If you were a pro-mechanic, how would you handle this situation?

Glad you are well enough to post! Hope your rehab goes well.


I am comfortably settled in the TV room with strict orders not to return to work anytime soon.

By all reports my recovery is going fabulous. In for bypass on Wed, discharged Mon morning, and not even enough pain to need 2 Tylenol. And I feel better than I have in years. I highly recommend it.

Thank you for your concern.

Perhaps the Minnesota way of life is why my mother (from White Bear Lake) incessantly offers coffee to anyone within 50 yards!


The big freebie I have received from professional mechanics is an education. When I was in high school and would take our family cars in for a repair, the mechanic would explain to me in terms I could understand what the problem was and how it caused the symptoms. I had a job mowing the grass around a shop.and the adjoining house where a mechanic lived. I would drift into the shop.after I finished the yard work and the proprietor would explain how he solved a probem.on a car he had repaired. When I would take my dad’s car to the small DeSoto/Plymouth dealer, the head mechanic who was also the service manager would ask me when I would pick up the car after the repair “What do you think was wrong with it?”.
I would have to explain why the repair that was made solved the problem.
I read the “Tales From the Model Garage” in the Popular Science monthly magazine. I never became a mechanic, but the logical reasoning I developed helped me in my math and physics classes.
The mechanics on this board are giving their time for free. I really appreciate it.
@asemaster Thank you for all your responses and have a speedy recovery.


glad to here you are doing well.

A quick return home seems to be the big thing these days. A friend at work had quadruple bypass last June and went home three or four days later. Once you are stable, it’s safer at home since you don’t interact with nearly as many people as you would in the hospital. He has worked from home since then, although he did take two or three weeks off from handling work remotely.

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I used to use the “3 times” rule but then realized how short life is. If you offer to pay me and I refuse once and then you insist on paying me…I take your money. I said no and you insisted on paying me. End of story. I’m not playing the back and forth game and you can’t be upset that I took your money. If you didn’t want to pay me then you should have stopped offering when I refused.

Same thing if I offer to pay you. If you refuse my payment, don’t expect me to keep offering to pay you. I offered, you refused. End of story.

I live my life with one simple rule. Say what you mean and mean what you say. It’s not some sort of game that we have to parse out how many times someone has to ask or refuse before the question or response is valid. Keep it simple folks.


In a carb the fuel is metered with “jets”, small holes that limit the amount to what is correct for the air flow. The power valve is like an extra jet, used in situations when more gas is needed than the jets allow. The PV is always supplied from the fuel bowl, but only opens when the intake manifold vacuum is low, indicating the driver is trying to accelerate rapidly. To make this work there’s a rubber diaphragm between the intake manifold and the fuel bowl. The problem occurs if that diaphragm splits. Which it does occasionally. Ask me how I know :slight_smile: Anyway, when it splits it allows fuel to enter the intake manifold directly at all times, even when the engine is off.

In my own experience w/Ford carbs, that part is quite difficult for a diy’er to replace w/o first removing the carb. So while its not that surprising he had a spare part in his pocket, its sort of surprising your mechanic was able to do the job quickly enough to not charge a fee.

Just to make things a little more confusing, mechanical cognitive dissonance, the “power valve” is often referred to as the “economy valve”. Same part, same function, opposite names … lol …

Good comments all, thanks. I tend to concur w/ @asemaster 's posts above. A work order should be prepared, and a fee should be charged. The only difference, were I that shop owner in that position, I might phone the customer once the connector problem was discovered and inform them there may actually be other problems present, and recommend more testing, but say there’s a chance just reconnecting it up will fix the problem. And if all they wanted me to do was reconnect it, that’s what we’ll do. If so then I’d charge the minimum shop fee, $62.

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I guess I think differently. but then I do not do it for a living. charging a customer to plug in a connection that took 30 seconds. I say no charge. if you have to diagnoses something than its a different story. a happy customer will keep coming back and tell all his friends. a customer that gets charged to just put a connector back in and finds out about it and gets charged $62 might not come back. “Penny wise, Dollar foolish” as the saying goes. and I understand it is a business. but sometimes doing something little for free goes a long way to getting customers to come back and tell others.


It takes much longer than that. The customer describes the problem and the mechanic asks a few questions. This conversation should take between 5 to 10 minutes, maybe another 5 to write up the work order. Then about 5 minutes to drive the car into an open bay. Then the mechanic goes through his trouble shooting routine. Even if the issue is resolved right after opening the hood, that’s another 5 minutes. We are at 20 to 30 minutes at least for a simple task like this, including telling the customer what went wrong. That’s time the mechanic can’t work on something else.


I did diagnose something, a compressor clutch that was not engaging when commanded on. And I found and corrected an open connection causing the malfunction. Once again, if it was easy, the customer would have found it and fixed it. Or they don’t care if the A/C works, since they don’t want to pay for a repair.

So now all this guy’s buddies are going to bring their cars to XYZ Garage where they fix air conditioners for free and expect the same service. Sounds like profit is falling from the sky!!!

If I were to walk into the shop right now (well, it better be closed, for one) out of all the tools, tablets, hoists, scan tools, equipment, laptops, parts, chemicals, etc., that are there, the absolute most valuable thing in inventory are labor manhours. I begin each day with 8 hours per mechanic. And once the day is over those hours are gone, I can never sell them again. If I take a guy off a paying job and have him do a “loose wire” repair for no charge, I have to account for that lost time by either writing it off as a goodwill discount or adding the labor time to another ticket to make the end of day numbers come out even. In other words, I can stick it to the other guy and pass the savings on to you!

Now in reality I’m not that much of a hardass. I do constantly watch the clock all day long and remind the crew that time is relentless. But we routinely install wipers blades or taillight bulbs that you are having trouble with. We’ll air up your tires and reset your TPMS. Or raise up your car to make sure that 2X4 you ran over didn’t hit the oil pan. We do that for free and with a smile. But in @George_San_Jose1 's example, we would have charged the $62 fee. Because either another shop did the work and was sloppy and should be held accountable or the DIY’er did the work and should be held accountable.


I am talking about if you pop the hood and see the connector is not connected and push it back in. like the original question. it took about 30 seconds to do. some people have no clue what they are looking at.

So am I. Doesn’t “diagnosis” mean to identify the cause of a specific malfunction? In this case the cause was identified as a loose wire.

I agree 100%. And that means that those people pay others to do what they can’t do themselves. If I can’t do my own laundry I pay the cleaners to do it. If I can’t fix the Christmas lights on my house I pay the roofing service to do it. How is this any different?

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I think both sides are right. If you can afford it, and it was easy and fast and you feel like making a goodwill gesture, go for it. It’s a nice thing to do. On the other hand, shops that need to charge when a car is in the bay shouldn’t be looked down on for doing so.

If we don’t like everyone charging us for every little thing, then what we’re really saying is that we don’t like capitalism. Or at least, we don’t like capitalism when the money is flowing away from our wallet. :wink:

And keep in mind, even if it does only take 30 seconds, it also took years of training and lots of expensive certifications to be in the position to spend that 30 seconds fixing the customer’s car.

It takes me 10 minutes to do some of my tasks at work, but you can bet I’m not walking into HR and asking them to let me give them a refund.


Yeah, it’s been a looong time ago. He pulled the part off of another carb he had in the shop. Maybe it wasn’t the power valve, but that’s what I seem to remember. Maybe he just replaced the gasket? I do remember it was somewhat external to the main body of the carb (serviceable without disassembling the carb). Motorcraft 2100, like you have, but on an AMC 304 V8.

I was most impressed that he diagnosed it in like 30 seconds. Obviously he’d seen it a time or two. From what I recall, the engine started loping or surging when I was goofing around off road, going over bumps, etc. Pretty shortly thereafter, the engine started running with the lope / surge at idle. That’s when I brought it in to his shop. But yeah, whatever he replaced, he did it in his parking lot while I stood there.

Now I remember. I was on my way to school with my 59 Pontiac. Drove about two blocks and the thing stalled. Almost immediately a guy stopped, took a screwdriver and banged on the carb to unstick the float. Said it probably had a spec of dirt in it. Turns out the guy opened up a new gas station not far from there and was from my room mates home town. Never charged me anything but I did have some work done there from time to time and we both bought gas there. Just good will and a good guy. Man I have learned a lot since 19. I should remember how little I knew then.

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I saw a saying somewhere that said something like:

You aren’t paying me for the 30 minutes it took to fix your car. You are paying me for the accumulated cost to gain the necessary knowledge and experience to correctly fix that problem in your car in only 30 minutes (or 30 seconds).

Makes a lot of sense to me.

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IIRC, Porsche’s 1970 top of the line 911S was just over $10,000 then. Yeh so thirty grand plus was a ton of money.

I once worked as a pump jockey at a gas station. One night a regular came in just at closing time to top off. The alternator belt was squealing a bit and since he was leaving on vacation with the family at that moment asked if we could take a look. It was just a loose belt, 5 minutes to tighten up and he bought gas regularly. The station owner/mechanic was in the process of closing up and told him to bring it back tomorrow. What a schmuck I thought. I had a few tools in my car so I told him to pull it on the street and I’ll tighten the belt. The guy hands me a couple of bucks and now the station owner demands that I give him the money that the guy gave me, a real honest to goodness schmuck. I told him to be fruitful and go multiply himself. He was an all-round dick anyway so I went to work for one of the tanker drivers that said he needed a second driver.

Yes, $32,000 in 1970 would be about $225,000 today.