Dear Reader: The Active Age — and a stranger — come in handy at garage

By Diana Breit Wolfe | March 1, 2024

Diana Breit Wolfe

I was surprised when a stranger reading The Active Age saved me $300 at a car repair place. Here’s what happened:
Last August I noticed fluid on my garage floor. My stepson, David, who knows cars, couldn’t find a leak. Neither could the guy who changed the oil and checked fluid levels. So, I drove it to Austin for a grandson’s birthday. Then in January I suddenly got a message on the dash: “ENGINE OVERHEATING. STOP ENGINE.” I limped home, stopping several times to cool down (me and the engine). David put in a gallon of anti-freeze but still didn’t spy a leak. It was running fine, but I knew it wouldn’t last.  
I made an 8:30 a.m. appointment at a dealership. I brought along a few copies of the February issue of The Active Age and laid them on a table next to me. The gentleman siting on the other side of the table picked one up. Soon he was chuckling. He volunteered to me that he had read a classified ad for his brother’s roofing business and didn’t know he advertised in our paper. We talked about the paper a little and about how he and his brother started roofing with their stepdad when they were kids. They would travel all over the country following storms. But the important thing is that I told him the same story I just told you about my car.  
 Eventually the guy in the dealership brought me the diagnosis and estimate. The water pump needed replacing and the cost would be $621. Not knowing anything about water pumps, I would have agreed. But my new friend did a little “tsk-tsk” thing and sort of groaned. He said replacing the water pump in my car wasn’t a big job. So I called David. He estimated the job could be done by any good mechanic for around $300. What? I told the dealership guy I was going to pass. He charged me around 50 bucks for the technician’s time. I went back to the waiting room to thank my new friend and to tell him to keep reading The Active Age.
  Now I can’t promise that carrying around The Active Age will save you money. But if you patronize the advertisers who help support this publication, there’s a good chance you will. I do and have been quite happy with the results. Please keep reading and enjoying The Active Age and consider a donation if you save money because of us. That’s what I’ll be doing.
Diana Breit Wolfe is treasurer of The Active Age’s board of directors. She can be reached at