Car Care Confidence at Your Fingertips

Photo of Rog Sr., my FIL, and granddaughters Jasmine and Teyla in their last swing ride together last fall, courtesy of MJ  

"They said someday you'll find
All who love are blind ...
When your heart's on fire, you must realize,
Smoke gets in your eyes."
- excerpt from the old song, "Smoke Gets in Your Eyes," by The Platters

Anytime I hear this song (on weekends, some radio stations in our area play old timey music), I think of the night three years ago that I was driving home from work, just puttering through town in my old, blue green '95 Chevy Corsica when, all at once, smoke got in my eyes! Literally.

It all began with a peculiar, almost sweet scent that gradually filled every corner of my old car. Billows of white, suffocating smoke then poured out of all vents, forcing me to make an emergency stop by the side of the road at half past midnight, somewhere between Crab Orchard and Lester Square.

I hopped out, coughed a bit and wiped tears from my eyes due to all the smoke. Then I whipped out my cellphone and dialed my hubby, Rog (whom I sometimes refer to as the Superman of car repairs, simply because he is so amazing at fixing cars!). He told me to stay put and promptly left work to "rescue" me.
MJ and Teyla posing by MJ's old Chevrolet Corsica last spring, courtesy of Rog
Turns out my car's heater core had finally clunked out, hence, the smoke; and anti-freeze fluid was pouring out of it, which explained the sweet smell. Rog suspected this was the problem a few moments after he popped the hood on my Chevy, but he confirmed it later that night after we got home and he consulted with other car experts on

RepairPal is one very useful web site we started frequenting a few years back after a close friend bragged on how helpful it was to him. Basically, tells you everything you need to know about your vehicle's problem, how much it would cost to have it fixed, how much new parts would cost, among many other things! And if you don't happen to have a "Superman of car repairs" at home like I do, also provides you with a list of the best auto repair shops in your city, or quality dealerships, if you so decide to ditch your clunker and buy a new ride.

Well, Rog bought a new heater core for my Chevy from a shop in town that had recommended. He installed it in my car that weekend with the help of his dad, Roger Sr., who, like Rog, was a genius at tinkering with cars and who loved to spend his weekends working on vehicles with the son he was closest to. I am using the past-tense to describe my father-in-law because, sadly, he passed away from kidney cancer 10 days before Christmas last year. Today, three months later, it still is so painful to accept the fact that he is truly gone. He was a loving husband and grandpa, a wonderful father-in-law to me, and he was Rog's best friend.

Every time I see Rog working on cars on the weekend - all by himself now - my heart breaks. Gone are the days when he and his dad would laugh and share jokes while one of them (usually Rog) would be lying half-way under a broken down car, and the other would be busy handing over the next needed tool. Those two made the perfect car repair team! Watching them restore a car to running condition was like observing a surgeon and his prodigy perform a delicate operation together.

I wonder sometimes if there are any auto repair shops in Heaven? I hope there are, and I hope my father-in-law now spends his days happily working at one of them. It kinda lessens the pain a bit to imagine him whistling, a huge smile on his face, while he carefully puts a new heater core or fan belt in one of Heaven's fancy rides.

Roger Sr. and granddaughters Jasmine and Teyla, courtesy of MJ

Rog told me the other day that no one can replace his dad as his No. 1 car repair buddy. I believe him. Dads who share the same passion in auto repair as their sons are not easy to find. It gives him some degree of consolation though to know there are cool car repair web sites out there, such as, that he can visit anytime he has auto repair questions.

Let RepairPal help you take the mystery out of car repair! To get an auto repair or maintenance estimate, visit

- by MJ


  1. Mentioning about your FIL made me misty eyed... I am imagining him and my dad having a blast in heaven. :)

  2. ah...echoing twinzy....and thinking my dad joining her dad and your FIL up in heaven power ranger pal...

  3. cher and PRP, the possibility that my FIL and your dads are having a blast together somewhere up there in the Great Beyond - telling jokes and sharing stories of us, their loved ones down here - makes me smile. how i wish we could bring them all back to us! but at least we have so many happy, fond memories of them. thanks, cher, for allowing me to share one of my own sweet memories of my FIL with you all here on your beautiful blog ...

  4. I like It's a very useful and helpful website..

    Sorry to hear of your FIL..I'm sure he is much happier now!