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Most bizarre customer

Anybody on the automotive business has had their share of bizarre, creepy and/or weird customers or situations. And all of us wish we would have put these to ink and paper since some are priceless. Not the most funny but the first example I can think of is…

I have lifted the customers vehicle (about a 68 Deville)into the air and after giving it an undercar inspection I informed him he needs a fuel tank. There was a hole in the front of the tank just above the seam about the size of a large orange. He gazed at the hole and quietly said" So, that’s where my gas has been going".


The Ford Galaxy that had a portion of the frame perforated from rust and the owner repaired it with a broom stick and chicken wire.

What is your story?

I had a guy come in one time asking me to figure out why his car would shake when he got over 30 MPH. When I checked out the car, he had rigged up a coat hanger to hold a ball joint from being pulled out of it’s socket. That’s the first one I can think of.


That reminds me of the guy who came in driving an old style Beetle asking us to find the rattle on the right side. I hopped in drove 10 feet and hit the brakes, backed up and stopped. Then I opened the glove box and pulled out the extra lug nuts. Rattle gone.

Guy coasted into the gas station, very flat tire. “How much to fix it?” “$2” “$2??? That’s a lot of money!!” Off he drove…

I’ve got a number of them but the broom stick/chicken wire and coat hangering a ball joint together is pretty stunning. Wow.

We had a guy from out of town bring in a Subaru for a clutch job and he was going to sit in the waiting room because I could knock these out in a couple of hours.
After the job was finished and the paperwork turned it the customer wanted to ask the tech (me) a couple of random questions. No problem.

This car had a large bullet hole in the drivers door, and on the inside. However, no bullet hole, which was big enough to easily stick my thumb in, appeared in the center console.
As we walked out to the car I asked the guy about the story behind the bullet hole since he had a pretty good limp and used a cane.

He said he had a friend do a drive-by on him one night with the intention of collecting some insurance money and giving his buddy a cut for pulling the trigger.
Apparently there was a lack of communication between the two of them about what type of gun was to be used. The Subaru owner assumed a .22 or other small caliber gun and the buddy apparently decided to do a bang-up job with a .44 Magnum.

There were also no apparent hard feelings because his buddy the triggerman was with him and they even chuckled a bit about this.
Must have collected big time is all I can think of. Morons.

I had a customer who would watch you as you worked on his car. The problem was he would be right on top of you looking over your shoulder.

I was doing a transmission service on his car and he was constantly in the way while I was working, I warned him a couple of times that when I remove the transmission pan bolts the pan could drop suddenly and he could get fluid splashed all over him. He wouldn’t listen and continued to be in my way, so I removed the last pan bolt and sure enough the pan came loose before I could grab it and he got soaked in fluid. Needless to say he left me alone after that.

I worked at a dealership which was close to an interstate, so we got a lot of out-of-state stuff from the highway. One time a couple of “hippy” types (this was back in 1975, when there were a few hippies still around), came off the highway with an overheating VW Bug, all done-up as a peace bug. We diagnosed an almost shredded fan belt due to debris in the engine compartment, it was like a rat’s nest. One of the hippies, in an attempt to save money, decided to clean the rats nest out himself, with the car running, I still don’t know why. I heard a scream and found the guy holding his head . . . a big pieces of his long hair and scalp was ripped of, caught in the fan belt. He decided to pay us to complete the clean-out. Rocketman

We had a guy come in reporting a noise coming from the front, passenger wheel. Come to find that the rotor had rusted away so bad, only a ring of metal was left and it was rattling around the hub. The caliper pads were touching each other. I’m amazed the pistons didn’t come out of the bore and leak all the fluid out. When we told him how much it would cost, he had us put it back together and drove off in a huff.

Have you seen the picture of the guy who came in reporting a vibration at 70mph? The techs found the remains of an entire mattress wrapped around the driveshaft!!! All of the wire and some of the material wrapped around the driveshaft. It’s an amazing sight. And to think he hit the mattress and kept going…whazzat, did I hit something???

I think we have a winner!

When I was a teen-ager, I did clean-up work and cut the grass around the shop for a mechanic. This mechanic told me about a customer, an old fellow, that had a 1946 Buick Roadmaster. The old fellow brought the Buick in for a clutch because it slipped badly. These Buicks had a torque tube drive, so the back axle had to be dropped to remove the transmission to replace the clutch. My boss replaced the clutch and the car checked out fine. However, a couple of months later the old fellow was back with the same problem. Again the clutch was replaced. After another couple of months, the Buick came back with another clutch that was shot. The clutch was replaced and my boss decided to ride with the old gentlemam and observe him driving the car. The old man only released the clutch to the friction point and drove with the clutch slipping. When the mechanic pointed out the problem, the old man said, “This is the only way I can drive a car. I don’t complain about having to have clutches replaced, so don’t complain about my driving”.

When I was shopping in an auto supply store I was asked a strange question by a young Scottish fellow. He had a VW bug and the heater did not work (what else is new?). He had located a small in-car heater that you plug into a 110 volt AC outlet to keep your car interior warm overnight, and he wanted to plug it onto the cigarette lighter socket to replace the car heater. He asked my help in finding an adaptor plug to replace the 3 prong AC plug.

Since the in-car heater was only $19.95, and fixing the VW heater more than 10 times that amount, this appealed to his Scottish sense of frugality.

I had some difficulty explaining that the in-car heater was 750 watts AC, and even if he could get it to work, it would quiclky finish off his under dash wiring and his alternator.

Since the poor lad had no technical training whatsoever, he was sorely disappointed and probably bought a heavy blanket to stay warm in his Bug.

I found a link to the pics here-

just google on driveshaft mattress and you’ll find a bunch of instances if this one doesn’t work for you.

Good Grief! Wouldn’t have to worry about the U-joint coming apart though.

I vote for this one.

I don’t care how long ago it was. If $2 is “a lot of money,” you really have to wonder how the guy put gas in the tank.

I was inspecting a fellow’s Cadillac once and found a bad ball joint. The socket was literally ready to fall out, I’m talking about an inch or more of play in it. I brought the customer into the shop to show him how badly he needed this job done, shone a flashlight on it so he could see it, and shook the front end for him. He immediately became very angry at me and said, “Don’t do that! You’re going to make that thing fall out! I have to drive this car to Chicago this afternoon!” I told him that, given the condition of the ball joint, he was lucky to make it to the shop and would be incredibly lucky to make it out of the parking lot, let alone 150 miles down the Interstate. Needless to say, he left without having any work done and I never saw him again.


If a $2 going rate for repair is a lot of money…how old is texases ?

Thought of another one: Had a customer bring in a car for grinding brakes. The car needed pads and rotors front and rear, at a cost of around $500. The rear discs had been grinding for a very long time, as the inboard pad backing plate and rotor were much thinner than they should have been, on both sides. The customer said it was too much money and there was no way they could afford to do the work, so put it back together and pull it out. I watched as they drove out of the parking lot as BOTH REAR INBOARD PADS FELL OUT OF THE ANCHOR IN THE PARKING LOT!!! The car came back on a hook less than thirty minutes later with both rear caliper pistons shoved into the rotors, rear wheels locked up. The rear calipers were about $300 apiece, pushing the estimate to around $1200 with tax. For some reason, it was no longer too much money, perhaps since they rendered the car undriveable.

It’s when the car stops, and won’t go, that one takes it to the repair shop. Seems rational, doesn’t it?

Another one. Only this wasn’t a customer, it was a friend.

He asked if I could check the ignition timing on his 70 Nova. He brings it over, and when I opened the hood, I could see that the crank damper was covered in crud where you couldn’t see the timing marks. So I grab a can of brake cleaner and from the top sprayed off the damper. Couldn’t see the timing marks. So I get under the front of the car to spray the damper from underneath. Just I started spraying the brake cleaner, he looks under the hood to see what I’m doing. All of sudden there’s this loud scream. I’ve never seen a person do the Curly wo-wo-wo spin on the garage floor before!