Consumer Newsmaker Q&A: Robert Baisch

Jan. 1, 2020
Robert Baisch is a resident of Medina, Ohio.
Robert Baisch is a resident of Medina, Ohio.

What type of vehicle do you drive? (Please include year, make, and model.)

My family owns and drives a 2005 Dodge Caravan, 2005 Chevy Cobalt, 2006 Chevy Cobalt.

Do you commute to work? If so, how far do you commute on a daily basis?

I have two part-time jobs, one is two miles away and the other is 25 miles away.

In addition to your commute for work, how far would you say you drive during any given week for errands and other trips?

I used to drive much more. Now, I try to combine trips and don't just joy ride anymore to save gas.

What does gas currently cost in your area of the country?

I paid $3.66 last week. (August 1, 2008.)

Is this higher or lower than it has been in the recent past?

Much higher.

At which point did gas prices begin to affect your driving habits? How have you altered your driving habits to save money at the pump?

At about $2.50

Do you perform any form of maintenance on your vehicle yourself?

I wash and wax all my cars.

Where do you take your car for maintenance and/or repairs? A dealership? An independent repair shop? A friend?

I work as a delivery driver at a business that employs a mechanic (Motomotion, Inc., in Medina, Ohio) so any work I need to have done on my cars is done there.

If one of my cars were under warranty, I would go to the dealer for any repairs. Otherwise, I try to stay with local independent businesses.

The main reason that I take my car to local independent shops for maintenance is because I trust the mechanics at that shop. I had an incident where I took my car to a local tire chain to have a flat tire fixed, but was told all of my tires needed to be replaced. My local mechanic told me they weren't bad, however, and he was right — the other tires lasted until I traded in that car for a new one.

That same tire chain told my friend that he had to have his brakes replaced, but an independent shop reassured him that he had at least 10,000 more miles to go before he needed to have any work done. It's a shame that the integrity of car repair and maintenance shops is so questionable.

It also bothers me that so many shops take advantage of the women who are not very car savvy. Another friend's 90-year-old mother-in-law was just told that all of the fluids in her car needed to be changed, and the car only had 8,900 miles on it. Because of instances like this, I am careful about who works on my car and always get a second opinion from someone I know and trust.

I try to avoid dealerships if at all possible because of the higher prices.

Do you practice preventive maintenance on your car (oil changes, tire rotation, filter changes, etc.), or do you wait until something goes wrong to take it in for repair?

Yes, preventive maintenance is very important. I make sure oil and filters are changed at proper intervals.

Have you been deferring maintenance on your vehicle in response to climbing gas prices?

No.

If we were to tell you that regular maintenance can save you $1,200 a year in overall repair costs (as released in a report by the Car Car Council), would that influence how you care for your car?

I already do this.

Have you bought a new car in the recent past? And what influenced your decision to purchase that particular vehicle?

We purchased a 2006 Chevy Cobalt because it was economical.

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