the waiting room

As a mechanic myself, taking the car in to a shop for simple mechanical work is more than a little frustrating, it’s down right painful.

In our current location we don’t have the space for me to do any wrench-monkey work. Besides the lack of space there is also the issue of the complex rules not allowing any vehicle mechanical work on site. We tweak rules here and there for our own benefit on occasion but nothing more than we do for other residents who have been there for 20+ years.

The shop space I do have is minimal and of course it isn’t a garage or anything similar I could get a vehicle near let alone inside so anything that would require an overnight period of disassembled exposure is out of the question.

I have so many negative feelings about taking the car in for anything, but for something simple like an oil change or breaks, wow, guilt, inadequacy, sloth, the list goes on and on. Intellectually I know I could do the work without any problems. I have confidence in my skills and abilities. I enjoy doing the work.

It’s not just the space issue. If I am out doing an oil change and a tennent sees me doing it they assume it is okay for them to as well, regardless of their skills or lack of attention to environmentally safe practices. This is one of the reasons we had to lock out all of the hosebibs to prevent car washing. Soapy water down storm drains makes the city cranky especially when it is swirled with petroleum waste, and they don’t stop to check and see if it is a 100% biodegradable product.

For a little context, I’m writing this post while I sit watching my car’s oil being changed, by some one else. Also while sitting here a thought is forming in my head, a different kind of maker space, a club/community auto shop space. Dues paying members can schedule a space for a day to do basic less-than-a-day mechanical work and members with longer term projects can rent a bay by the week or month. Members bring there own hand tools but power, air compressor, and hydraulic lifts are provided by the space. The space could evolve over time to include other shop tools both large and small.

A club would be a good way to do it. Meetings with presentations on new equipment, or educational presentations on various mechanical skills. “Learn auto upholstery this Friday” anything that the group would be interested in. Body work, rebuilding a transmission… It wouldn’t be that hard to come up with new stuff to cover.

Doing something like this in the S.F. Bay Area would be a pain to organize with all of the compliance issues and costs, not to mention the insurance requirements and zoning issues. But the concept, I think it has a lot of potential. A Motor Transport club, cars, trucks, motorcycles, boats, airplanes, if it can fit in the space of a single bay, it could be worked on or built in this kind of environment.

I shall ruminate on this for a bit…