I’m not a great handyman at the best of times and I’m certainly no expert in fixing cars. In fact, it’s best for me to leave cars to the real experts, even (especially?) when it comes to things like touching up paintwork. Trouble is, sometimes there are jobs that are so small that, especially as a male and therefore expected by other males to know how to do simple jobs, I hesitate to take a car to the panel beaters or auto repair shop, for fear I’ll get a bit of a sneer or at least be overcharged.

But living on the river, near the sea, and having grown up in a beachside suburb, I have a healthy appreciation of how quickly a small bit of rust can turn deadly.

So today on the way to get our not so new Mercedes serviced, I swallowed my pride and popped into the nearby panel beaters to ask about a small – tiny actually – paint chip, showing a bit of rust, on one of the doors. This guy had recently done a great – and very economical – job of fixing our other, small runabout car, and I reminded him of this. He looked at the little chip, said it was only surface rust and then said with a smile he could repaint the door and charge me $200 or he could get some rust inhibitor and put it on (for nothing). I chose the free offer! And he said if I couldn’t find some paint to cover it I should pop back and he would find some to do the job.

Will I go back to that man if I should need some bodywork done on one of the cars? You betcha! Will I recommend him? Absolutely. It’s about a relationship of trust.

It’s Kirra Smash Repairs, 17 Appel Street, Kirra, Queensland 4225 Australia – Tel: +61 7 5536 9022 – ask for Gary.

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