The Darndest Things... 

    The misunderstandings and second-hand information that get passed around by car 
owners when it comes to automobile repair are endless. Although, a trained technician 
or an understanding service writer can work through a lot of these issues. But, there 
are times the explanation of said problems just make ya wonder if there really is any 
common sense left in the world. 

    Here’s a few timeless stories from the service bays.

It’s Simple

Customer: “Four hours to replace my radiator is way too much. It’s a simple procedure 
that shouldn’t take more than a few minutes to do. It only has two hoses hooked to it!”

Mechanic: “The labor rate is what it is. We charge by the hour based on the labor time. 
Some radiators are easier and some are not. Yours is not.”

Customer: “There should be a cheaper way to do this. Something I can afford.”

Mechanic: “So, how are you with hand tools? You could do the job yourself ya know.”

Customer: “I’ve got the tools but, I just don’t know how.”

Mechanic: “Even if it’s as simple as you claim it is?”

Long pause....

Customer: “Can you have it done today?”

Repair Without Diagnosing

Mechanic: “I found your stalling problem. It’s an elbow shaped vacuum hose on the back of the engine hidden under the intake manifold. It’s going to take a bit of work to get to it and the dealership parts department is the only place that has this specially shaped hose. Your estimate is $xxx.xx. That’s the labor, parts and diagnostic fees all included.”

Customer: “OK, I’m fine with that except for the diagnostic part. You should give that to me for free. Because I’m not paying you to do diagnose it just to fix it. I don’t see why you guys have to charge just to find the problem.”

Mechanic: “Well, I guess we could do what you suggested and that’s to replace the entire engine. That would be $x,xxx.xx. Which is why we discussed diagnosing it rather than assuming it needed a complete engine. So, which would you prefer?”

Customer: “No, I think the diagnostic charge is just fine. Go ahead with the repair.”

Closing Time Repair

Caller: “I’m calling about a car I needed fixed on Friday and you guys were too busy to get to it.”

Service writer: “Have you been to our shop before, and did they tell you why they couldn’t get to it?”

Caller: “No, I’ve never been to your shop before, and yes they did tell me why they couldn’t get to it. It was 5 minutes before closing time and all the techs had already gone home for the weekend.”

Service writer: “That’s understandable it was a rather slow day for the techs. We would have got to the car on Monday.”

Caller: “I took the car to another shop that was open on the weekend and they messed it up. So, I’m calling you to take care of the bill.”

Service writer; “What bill? You didn’t have the work done here.”

Caller: “I’m talking about the bill from the other shop. You’re going to take care of it!”

Service writer: “I don’t think that’s going to happen sir, and I’m sorry your car didn’t get into our shop. As far as the bill and the work that was done you’ll have to take that up with the other shop.”

Caller: “I’m never do any work with your shop ever again!” CLICK

Coupon Discounted

Mechanic: “Good morning, how can I help you?”

Caller: “Yes, I have a coupon for an oil change.”

Mechanic: “Ma’am, we don’t and never have had, a coupon for an oil change.”

Caller: “Yea, it’s a coupon for one of those discount oil/lube places. But, I actually can’t find it. I made a copy of it with a program on my computer.”

Mechanic: “I can’t honor another shops coupon, and I don’t think they’ll honor a homemade copy of their coupon either.”

Caller: “I know, I tried to use it there. It’s a fake coupon and they knew it. So, can you take my fake coupon for an oil change anyway?”

Mechanic: “Your fake coupon is only good for a fake oil change. Neither of which we’ll do.”

Gas Mileage Gone 

Customer: “I just bought this car and now it doesn’t go.”

Mechanic: “It’s out of gas ma’am.”

Customer: “That’s impossible! The guy that sold it to me said it would get better gas mileage than my old car!”

Mechanic: “The tank is empty ma’am.”

Customer: “My old car could go a month without gas. This one only went 3 weeks. How in the world is that possible? My old car holds 22 gallons and gets 10 mpg and I filled this one up and it holds 15 gallons and it gets 12 mpg! ”

Mechanic: “Ma’am, 22 gallons times 10 miles per gallon is 220 miles per tank. But, a car with a 15 gallon tank that gets 12 mpg can only go 180 miles per tank. You simply ran out of gas.”

Customer: “I just don’t get it. I think you’re making this all up and are siding with the guy who sold me the car!”

Brake Check

Customer: “Can you check brakes here?”

Service writer: “Yep, we sure can. What kind of car is it?”

Customer: “It’s a Mercedes.”

Service writer: “OK, where are the keys? I’ll have one of the guys pull it into the service bay.”

Customer: “I walked here.”

Service writer: “Well, as soon as you can get the car to us we’ll check it out.”

Customer: “You said you could check my brakes, so I need to know how bad they are and how much it will cost.”

Service writer: “I’ll need to see the car to give you an estimate.”

Customer: “How do you guys can stay in business saying you can check brakes at the same time not being able to tell me how bad the brakes are on my Mercedes?”

Service writer: “I could send a tow truck for the car.”

Customer: “What car?”

Service writer: “Your Mercedes.”

Customer: “I don’t have a Mercedes. I told you I walked here.”

Service writer: “I mean your Mercedes you want us to check the brakes on.”

Customer: “I don’t own a Mercedes. Whatever gave you that idea? I just want an estimate on fixing them.”

Service writer: “If they’re in awful shape, it will cost whatever the parts are plus whatever the labor would be. If they’re in perfect shape they won’t need a thing done and you wouldn’t have to spend a dime on the brakes.”

Customer: “Thanks, that’s all I needed to know. I’m going to go find one with good brakes then.”

    Everybody has their own unique way of explaining things. Some on point while others are so far off that even if you could give a logical answer, the answer isn’t always exactly what they wanted to hear at all. 

    Just goes to show, that some people will say the darndest things to the person behind the counter. For the professional mechanic, it’s just another day in paradise.  


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