04/24/2010 05:12 am ET Updated May 25, 2011

Time To Replace My Rodgers Flange, Traction Control Hose, and Clean the Cones and Rods

I have problems with automobile mechanics.

Years ago I bought a new car. I took it to the dealer for regularly scheduled service--rotate the tires, change the oil, check the brakes and the fluid levels, etc.

Then the mechanic would advise, "You need a new Rogers Flange."

Being a good boy, I would meekly ask, "How much?"

"$335 for the Flange and $240 for the labor."

Wishing to conceal my ignorance of all things automotive, I would acquiesce. Later, upon learning that Rodgers Flange is not an auto part, but a disease that afflicts cows, I decided to become more assertive.

Mechanic: You need to replace the bushings on the wiring harness drive belt.

Me (assertively): And what happens if I don't?

Mechanic: The rear differential fluid will become rancid and leach into the alternator. That means an entirely new Rotor Disc assembly.

Me (dejectedly): We wouldn't want that. Perhaps I should buy two.

I was marked as a wimp. At my next scheduled service, the mechanic upped the ante:

Mechanic: You have a bruised retina in the connector transmission link. We will need to clean the cones and rods. The Amp Regulator is shot. We thought we could fix it with a new adaptive sensor but traction control hose was corroded. It's probably best to install a new electrical crank chain.

Me: And what happens if I don't?

Mechanic: Small children will die.

Me: We wouldn't want that. Go ahead.

Not wanting small children to die, I suggested to my wife to have the traction control hose on her car checked for corrosion. After her mechanic revealed that traction control hoses did not exist, I got tough at my next service:

Mechanic: The LDL level on the pressure gasket insulation subassembly is over 200. You need to install new housing mounts on the plug washers in the pinion torque.

Me: And if I don't?

Mechanic: Small children will die.

Me: I don't care.

Mechanic: You better to talk to Bruce in Legal.

Bruce: Hello Steven. My name is Bruce and I am with Lexus Legal.
Do you know that your refusal to install new housing mounts on the plug washers in the pinion torque is discoverable in litigation? In a similar case, the Second Circuit found such action constituted "gross negligence." You should check with your own automotive counsel, but most insurance policies will not cover you in the case of gross negligence.

Me: I don't care. Your repairs will bankrupt me first.

Bruce: Let me transfer you to our Chaplin.

Chaplin: Hi Steve. This is Chaplin Fred over at the Lexus Chapel. Steve, failure to install new housing mounts on the plug washers in the pinion torque is equivalent to suicide. Suicide is a mortal sin.

Me: Hell could not be worse than your repair shop.

Chaplin: Then you should consider our indulgence plan. In conjunction with the Vatican we offer a 36-month preventative indulgence plan that covers most mortal sins including suicide, incest, and denying the assumption of the Virgin Mary in bodily form into heaven.

Me: Can I purchase two plans, one for me and one for my wife?