Life’s funny that way. One day you’re flying your Cherokee 180 along without a care in the world. The next, your mechanic is breaking the news that your beloved is in dire need of an engine overhaul. Of course you knew this day was coming. What do you do now?

First and foremost, as Douglas Adams stated in the “Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy,” don’t panic. Take a deep breath and assess the situation.

Chances are, unless you’re lucky enough to have a mechanic who specializes in engine overhauls, you’re going have to find a shop to do it for you.

Types of engine shops range from your local FBO’s maintenance facility to the major independent engine overhaulers, up to the factory overhaul facilities. Unless you’re AOG, you probably wouldn’t go through the time, cost and trouble of pulling your engine and sending it away just for a top- or bottom-overhaul.

Having been around a considerable number of owners faced with this very situation, experience has taught me that in order to find the right engine shop, it’s a good idea to ask a few questions.

“I can think of 10 questions I’d ask any shop that I was considering using,” explained Allen Weiss, owner/president, Certified Engines Unlimited, Inc. “And I believe for the typical owner, price should be number seven or eight on that list.”

“When I get a phone call from a new customer and the first thing he says is that he has a Cherokee whatever and wants to know how much it costs for an overhaul, I know right away that I’m not going to get that job. I don’t want that job,” Weiss said. “If they don’t take the time to ask me about my shop or my quality, then they don’t know what they’re looking for.”

Written by Dale Smith

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