Ross Murray's Border Report
Ross Murray
is a freelance writer living in Stanstead, Quebec. You can reach him at
Posted 6.8.17
Stanstead, Quebec


What's wrong with your car? Where to start?

Dear Mr. Murray,

As requested, we have given your automobile a thorough inspection and are pleased to report to you our findings.

In a nutshell - - or as we mechanics like to say, "in a DIN 6923 swivel flange nut" (ha-ha!) - - you have made the fundamental mistake that 9 out of 10 drivers make: you have driven your car.

Over 85 percent of mechanical problems in cars are the result of using your car in such a way that it transports you (or, in other cases, family members or, in other other cases, members of an international drug cartel) from one destination to another.

The other 15 percent of mechanical problems, incidentally, are caused by nesting vermin (wasps, mice, Fox News executives, etc.).

Driving your car results in extensive wear and degradation of your motor vehicle. There can be several contributing factors: road surface bumpiness; air-stream conflection; customer-care atrophy; auto-immune deficiency; going; stopping; going, forgetting your wallet, stopping, going back for your wallet, stopping, walleting, then finally going again; tire-ette syndrome; roadside torpedoes; industrial balustrades; faulty gas emissions; faulty missionary emissions. The list goes on and on, unlike your car, which won’t.

As mechanics, we recommend extending the life of your motor vehicle by using it as infrequently as possible, at least until you've made the final payment, at which point it will be time to trade in for a new model you shouldn't drive either.

We understand that not driving your car may prove to be an inconvenience for you. There are ways around this. For example, some people load their vehicles onto a car trailer to transport it from place to place. This is a decent solution so long as your car trailer driver is not named Duke. Just trust us on this one. (RIP Mr. and Mrs. Putnam.)

But that's neither here nor there (or ideally, if you follow our non-car-using advice, just here). You have regrettably used your car to get to places. Therefore, your vehicle must undergo extensive mechanical repairs that you should totally accept at face value, trust us, honestly, as listed below:

Worn brake pads. Your front left brake pad is completely worn down, while your front right brake pad is under considerable stress. Your rear left brake pad, meanwhile, desperately needs a vacation, and your rear right brake pad is suffering a crippling sense of ennui. They should all be replaced, much like the original Darren was replaced on "Bewitched." Unlike the classic television sit-com, however, there is no magic involved, only several hours of nonetheless far-fetched parts and labour to tune of $489.

Tie rod ventriloquism. You've likely heard a sound coming from your rear end. No, not that sound! Gross! From the back end of your vehicle. It starts out "grrnnnn-grrnnn-grrnnn…" then escalates to a "clunkata-CLEE-clunkata-clunkata" before settling into a fairly uncanny approximation of Talking Heads' "Swamp." Unfortunately, this is not coming from your back end at all but from your front tie rods, which have lost their structural integrity as well as their sense of decorum. At this point, it is not dangerous but left unrepaired the tie rods could start reciting old Andrew Dice Clay routines at traffic lights, which could cause embarrassment and smashed headlights. $986 parts and labour.

Windshield fatigue. As you drive, minute particles of glass are whisked away from your windshield by friction, air pollution and subsonic waves broadcast by the government to control our minds. This will erode your windshield to an unreliable thickness over time or several centuries, whichever comes first. For your safety, comfort and not getting a big fat window in the face when you least expect it, we recommend replacing your windshield every 5000 km or when we say so, whichever comes first. $316 parts and labour.

Air reconditioning. You need to replace the air in your air conditioning. A reminder: you should do this every 3000 hectares. $115 air and labour.

Steering disenfranchisement. Your power steering feels powerless. It lacks direction. It doesn't know where to turn. Unlike your car, you see where this is going: $578 parts and labour.

Manifold destiny. Springs fall apart. The bushing cannot hold. Gear anarchy is loosed upon the world. What are you gonna do? $867 parts and labour.

That's all for now, but on your next service trip you better check your white male throttlage. In the meantime, please make an appointment for the above repairs at your earliest convenience. We look forward to walleting you soon.