The sad news of Dave Redinger’s passing on February 7, 2022, has left many of us remembering this industry luminary.
Anyone who met Dave Redinger was immediately drawn to his charisma; a large, beaming smile, hearty laugh and genuine good humour. It was just one of his many traits, a sincere interest in the people in his life, whether they were customers, technicians, colleagues or a young kid wanting to learn about cars.
That’s what Mark Sachs-Anderson, now the owner/operator of WrenchSpinner, formerly Dave’s Corner Garage, remembers about him. When Sachs-Anderson was just 15 years old, he dropped by Redinger’s shop (then Dr. H. Honda Specialists), and eventually wound up pulling transmissions. Sachs-Anderson reminisces, “Dave wasn’t just a boss, he was a friend and a mentor. I could confide in him and he would listen, you could talk to him about anything.”
Redinger was a born mechanic, who had his own approach to auto repair. Although he respected the tradition of auto repair, some challenges required an innovative approach. Sachs-Anderson recalls Redinger’s way with blown head gaskets on Chrysler K-Cars, Reliants, and other related products. “By the book, it would take five to six hours to repair. But using his inegenuity, Dave got the process down to less than an hour.”
In fact, Redinger’s boundless curiousity and entrepenueiral spirit took him to many places, some unexpected. When a friend in the clothing business complained about rampant theft, Redinger invented a security tag to combat the problem, and started a business, calling it “Sticky Fingers.”
His infinite knowledge of the auto industry meant he was often quoted in the media, and wrote columns for various publications, including, of course, Car Care Business.
Redinger was recognized as an expert witness by Ontario courts, and used his mechanical expertise to do forensic work with industry businesses.
He was a consultant, a teacher, and became a broadcaster and the star of his own show, Neighbourhood Mechanic, from 2006 to 2009 on Canwest and Global. With his booming voice, and distinctive deep chuckle, he was a natural! You could find Redinger on various radio and tv shows, from the CBC to TSN, with many hours on the air to his name. Dave’s Corner Garage, named after his shop, has been airing on Zoomer Radio and Sirius for 18 years.
Passion for people
All of these served to showcase Redinger’s passion for his work and the people around him. Over the air, he seemed to be having a fun conversation with his team, cracking jokes while explaining to listeners and callers how their issues could be resolved. The easy banter and detailed explanations were his trademark; Redinger believed that consumers should be educated, that auto repair should be a transparent process.
And although Redinger was a gifted mechanic, savvy businessman and mentor, he put all his energy into the task at hand, no matter how large or small. He appreciated how good the industry had been to him, and he wanted to give back. When the Automotive Training Centre asked him to teach pre-apprentice students for a few hours a week, he readily accepted. Those students were fortunate to learn the basics of auto repair, including the business angles, from one of the best.
Everything Dave Redinger did, he did with pride. He loved his work, the people around him; they were like a second family to him. His legacy is certainly something he can be proud of, and those of us who knew him, or read his words in this publication, are better for it. May his memory be for a blessing.