Found It On The Internet

     A customer comes into the office the other day with a hand
full of papers about his car. Each page was full of information and
diagrams pertaining to a repair he wanted done.  He was extremely
proud of himself, and proceeded to tell me how he found this wealth of
knowledge on the internet. 

     You know, I think the internet is great, super in fact.
(Imagine what it will be like in the future.) I use the internet all
the time myself.  I attend automotive classes, buy things,
watch videos, chat with friends, emails, etc… It’s endless what you
can find or do on the net.  But, I draw the line at some of the sites that give out information to the unsuspecting public, and inform them they have found some miracle cure for a certain aliment on their car. 

           Perhaps, some of it is useful. Perhaps, some of it is better information than I gather from all my technical resources and the manufacturers, but I’d rather check the source before calling something I found on the net as the all knowing, never to be doubted information for automotive repair.  Let’s just say, I’m more than a little skeptical.

     Needless to say this guy was insistent I take a look at his information, and read up on what I was to do.  Turns out, what he was looking at was some sort of way to correct a faulty dash circuit in a Lexus.  All the pages were of photographic quality and very detailed in the descriptions on how the repair was to be made. From the few quick skims I took of the information, it appeared to be a bypass to the dash circuit by soldering a wire from one part to another. 

            The one thing I thought was a little quirky was the solder gun the demonstrator was holding in the photos.  It   was an old Weller soldering gun, the kind with the little light bulb sticking out below the soldering tip.  I haven’t used one of those in years. Oh come on, you’re going to solder a little circuit lead with the bulbous end of one of these relics?

           These days I’ve got everything from desk top, high powered dental tip soldering guns that will get hot in about 3 or 4 seconds to the butane portable units that have several different tips.  Those old Weller’s were great for putting together your electric erector set motor leads, but I certainly wouldn’t use one on a tiny solder joint on a modern circuit board.

            I pointed it out to my all-so-proud/all-knowing customer, but he didn’t see it as a problem.  He was more interested in the results that were on the last page of his internet find.  I, on the other hand, wanted to know what information other than these few pieces of paper he had that could back up his claim that this was going to fix his problem.  Furthermore, was his problem even in the dash to begin with? 

           “Sir, I really think I should test your car, before I take the dash out,” I told him.

            "No, I’ve already had it checked out at the dealership. They want to sell me a new dash, and I’m not doing that. It’s way too expensive.  That’s why my friend and I found this on the internet. I’m absolutely sure this will fix it.”

           I read the material he brought a little more carefully, and I’ll have to admit it did sound convincing, but I still had my doubts.  I’ve run across these “wonder-cures” on the net before.  Quite frankly, I don’t think I want to try them on a customer’s car. They’re more of a curiosity to me. I do believe there are smarter people out there who can surpass the design ideas of the car manufacturers, but I don’t think these people are dumb enough to give away their “great-idea” to the mass market for free. 

           “I’ll even take the dash out and bring it to you,” my proud customer went on to tell me.

           Now, there’s a kick in the old tool box for ya.  He’s going to help me out, and bring me the dash.  Well, well, well… the one thing that is probably the “most likely not” to get screwed up in this whole ordeal is the one part he wants to help me with.

           “Sir, if you’ve got the dash out, and you have these drawings and directions, why don’t you get a soldering gun and make the repair yourself?  You don’t need me for any of this; you’ve got all the directions right here to do it, and they seem easy to follow.  All you need is one of these old Weller soldering guns, and you could copy the procedure exactly,” I said, while pointing at the smoke coming off of the solder gun in the photos. 

           “No, I’d rather have a professional do it.”

           I guess that means me.  Now I’ve exchanged a lot of dashes in my time, and I’ve even soldered a few joints back together.  I’ve also swapped a few stepper motors for gauges and things like that.  But to take advice from an internet source that I know nothing about… hmmm… I think not.  I can’t imagine what “professional” would take on a project based on the information I had in front of me. 

           Let’s think about this for a minute.  There are some sort of odd ball directions found on the internet by a customer, who is offering to remove the dash and bring it to you…BUT, he wants you as the “professional” to solder the wires onto his expensive dash.  Really? I think I can guess the eventual outcome of all this.   I’ll bet he wants the “professional” to take the blame and responsibility if it doesn’t work the way he expects it to after the Weller soldering job is done. Even if he says, “I’ll take the responsibility.”  Believe me, if it doesn’t work… it’s your smoking solder gun he’s going to point the blame at. 

           “Sorry sir, that’s not going to happen, I would rather diagnose it, repair it, or replace the dash according to the information I have.  I can’t take the word of some website this is going to work.  The responsibility is not theirs to make sure this is fixed correctly--it’s mine.  You’re just assuming this information you found on the internet is correct.  I can’t take the chance, even if you tell me that you wouldn’t hold me responsible if it didn’t work. I’m still not going to do it, sorry.”

           With that my proud customer gave me the stare of shame.  Oh you know the stare… that glare from across the room, the mumbling under their breath and snarling Elvis lip quiver.  Yea, I’ve seen it before; sorry it still isn’t going to make me try some internet voodoo on your car, buddy. 

           After the customary stare and glare were over, he gathered up his paper work and headed out to his car without another word. 

           I don’t know what he ever did, for all I know he found
somebody else to do it.  At least it wasn’t me.  Maybe if I do
some checking myself I might find out this guy was right and
it really did work.

           At least then I could say… “I found it on the internet.”