Saturday, September 5, 2020

Still Life with Robin: On the DP Bandwagon...At Last

by Peggy Robin 

The time has come for me to jump on the David Pham DP Auto Repair Bandwagon. I’m on board at long last because my 13-year old car is running fine, thanks to the  ministrations of his good mechanics.

First, some background. My 13-year-old Hyundai Accent has lately been showing its age. Just about one month ago I wrote in this space about the breakdown that led me to leave the car at a repair place near the White Flint Metro….and the long and frustrating series of transportation glitches that turned the trip home (which should have taken about 20 minutes) into an hour-plus ordeal. Well, a few days after that adventure, I picked up my patched-up car – it seemed to be running OK again – and enjoyed a few weeks driving it around without problem.     

Then came the morning that I went to start it up…and what do you know…dead battery. I’m on Geico’s free Roadside Assist Plan, so I called for a jump-start. They came; they jumped; the car was working fine the rest of the day. I figured, I must have left some electrical thingie on by mistake (maybe a door was not completely shut and the interior dome light drained the battery??) Whatever it was, I thought it was just a one-time fluke.  

Next morning: dead again. This time, not even a little churning noise when I turned the key. 

I called Roadside Assist again. Guy came, gave it another jump, and the car was running again. But this time I realized there had to be something that was keeping the battery from holding a charge. I thought about driving back out to the Hyundai place near the White Flint Metro. The repair place was the service department of the dealership where I had bought the 2008 model car back in 2007, and where I’d taken it for service ever since. It had always been something of a pain in the neck to run out to Rockville every time anything needed to be done to it – but until recently, it had never needed much in the way of work – just the periodic scheduled maintenance.    

Back when I bought the car, as a deal-sweetener during the price negotiations, the Hyundai salesman had thrown in a five-year extension on the three-year warranty – all standard maintenance included. But I was tied by the deal to that service department. I didn't mind – I liked having everything covered and pre-paid. So, for the next eight years, I took the car there whenever it needed anything, and never thought of going anyplace else.   

After 2015, when the deal ran out, the Hyundai service place still kept offering me coupons and special offers that made it cheap to keep hauling the car out to Rockville for maintenance. However, the last couple of times, there were some bigger system problems….and it wasn’t so cheap anymore. On top of that, as my most recent experience showed, getting from Rockville back to Cleveland Park can be less than smooth sailing, especially if the Cleveland Park Metro happens to be closed due to anticipated flooding.    

This long history was all in my mind as I drove off in my freshly jump-started car. Maybe it was just the battery. Or maybe it would need a complete overhaul of the electrical system. But why drive all the way out to Rockville to find out? All during the previous week, Cleveland Park Listserv members had been singing the praises of DP Auto. Why not see if they're right? There are over 131 pages of  reviews of DP Auto in the CP Listerv archives – 20 messages per page! – and all but two or three are glowing tributes. And DP Auto is slightly more than a mile and a half from my house. It was a nice day – I could walk home!  

So I drove straight to DP. I should have known, after all those customer endorsements, they'd be busy! Lots of people waiting – but everyone was masked, and the process was orderly and efficient. I described the problem and left my old car in their hands. It was ready the next morning. Yep, it was just an old, worn-out battery, nothing more.   

Now it's about a week later, and the car's been starting up fine. I'm sure I paid a lot less for the battery and the labor than I would have paid at the Hyundai place out in Rockville – even with all those discounts they kept giving me. No more long haul up Rockville Pike again – what a relief!  

So now I'm sold on DP Auto and happy to have joined the chorus. Patronize your neighborhood businesses, folks! DP Auto just up Connecticut Avenue at the corner of Fessenden (4940 Conn Ave), in the Shell station (although it's a separate business). Call David Pham at 202 966 0408.  

You can bet that now that I’m on the DP Bandwagon, I’ll be going back…but hope it won’t be anytime soon!


Still Life with Robin is published on the Cleveland Park Listserv and on All Life Is Local on Saturdays.    


  1. Yes! David Pham is a gem!!

  2. This is good to know. I had dealt with one of that dealerships other locations with my Toyota. It always needed a recommended service. This is how they make their money. Fast forward to last year my ford broke down on the highway. The dealer it ended up at wanted me to spend an arm and a leg to put it back in the road but were unwilling to fill up my coolant system so I could unload it car max rather than make it so it could die on the way to the junk yard. Now a week does not go by without them offering me a service deal.