In the United States alone, roughly 750,000 auto mechanics worklong hours diagnosing and repairing and preventing motor vehicleproblems. But thanks to some stereotypicalmedia portrayalsand a jargon-filled vocabulary of automotive parts, peopleoften feel as if their ignorance couldlead technicians to profit of their expertise. This isn’t the case the mechanics claim. They’reavailable to assist. To get a better idea of what their jobis, mental_floss spoke with mechanics frommobile mechanic Raleigh North Carolinaboth independent repair shops as well as dealerships. Here’s a lookat what goes on afterthe car is parked.
1. THEY WISH YOU’D STOP WIPING BOOGERS ON YOUR SEAT.
The car is oftenthe living room of a mobile home,decorated with decorative accessories music, as well as dried snot. Charles the mechanic, who is employed at an Volkswagen dealership, and who runsThe humblemechanic blog, says he’shad his fair share of nose gold while working on cars. “People seem to like picking their nose and wiping it on the seat,” Charlesstates. For a clean job technicians would like you to bring in your vehicle with nobody fluids or other trash in. “Sometimes there’s somedirty clothes on the spare, or fast-food wrappers lying on the floor, which we request customers to take off. A lot of cars are clean, however, peoplecan be gross.”
2. THERE’S A SPECIAL BOOK THAT TELLS THEM WHAT TO CHARGE–EVEN IF IT’S TOO MUCH.
Have you ever left feeling that you’ve paid too much for a repairmobile mechanic Philadelphia PAIt’s possible, but it’s not the sole fault of the shop. Every mechanic workingat a flat-rate (as instead of a per hourrate) refers to an industry trade manual which estimateshow longthe typical repair would take. If you’ve spent, say $200 for a two-hourjob that an experienced mechanic can finishin 30 minutes, you’restill being charged according to the book, andyou won’t receive a refund.
The auto tool industry maycontribute to the blame. “The way it becomes unfair is when a mechanic buys a new specialty tool that may cost $300 but that pays for itself quickly,” says Ryan the former mechanic in Colorado. “It means they can do the job in less time, but the customer still pays for full time.”
3. THEY CAN FIND MICE AND SQUIRRELS STUCK IN YOUR AXLES.
Based on the region of the nation you live in, a car’s warm underbelly can be attractive to rodents and other animals. Charles had seen the acorns being suckedinto hoods, and hascaught a squirrel in the grill’s entrance. “The biggest thing we see [in North Carolina] is chewed wires from mice,” Charlesdeclares. “They’ll build a den inthe air box. I’ve also had the need to scrubdeer guts off.” Should you beplanning to be storing your car for an extendedlength of time Charles suggests that a typeof spray to repel rodents mayassist.
4. THEY MIGHT RUN SOME ERRANDS IN YOUR CAR.
Although few mechanics actuallygo out on joytrips, the fact thatthey aren’t paid for the time required to drive a vehicleyour brand new spotless Honda may develop aketchup stain on the driver’s seat. “Basically, every vehicle needs to be driven to make sure the problem is resolved,” Ryan declares. “If you’re headed out to lunch and you need to confirm that, it makes sense to drive it down the road.”
5. THEY MIGHT RESCUE YOU IN A ROADSIDE EMERGENCY.
Though their individual moralitydiffers, many mechanics feelthat they have a duty to pull over if they see a driver who is stranded. “I do a lot of highway driving in the winter and the rule of thumb is if you see someone stranded on the highway, you stop and check on them,” says Ryan M., a mechanic in Winnipeg. “I’ve also pulled lots of vehicles out of ditches and off curbs.”
6. DEALERSHIPS HAVE ACCESS TO RESOURCES THAT PRIVATELY-OWNED SHOPS DON’T.
If you’ve ever wondered ifyou should bring your out-of-warranty vehicle in for repairsat a local, less expensive owned shop rather than a dealer-brandedbrand, here’s an idea to keep in mind: Many of those smaller shops can’t afford the type of information offered by car makers to helpeffectively diagnose and treatany issue. “We’re able to go deep into the Volkswagen brand,” Charles says. “There are a lot ofresources available to usthat an independent organizationwould not. We can have access to the car’s engineers ifwe require that. The name is an all-alliance. A small shop isn’t going to spend $15,000 annually(for that kind of data) to be a specialist in one type of car. Once they’ve surpassed their range of expertise, it makes more sense to contactdealers.”
7. YOU’RE TECHNICALLY NOT ALLOWED IN THE GARAGE. EVER.
You’ve probably heard aboutmaking a mechanic show youthe defective component to ensurethey’re not justdoing a fake job. This involves going over the prohibited door that reads “Do Not Enter.” But according to Ryan, you’re not actuallyallowed to go back therefor any reason. “Insurance companies don’t want customers in the garage, ever,” hestates. “It’s not that dangerous, but it’s not supposed to happen.”
8. THEY SOMETIMES MAKE THEIR OWN TOOLS.
When mechanics beginby purchasing their own equipment–some even investing in tens of thousands in equipment–there’ll alwaysbe times when they’ll need to think outside the box. “A tool might be missing, or not put back in the right place,” mobile mechanic Long Island NYCharles says. “Or an organizationmay not have the product you need. I have a whole drawer full of sockets and wrenches. Making your own tool isfun.”
9. THEY USE A COOKIE SHEET TO STAY ORGANIZED.
Although mobile phones have provenuseful in keepingtrack of how a partrequires reassembling but some mechanics prefer to keep their work organized by setting out pieces in a specific order. “If I’m working on a vehicle I’ve never seen before, and it’s a complicated job or a job spread out over multiple days like a transmission rebuild or something like that, I’ll take a cookie sheet and magnets and lay things out spatially to stay organized,” Ryan M. says. “You can also mark parts with a Sharpie.”
10. THEY DON’T ALWAYS PERFORM EVERY LITTLE TASK.
Cars brought in to be maintainedare supposed to undergoa litany of small adjustments, however, thatlaundry list of items can beoverlookedaccording to how busy withtimeyour technician is. “Stuff like lubricating door hinges or latching mechanisms gets missed all the time,” Ryan says. “It doesn’t affect performance at that moment, but it can over time.”