WHATEVER: Give her four tires and a lube job -- that's the ticket!

So I'll say up front that I know next to nothing about cars.
When a mechanic tells me I need a new "Johnson Rod" for my "V9 engine" I'm likely to respond with a blank stare followed by feigned comprehension and a ton of vigorous nodding.
I'm an easy mark, but I'm proud to report that today, one mechanic couldn't pull the wool over my eyes.

I got up early this morning to bring my little Honda in for some service (the car actually did need it ... the poor thing was 20,000 miles overdue) and as I exchanged greetings with one of the mechanics and explained my situation they made a suggestion even I thought was a tad out there ...
The exchange went a little something like this:

ME: "Hi I'm here for my 60,000 mile timing belt service. Water pump, drive belt replacements, you know, the whole deal. I called in advance."
Dealership Mechanic: "One sec. Let me punch that name into the computer ... You said it was Scully?"
ME: "No it was ... "
Mechanic: "Ah, right. Here we are. Okay so timing belt ... we're estimating that will cost about $650. Just sign these forms and you should be good to go."
ME: "Sure, let's see em."

Sure enough, there it was, $650. The price was actually down a hundred bucks from another estimate I'd gotten so overall I wasn't too outraged (although for a rubber belt and a few hours labor that's still pretty high). But timing belts are one of those things everyone always tells me you absolutely must not put off since when they snap they tend to do stuff like destroy engines. I signed the forms.
Then the mechanic asked me if I had any other concerns or questions. I (unwisely in retrospect) voiced two:

ME: "Well for a while the A/C hasn't worked ..."
The mechanic's eyes lit up.
Mechanic: "Oh yeah? Well, that would be about $180 for us to check it out ... since we'd have remove fluids and check all the ..."

At this point my eyes glazed over and I started nodding along blankly.

ME: "Right, well I think I'll pass on that for today. The other problem was that I was getting a lot of noise inside my cabin when I drive. It's especially bad when I'm on the highway ..."
Mechanic: "Oh yeah, we get that all the time. It's probably your tires. They look worn."
ME: "They don't look worn to me. I mean, I can still see all the treads and stuff."
Mechanic: "Well, I don't get me wrong, they're not bald or anything like that, but you know, worn tires lead to excess noise! I'd recommend four new babies for this one. That should solve your problem."
ME: "Wow, really? Four tires? I can't afford that for today. Thanks, but let's just keep it as the timing belt ..."

The mechanic's face fell a little bit then reset itself into a polite half grin.

Mechanic: "Sure thing, you're the boss!"

Needless to say, I never got those new tires. I did, however, get a second opinion.
It turns out the cabin noise wasn't from the "worn" tires at all, it was from something totally unrelated ... a slightly worn wheel bearing. Something much less expensive and not, I was happy to learn, in need of urgent attention.

OK, so I'll admit it again -- I don't much about cars. I don't really even know what wheel bearing does (bears the wheels I'm assuming), but I was at least proud of myself for not getting suckered in by the old "four tires and a lube job'll do her right" scheme that so many mechanics have been pushing for years. I guess I'm not that clueless. At least not yet.

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