QDear Tom and Ray:

I'm an old codger (81) with a few bucks to spend on myself, and I've been looking at used Rolls-Royces on the Internet. I am willing to spend money in the range of a 15-year-old R-R and am wondering if the maintenance and repairs have to be done by an authorized dealer. Are spare parts easily gotten in the United States? Is there a reasonable upper limit that one could expect to spend, yearly, for repairs and maintenance? -- Keith

ATOM: You probably have to get the parts from a dealer. But if you have a good mechanic, with a sense of humor, who's up for a challenge (and has a need to pay off his boat in the next couple of years), he can work on this car. He can order the parts from the dealer and have them shipped to him.

RAY: Will they cost a small fortune? Probably. But who cares? You'll be tooling around in a Rolls, Keith.

TOM: Here are two pieces of advice, though. First, don't spend all of your money on the car. Set aside $10,000, and use it as a repair-and-maintenance fund. When it runs out, you can either replenish it or sell the car.

RAY: Second, have some backup transportation. There may be times when your mechanic has to wait for a part, and the Rolls won't be available. So you want to have a Hyundai or something a little more reliable to use instead.

TOM: And the best thing is, you can get a bumper sticker for the Hyundai that says "My Other Car Is a Rolls-Royce," and mean it!

Dear Tom and Ray:

I'm 17 and I got in my first car accident four days ago . . . with our garage.I was coming home late at night and accidentally drove my mom's new Jeep Cherokee into the door frame. There's a small dent and a scratch in the paint that's two inches long and a quarter of an inch high. My mom wants to get the entire quarter panel replaced, costing me about $4,000. I say that she should just go to a body shop and get the dent banged out and the scratch sanded and repainted, costing me a lot less money. What would you suggest? -- Katie

TOM: Here's the deal I'd try to strike with her. Tell her you'll get it fixed your way, and if it doesn't look perfect to her, then you'll go ahead and replace the whole body panel for $4,000.

RAY: Then take it to the best body shop in town and ask them if they can pound it out, fill it with body filler and repaint it. My guess is that the job will set you back about $500. But I think it'll look pretty darned good.

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(c)2005 by Tom and Ray Magliozzi

and Doug Berman