Category Archives: General News


I, (Don) have been away from the shop for quite some time.  The reason why is I had a left total knee replacement that was going great guns until I made an accidental bad move that opened the incision leading to infection.  That put me back way behind even where I started at.   The “revision” procedure involved removing the replacement knee because the metal harbors staph.  Then a temporary non-metallic spacer was installed which is minimally flexible and not intended for weight-bearing.  Next antibiotic IV drips three times a day for 6 weeks.  Yesterday I finished that regimen and left the skilled nursing facility where this was administered after I got out of St. David’s.    In about two weeks I will get the knee replacement all over again.  My stepson and partner, Tony, was able to recruit Jimmy Preston for the front desk and you would think he has been doing this all his life!  We have received glowing positive feedback on his ability and, to my knowledge, not one complaint.  Tony and James are absolutely kicking ass with a very busy summer schedule.  Nice to have the shop in such good hands when I am limited to checking voicemail and social media marketing and such remotely!  When I am back mobile I am seriously considering ramping up the level of my retirement to a few hours at the shop hours per week.  At age 73 I don’t do hands-on, I am sometimes a little absent-minded.  Please be assured you have a superb team with Tony, James and Jimmy.  I WILL be going back to the bike rides i have enjoyed so much and can find worthwhile things to occupy my time without three 10-12 hour days/week.  STAY TUNED and thank you for your loyalty and support!



We HATE doing warranty work, but PLEASE READ what this means.

It does not mean we will evade a warranty rework of something we did. If there is even a grey area that something needs to be covered under our warranty we will cheerfully take care of it even if it might fall into a grey area.

What the title of this post means is we do not want a warranty situation to occur in the first place, most of all when we should have known better. That means we do a job twice and only get paid once, the vehicle owner is inconvenienced and there could even be tow service expense incurred. For these reasons, we install only the most reliable parts available. We just say no to cheap starters, alternators, etc. with a known poor track record regardless of the fact that they might cost considerably less than parts with a good track record.

Our #1 wholesale parts supplier will look up the parts return % of any part # on request. I check this frequently. When the part # is priced to low to be true, but the statistics on it are not so good, that part # is not an option for us or an option of last resort if there is simply nothing else available. (Rare circumstance.)

Thank you for reading this and your understanding, Don

Better Late Than Never

Such a long time with no update!

I offer the excuse that, after all, I did suffer sudden cardiac arrest on Oct. 23, 2014. Happy to report that not only was I one of the 6% or less who survives this — sudden cardiac arrest is MUCH WORSE than a “heart attack” — but I am back to almost pre-event strength thanks to those present at the time and excellent Travis County/Austin EMS. Back on the bike rides and doing my best to stay fit. Tony took over the shop for a month and did an excellent job. We are now partners in the no longer a sole-proprietorship Don’s Automotive which became Don’s Automotive LLC. I am now “semi-retired,” meaning I am normally only at the shop Mon-Wed, although those are long days. Thursday and Friday the shop is in excellent hands with Tony at the desk and Brandon and James in the shop. We are all flexible and capable of multiple hats with the exception that I leave the hands-on to the young folks these days .

Senseless slaughter at Mohawk

I am not a gun nut, stand-your-ground advocate, nor do I always think LEO firearm discharges have been justified. But regards this horrific event, I wish the cop who was manning the barricade and almost got run over by this monster had had the inclination and safe opportunity to shoot to kill.

Took me long enough …

… but this web site WILL be brought up to date.

I am reorganizing the front end with links away from Don’s Automotive to stock car racing (don’t look for much new in that — I am retired), cycling, and my passion for playing or refurbishing 100 year old full size upright pianos. I just had a huge block on getting started maintaining it again, but here we go.

You are in good hands

3-09-2013 —

I will soon post bios and pix of my three young guys that comprise by far the best team Don’s Automotive has ever had. Trust me! Anyway, you will have to do so more and more. I now come in only three days a week, and one of these days that will become two and etc. Tony, Brandon and Nick are human and have been known to make a mistake, but so have I! They are not half as grumpy as I am. You ARE in good hands.

Trendy restaurants in Austin: buzz is usually total BS

I don’t know if Franklin’s Barbecue is pretty good. It may well be, but I am not going to wait in line three hours to find out with the risk that they will be sold out just before I get to the counter. I am 65 years old and gradually retiring, so I have some time on my hands — but not that much time to waste! One of the reasons for the long lines at Franklin’s is a recent article in the well-known gourmet magazine, Bon Appetit. The author heaping lavish praise on Franklin’s knows nothing about barbecue brisket, absolutely nothing! The following quote makes this painfully obvious: “Whereas most places smoke brisket for seven hours at a blazing 500°, Franklin cooks his for about 18 hours at 250° to 270°.” Nobody in Texas smokes brisket at 500°, not even Bill Miller! 18 hours might be a little longer time in the smoker than some establishments allow, but it is hardly unusual.

All over town there are recent popular burger places that boast “organic, grass fed, locally sourced Black Angus beef.” OK, nothing wrong with that, but the burger costs 2-4 times as much as one from McDonald’s or any other equally wretched fast food purveyor and the beef consists of a generic, thin, machine-made patty that could not be distinguished from one from McDonald’s or Wendy’s in a blindfold test.

Thanks to my wife, I dine so well at home I rarely eat out except for a convenient lunch. When I do, I avoid the new places everybody is talking about this month as I find them inevitably over-priced and over-rated.

Journal Launched

Everybody has a “blog.” The sound of that word is unpleasant to me, so I call this a “journal.” Check it out for totally random opinions on automotive and other matters. I seem to be unofficially retired or semi-retired from stock car racing, so there won’t be much about that in here. I have lots of passion for the sport of rollerderby and bicycling, so expect entries related to both of those.