Car-ma: Why Bad Cars Happen to Good People
by Dick Stewart

If I could tell you all the ways my book will help you with your automotive challenges in this teaser, I wouldn't have had to write it! Let's just say that, in an easy-going style, it offers lots of advice about:

1 How & what to buy— what not to buy

1 How to keep your car from bankrupting you or driving your friends away

1 How to get more enjoyment out of your car

1 And a little practical automotive knowledge.

If you need further encouragement,
read the reviews.

Buy on Amazon

Carma car counseling

Your Car Uncle
About Me

Carma car counseling

CARMA is about how the whole car thing is working in your life. "CARMA" with a "C" has nothing to do with payback for past automotive sins. Your CARMA is about keeping your car "structure" from screwing up the rest of your life.

To do that, it needs to be balanced - somewhere between having a car that your friends refuse to sit in, and a rolling money pit that impresses car geeks but doesn't leave enough on the credit card for a hot dog and a soda.

Balancing your CARMA involves assessing where you are in the continuum, making a plan to get into balance within it, and getting on with it. You can find some tools to help you balance your CARMA in the book (click here) or in this site, but if you need personal guidance and help along the way, that's the counseling part.

I can answer your automotive questions (or direct you to someone who can) in "Ask Carma" (click here), but most of my clients don't want to air out their issues on line. They talk to me. I charge a fee for a session, like any counseling professional. Click (here) if you'd like a one-on-one.

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Your "Car Uncle"

I'm not very tech savvy, so when I have a problem with my computer or my cell phone I usually ask my daughter. My car counseling business grew out of the need for someone like that to stand by you when you buy a car. If you don't have a brother-in-law or uncle or whatever to hold your hand when you have to face the car salesman (or woman), that's where I come in, sort of like a rent-an-uncle.

In car sales lingo, I'm the dreaded "Second Baseman" - the fielder who keeps the sales pitch from getting out of the infield. I've been doing this ever since a friend asked me to stand by her as she braved the gauntlet of sales staff where they had the cars she wanted to look at. I advised her which cars to consider, fielded the claims and sales pitches, and acted as umpire on the deal when she had finally made her choice.

That was in 1988, and I don't deal with salespeople much now, except on test drives (on which I personally accompany my clients). I've lost count of the people I've helped through the process. There are examples in the book (click here) that include some amazing finds and a few miraculous deals, but mostly I just insulate my clients from the stressful, adversarial process that is the retail automotive sales model. My clients usually find that service priceless.

For information on how to use this highly personalized, in-person service, go to the "Car Uncle" blog here.

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About Me
It has to mean something that my first memory is of a car. Cars are in my DNA. My dad never threw off the car bug he inherited from his father, who sold cars in Western Pennsylvania. He had a succession of interesting cars, including the two Jaguar XK-Es in my 10/22/2011 blog. As a kid I could name all the cars by sight, and went with Dad to the showrooms every fall to see the new models.

My career counselors had no idea there were such things as automotive journalists in the early '60s, so I entered architecture school. But I got my first summer job at an architect's office on the strength of a color rendering I'd done of a classic Duesenberg.

I had no car in high school, but in college bought my first motorcycle, a used Honda. Every summer my buddy and I rode our motorcycles together on tours reaching from coast to coast and border to border. After graduation and before I reached the Minivan Years, I went through cars like popcorn. In those days I made some monumental road trips, including driving to the Arctic Circle before there was a real road.

In 1988 a friend asked me to help her with the search and purchase of a replacement for her VW Camper, the first of three I helped her with. Within a month I had another client, and put her son in a car at below invoice. That was the seed of Options in Mobility, the service that we call the "Car Uncle" here.

In the years since then, I have helped uncounted people with their automotive challenges. I've never advertised, letting the word of mouth from delighted clients carry the message that what I do is provide service custom-tailored to the client and the need. That's my passion; to see them on a one-to-one basis and sense what it will take to help them feel comfortable with, and even enjoy a process that without me is usually as much fun as a root canal, with advice that award-winning journalist Denise McCluggage called "the clear crystal ring of truth."

Most of the time the deals I find play out in a way we could never have anticipated. For that reason I can never promise I can do for one client what I did for another. What I can do is promise that in the end, you'll be glad you had me on your side as your Automotive Advocate.

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   Contact Dick Stewart: richard@theomdude.com