If you haven't recently had the pleasant experience of having a mechanic talk you out of spending more money on car repairs, you are advised to head to Donny Vuong of Far East Auto. A longtime fixture near Dodger Stadium, Donny and his small, bare-bones shop are an antidote to spiraling auto health-care costs in an age when cars have become too complicated to tinker with at home. Donny doesn't approach your car as a potential gold mine but as a patient returning to the doctor for treatment or a checkup. Many's the time that customers have frantically come waving car-manual repair schedules, only to hear from Donny that many factory-mandated parts replacements are simply unnecessary. His response to expensive and dire warnings about your car from a chain repair shop (i.e., brake replacements, strut tower “upgrades,” etc.), might be apply a quick, common-sense tightening of a loose vacuum hose or replacement of a coolant tube. What is truly astounding, as our cars have become computers with tires, is that Donny remains a mechanic who will often make those adjustments for free or for only a very small bite out of your wallet. 1289 W. Snset Blvd., Echo Park. (213) 250-1252.

—Steven Mikulan

LA Weekly