Mechanics Tell Their Favorite Customer-Related Stories

January 15th, 2016 by

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A car mechanic may be one of the most underappreciated professions. These professionals are responsible for fixing our vehicles, thus preventing any future accidents or collisions. Without these repairmen, we’d be forced to fix these issues ourselves… and you can only imagine the various problems that would lead from there.

Of course, these mechanics aren’t devoid of ignorant customers, as they consistently have to deal with some peculiar consumers. Whether these patrons regrettably installed faulty parts, attempted to fix an issue themselves, or attempted to avoid a trip to the mechanic by doing some finagling, these repairmen are more than happy to help. Of course, we appreciate it when they pass along these stories, and we’ve compiled some of the sillier tales below.

You don’t want to be the driver who has everybody at the Chevy certified service center in Albany, New York talking. If you want to hold yourself to a bit of standard, see some of the silly mistakes fellow drivers have made (and do your best to remember and subsequently avoid these issues)…

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This first story, via Chris Perkins of Jalopnik.com, explains why you should never cheap out on car parts, especially when they’re vital pieces of the vehicle. Sure, opting for cheaper imports from China may save you a couple of dollars… but you may find yourself in an even bigger financial hole when these parts suddenly fail.

“[The customer] had a Mercury Grand Marquis and decided he wanted it to be a Donk. He even bought the cheesy “24s” decal from Pep Boys before he got his rims. He was in at least once a month with slow leaks because he bought the awful and cheap Chinese wheels and never avoided potholes (skinny 30-series tires, + weak aluminum = square wheels with bent rims).

We were constantly repairing his rims trying to get them to stop leaking (they weighed at least 80 lbs by the way and NOBODY wanted to work on them. Removing and mounting skinny tires is the absolute worst. It usually takes two or three people just to get them mounted). To make these massive rims fit he had to use a lift kit, but was too cheap to buy the extended shocks and just bought the springs.

One day we were jacking up the front of his car to repair a wheel when *BANG* something broke. After our hearts started beating again we looked under the car…the shock shaft had sheared in half. After however many miles of being stretched way past its limits, the stock strut had snapped.

Luckily it was the front, which is a factory coilover, so the spring kept the shock from flying out and killing someone. Lucky for him it happened when we were working on it instead of when he hit another pothole. Otherwise he’d probably have won a Darwin Award.”

This next tale, brought to you from a poster at the City-Data.com forums, shows the general automotive ignorance that mechanics have to deal with daily. However, while the woman in this story may look a bit foolish, she actually did the right thing. If you think anything it wrong with your vehicle, send it into a repair show as soon as possible.

“An old lady brought her new Olds 88 in to our dealer, complaining of a “whirring” sound from “up front”. Our head tech took it for a test drive, came back, couldnt replicate the sound. So we sent the little old lady on her way. About 30 minutes later she comes back complaining about the sound again. The head tech offered to go on a ride with her, so she could point out the sound. They were gone about 10 minutes when I stepped outside for a smoke and saw the tech with the hood popped, pointing into the engine bay and explaining the problem to her. She left and he came walking up. I asked him what the deal was, he said she was unaware that it was the radiator fan kicking on and off. He assured her the noise is normal, and its a good thing she’s hearing it because it means that its working properly.”

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Our final story is from Freddy Hernandez of Jalopnik.com. This is an example of the “automotive illiterate” taking matters into their own hands. As always, we’d suggest getting any issue examined (and subsequently fixed, if applicable) by a professional mechanic. No matter how much you may know about cars, there’s a good chance that you’re going to mess something up as you attempt to do the repair yourself…

One weekday we pulled in a 2nd Generation (‘91-’95) Ford Taurus Wagon into Bay #1. I was doing under hood, manager was doing cashier/paper work and of course we had a guy in the pit. I guided the middle aged woman driving into the bay and the manager greeted her and a senior woman (her mother or mother in law most likely) who was shotgun. The manager goes through the normal routine; park, engine off, pop hood.I open the hood and things looked mostly normal, I do not hear a peep from the tech downstairs in the pit. I take out the dipstick, wipe it, re-insert and pull out and notice something very unusual. The level was over filled, not by a little bit like say 1/8in, more like 2-2.5in over the full mark. At this point I take a knee to consult the tech downstairs and notify him of the situation. I am greeted with extremely wide eyes and whispers to me that “There is oil everywhere down here [on the car].” So I try to get the managers attention who attempting to sell the engine flush. He gets irritated at me as I try to interrupt him, but cuts the conversation short with the women. Both of us notify him of the situation and he checks the oil and brings the dipstick to the woman “Ma’m your engine is WAY overfilled!!!”She then tells us the story; She noticed that in the parking garage/place of her apartment that “kids” were draining the oil from cars (most likely enthusiasts doing an oil change marathon for neighbours/friends).

Paranoid that they had drained the oil out of her car she had gone and bought a couple of jugs of oil. She had then proceeded to fill up the 3.8L Essex V6 until she saw the oil level at the fill neck! Confident there was now oil in the engine, she drove the car. Probably do to the huge bunch of blue smoke, she had determined that there was a problem with the oil and brought the car in for a change. She had never consulted the dipstick, probably out of ignorance.We regrettably informed her that we couldn’t take the liability of working on the car due to the fact that there might be internal damage. She requested that we drain some out but the manager stuck to his guns and said that if it had got here it could make it to the mechanic. So we rolled her (preformed no service) with the engine still overfilled and told her to go a couple blocks to a mechanic.

Don’t be one of the customers mentioned above. Many of these stories could have been avoided had the driver simply understood more about their vehicle. It’s essential that you give your car’s manual a good read, and you won’t be the punchline to a mechanic’s funny story.

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