Today's Crazy Customer Comment

Customer brought in his Ram 2500 pickup for some front end work before he hitched up his trailer and went on a 3 week road trip across the West. We told him he was also due for an oil change and we could take care of that today as well.

His answer: “I’ll do it after the trip. I don’t want to ruin a fresh oil change by putting a bunch of miles on it.”


Engine cost $5 to $10K. Oil change less than $100. Towing which stresses engine. Some folks just don’t get it.

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To quote Bill Engvall… Here’s your sign!


a car that leaks or burns a lot of oil might get 1 new qt each month. why ever change it?

Well another example where buying new instead of used makes some sense if you keep cars a long time. Seems like you just cannot depend on folks taking maintenance seriously especially if you want a two or four year old used car. To reference the thread on folks not wanting to pay new car prices, maybe CR should do a study on the maintenance done on late model lease returns or traded cars. Might be eye opening.

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Shopping hint: installing “myCARFAX” app on the smartphone allows to check the maintenance history by VIN, nothing to pay for it (unlike their accident/ownership history).
This is how I was able to get the detailed past history on last 2 used cars I bought.
Both were maintained very regularly, but it was visible by the inspection too, I’ve only confirmed what I’ve seen myself.

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Good thing he didn’t waste new tires on that road trip!


Concur, that’s illogical given the high cost of major engine repairs & the relatively low price of an oil and filter change. I suppose there are reasons why such a decision might make sense from the owner’s perspective though, planning to sell the vehicle, etc.

I always loved lady in front of me at sears, I could have gotten another 200 miles out of these tires if you did not have a gravel parking lot.


It’s fictional, but I remember the “Tales From the Model Garage” from Popular Science magazine from the 1920s to 1970. Gus Wilson, the proprietor, had one goofy customer, Daisy Allen, who always had an explanation for things. The car would die and not restart when her husband drove the car by himself, but if Daisy rode with him, it ran fine. The car ran fine when Daisy drove the car. Daisy reasoned that her husband was over weight and causing the problem. She reasoned that when she was in the passenger seat, she helped balance the car
Gus finally discovered when her husband drove the car by himself, he used his car key which was on a ring with many keys. When Daisy was along or driving by herself, her key was used. The problem was a worn ignition lock.
There were other episodes that involved Daisy’s convoluted reasoning.


Was Daisy Allen the customer who complained that her car didn’t run well when she hung her purse on the “purse hook”? Gus finally figured-out that the customer in question would pull-out the manual choke control and use it to hang her purse.


@VDCdriver. Daisy was the one. The story would be lost on the younger generations. Most of them haven’t seen a hand choke.
My 1950 Chevrolet pickup had a hand choke and a hand throttle I could pull out to increase the idle speed.

So did my 1972 Fiat 128. I read decades of Hints From the Model Garage, thanks to Popular Science magazines my dad and his dad saved starting in the 1920s through the 1970s or so. Gus modeled the kind of thinking that helps situations get understood and problems resolved.

Even my Briggs pressure washer now has no choke. Expecting starting problems I was trying to figure out how to put a manual choke on it. I have a feeling this fine Saturday Fall morning that that term may be deemed something we can’t say anymore though.

And a foot pedal to engage the starter! My dad has a 1950 Chevy pickup. I drove it for a while in high school. I’d be reluctant to drive it today as a “daily driver”. No power steering or power brakes, drivers seem more aggressive today, and the speed limit on the highway is 70 (I doubt the truck would go over 55 mph, I don’t recall ever trying even as an irresponsible high school kid).

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@Scrapyard_John My 1947 Pontiac and my 1950 Chevrolet pickup each had a starter pedal. Simple system–as you stepped on the pedal it pushed the starter pinion gear into the flywheel and closed the switch to the starter motor. There were no solenoids or relays to go bad.
My Dad’s 1939 Chevrolet as well as a choke and throttle and.a floor pedal for the starter, had an emergency crank that was inserted at the bottom of the grill. I saw my Dad start the engine on the 1939 Chevrolet with the hand crank when the battery was low.

I had the opposite experience. I was driving a 1993 Chevy Corsica at the time and the family was getting ready to embark on a 1200+ mile round trip to the Dallas area. I told our mechanic I wanted an oil change prior to the trip. He said the car would be fine and I could change the oil when we returned. I stopped at a Jiffy Lube on the way out of town. It was worth it for my peace of mind.

The last car I drove with a hand choke was a 1977 Corolla with a 1.2 liter engine. It was actually a semi automatic choke. You pulled it out to start and when the car warmed up it would engage a relay that would disengage the choke. The knob would then slide back into its original position via a spring. Never seen anything else like it.

I expect there are even weirder “fails to start” problems these days. Like the driver gets in the car and puts their briefcase on another seat, then it won’t start b/c the computer senses there’s somebody sitting in a seat where the seat belt isn’t fastened.

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Well, I’ve never had a car with a manual choke (or any car from before the 80s), but my riding lawn mower has one, as did my motorcycle. :slight_smile:

@strickerje Back in the carburetor days, I preferred a manual choke to an automatic choke. At the university where I was employed, we had a gated parking lot. In cold weather, someone would get as far as the gate and the engine on the car would die and the person couldn’t restart the engine. This would hold up traffic leaving the lot. I would have the motorist pull the hood release and I would manually open the choke and have the person start the engine.
My last car with a carburetor was a 1978 Oldsmobile Cutlass. Between 30 and 50 degrees, the automatic choke would release too soon. The car would be o.k. for the first half mile, then stumble for half a mile, and then smooth out. Above 50 degrees, the choke would open and all would be fine. Below 30 degrees, the choke would remain partially closed for the first mile and all would be fine. I never had the automatic choke adjusted in the 33 years I owned the car as I was afraid it would make things worse. However, I could operate a hand choke and been able to have the engine run smoothly under all conditions.