Do you hate going to a repair shop and spending hundreds and sometimes thousands of dollars on one repair? “I don’t see why I should pay someone so much to work on my car.” Ladies and gentlemen, you have no idea. I’m turning wrenches for a living.
I literally bust my knuckles every day doing anything ranging from the basic oil change to removing deceased pests from tiny crevices in the dashboard. Yes. You could save a ton of money if you worked on your car yourself. You probably don’t have a lift though, or special diagnostic tools. Disposal of harmful chemicals is difficult as well. You can’t just leave anti-freeze out to poison the raccoons that raid your trash. Motor oil cannot just be absorbed by mother earth like the dinosaurs it came from. No. Mobil 1 is not organic. Lastly we’re trained to know what to do in certain situations or for repairs. What might take you a month to figure out, we could have nailed down in half an hour. This is why we get paid to do what we do.
Sometimes its not enough though. I’ve mentioned it in earlier posts, but its worth mentioning again. I hate bringing a car into the shop and having to go through all the customers personal stuff in order to do the necessary work. Those french fries you dropped between your seat and console? Yup I have to dig through that time to time. I find condoms, underwear (sometimes dirty), food, phones, dead rodents. You name it, its probable I’ve found it in a car I’ve been working on. I had the worst car the other day. The entire interior was trashed It smelled of rot because there was so much food trash and garbage. I’m sure at some point pests had taken up residence as well. Why do people trash their cars? Do they think that its convenient to have all these old receipts around? Condoms I can understand I guess. Bringing in a car with soiled undies is just down-right disgusting and says volumes of the way you live. It would be nice to tack-on a slob charge for working through a mess of filth.
The other thing that bothers me is that people that withhold important information. Case in point: A car was towed in today for a no-start problem. After a lot of swearing (part of the process) and working the throttle I was able to get the car to start in a cloud of dark smoke. Hours passed as I tried to figure out why the oxygen sensors were dead, the fuel trim maxed out, and it wouldn’t cold start to save its life. All the sensors were reading correctly (for a bad running car) and passed test after test. Numerous parts were swapped. After a couple hours of swearing at the car with no result I resorted to a phone call the customer to beg and plead for more information. “My wife filled the tank last night and this morning the car wouldn’t start.” I was beside myself with frustration. To think that I spent all that time trying to diagnose something on a perfect car when in reality it was just the owner’s wife had filled the car with E85, really very bad gas, or some undiscovered liquid that happened to exist in one corner of Maryland. Had that been mentioned up-front I could have saved my curse words for fixing another car and saved the customer some money. Time is extremely valuable in the business of auto repair and if I spend a lot of time testing, monitoring, and swearing its money thats being spent in one way or another. Even if the detail is small, it could wind-up being the big help that drops my time involved and your repair bill. Please be upfront with every detail.
Regular servicing of your car IS necessary. Pretty much all the fluids in a car break down after time. These fluids and some wear prone components need replacement. When a car is in for service, we often look the car over for any other work that needs to be done or at the very least noted. Please don’t hate on us for writing a vehicle up for these. If we didn’t, you wouldn’t know and it prevents cars from being broken down on the side of the highway. Taking your car to Lubey-Lube or wherever is fine and good for an oil change (though some places can botch something that easy). As a trained tech though, we know to to look for certain things. We can can properly fix it as well.
I realize that I’ve basically been ranting the last few paragraphs but to be honest, I love working on cars. I love fixing something. I love taking something and making it better. I love my job. I will sometimes cut-back on my labor charges to help a customer or get a car in better over-all shape so it can be on the road longer. Sometimes people and situations detract from the experience but its all part of the deal. We’re not out to get you. We provide a service like any other business out there. I know you don’t like having a broken car and I don’t want you to have a broken car. We don’t like having rare come-backs for misdiagnosis or improper repair. Happy customers make happy technicians make happy customers. Its a really a cycle. I love my job. I must be doing something right.
I’d like to end this post with a couple notes.
-I work underneath cars ALL DAY LONG for a living. If I invite you under your car while its in the air, its ok to walk under it.
-Even the littlest bit of information can be crucial when diagnosing a car. Please provide it.
-Don’t stand over our shoulders or drone on. I wouldn’t do it to you while you were trying to work.