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Dumb Girl or True Story?

I took my car in for an oil chance, and it was running fine when I got it back. A few days later, it wouldn’t start at all. I opened the hood and found half a slice of pizza sitting on the battery, blocking the air intake. I was stunned to see food in there and then it occurred to me that the mechanic must’ve been eating while he worked on my car! When I tried to start the car again, it started just fine. When I talked to the manager, he said it wasn’t one of his people and thought it was left by a squirrel or rodent. He also said that it’s quite common to find food in car engines. I’m young and female. Was the manager playing the dumb girl card? It seems more than a little unbelievable, but I don’t have a ways to refute it.

Rhodents have been known to drag food into spaces under the hood for storage, especially this time of year. And portals into induction systems (like the entry to your aircleaner) look like great nesting sites to the average rhodent.

But, to be on the safe side, monitor your oil level daily for a week. And check your air filter box for evidence of rhodents.

If you find any evidence of rhodents, try “Critter Ridder” from the hardware store. It can be purchased in a spray bottle and it allegedly is very irritating to rhodents.

A half slice of pizza sitting on top of the battery was blocking the air intake? I’ve never seen a configuration like that. Was it the engine air intake or the radiator air intake that was blocked? If the engine, I doubt any serious damage was done. If the radiator was blocked and our car overheated, that’s more of a concern as there may be some yet unseen damage.

If it is one of those chain places, I bet they left the pizza.
Those guys are morons.

If the pizza was resting on top of the battery there is very little chance it caused a problem but a mechanic so inattentive that he left his lunch under your hood could have left something loose or improperly installed. And, if you had left the pizza on the battery and returned to the shop complaining of some noise the result might have been both informative and entertaining.

If you left your cellphone in your car, perhaps a mouse called a pizza place and had the pizza delivered. Just be glad you didn’t leave the keys in the car or the mouse would have driven to the pizza place.
In all seriousness, I doubt that a mouse was responsible. I would bet on the mechanic.

+1 for an inattentive mechanic. I also think that the garage has poor shop practices if they allow their employees to eat and drink on the job. There should be a separate area for them to eat lunch so that food does not fall into places it doesn’t belong, like your battery. Find a new shop.

The problem with all of us is we want to believe. We would rather try to believe an outlandish story instead of using common sense because disbelieving means that someone that you don’t even know is lying to you over something idiotic, which breaks our trust in our fellow humans and makes life suck a little more, while making it harder to trust people in the future.

I seriously doubt some amnesiac woodchuck left a half slice of pizza under your hood. (unless it was Cottage Inn pizza, in which case he should have just dropped it in the sewer) No, some inattentive fool left part of his lunch on your battery. And yum, just think, if he had picked it up, he was eating it with whatever crud had accumulated on your battery, which speaks volumes to what sort of person this was, unless you keep your battery spotless.

This is just one of the reasons I prefer to do my own automotive work when I’m not feeling too lazy or the project isn’t too complex. At least if I F up my own car, I have no one to blame but myself.

While rodents do indeed carry all kinds of things into cars, my vote is with the others that this was a mechanic error problem; or jiffy lube employee if that’s the case.

OP, to illustrate how far rodents will go a VW was towed in to us once and this car would barely run while belching black smoke.
The cause was dried dog food that had been stashed inside the airbox where the air filter resides.
The rats had apparently gnawed their way in and made a lot of trips back and forth; eventually packing the airbox to the point where the engine could hardly breathe.

I also vote for mechanic error.

A couple of years ago I drove down to the auto parts store to replace my air filter. The little truck had started to lose power and run badly overall. When I pulled the top of the filter housing I was greeted with hundreds of acorns packed into every nook and cranny of the housing. I threw the acorns away, cleaned the housing, replaced the filter and flimsy air hose which fixed the problem. My neighborhood has hundreds of squirrels so I check the flimsy hose often.

This is the first time I have ever heard of squirrels delivering pizza! Yes, the manager must have tried to BS you, rather than acknowledge that he has poorly trained and careless staff.

We usually hear about the oil plug not installed or installed improperly, resulting in the oil leaking out and destroying the engine, or no oil put in at all. My father-in-law had this happen on a Buick which he left for an oil change at a department store’s auto service center.

I would not take your car to this place again; find a reliable indepenent shop.

The best advice is to always check your oil before leaving the place that just changed your oil. In your case you might have had the added benefit of getting a free slice of pizza with your oil change.

You know, strange things happen. Sometimes you see something and you don’t tell anyone because you know that if you heard the story from someone else, you would not believe them. In this case, if I had seen a mouse carry a slice of pizza up on a battery and stuff it into the snorkel of an air filter, I would not tell that to the customer, or anyone else for that matter.

The girl is not the dumb one here.