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MechanX Files
By Rob Pegoraro

Washington Post Staff Writer
July 25, 1997

The nightmare of cross-country driving is that your 10-year-old Toyota will finally give out in west Kansas, leaving you about a thousand miles away from the repair shops you know. The ever-useful Car Talk site is making a worthy attempt to fill this gap (well, for people who travel with laptops or who break down near cybercafes) with its "MechanX Files," a growing collection of reader recommendations of mechanics. It's still a work in progress that will get more useful as more people contribute, but you can already plug in even such smallish cities as, say, Chico, Calif., and get info on four different shops, rated on a one-to-four scale on criteria like, "My mechanic treats male and female customers in the same manner," and, "The shop responds well when they screw something up." Provided your car doesn't expire in the Utah desert, this site could be handy. It's also useful for finding mechanics at home. But the nice people at Car Talk do need to make two repairs here -- adding a way to track how many people have rated a particular mechanic and allowing readers to leave comments about a mechanic.

-Rob Pegoraro

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