About 10 days ago, I realized one of my headlights was out.
After putting almost $1500 into my car in May, I was less than excited for even this minor problem. Whenever possible, I try to do things myself in order to save money, so I looked on Youtube to see how easy it would be to change my own headlight. It turns out that I have one of those cars that isn’t easy at all. Since I don’t have the tools or skills to remove an engine panel, I determined that the best course of action would be to pay someone to do it for me.
After putting in calls to two different mechanics, I realized this wouldn’t be as cheap or easy as I had hoped it would be. They both mentioned that my car is difficult to get to the lights and would only give me a wide range of prices – mostly in the $80-100 range.
Say, what?!? For a headlight?
Look, I know I live in a high cost of living area, but it’s a single bulb! Are the prices really that marked up here?
Luckily, I remembered that the place I get my oil changed often changes lights as well, so I took in in for an oil change and light bulb. They quoted me a price less than the mechanics AND it included an oil change. Perfect! Get it done!
When I saw them pull my car out, I went up to the desk to pay and the woman at the front desk told me that they couldn’t get my bulb out, so I only need to pay for the oil change.
I politely asked the girl what she meant and she said she’d check with the guys in the garage. A few minutes later, she came back and confirmed they couldn’t get the bulb out, but that if I had 10 more minutes, she’d try to do it herself.
Less than the 10 minutes later, I had a working headlight!
After paying for the services, I gave her a $10 tip. I wouldn’t normally tip for an oil change, but I was seriously impressed with her willingness to get a little dirty so I wouldn’t have to find someone else to fix the problem.
Sometimes, it’s worth paying a little extra for really great service, especially since she could have just as easily let me leave with the excuse that they couldn’t do it.