What crazy things have you mechanics been asked to do?


Yes, people have lost the whole idea of personal responsibility. It is always someone else’s fault. I think the big box stores basically allowing ANYTHING to be returned if you throw a fit has contributed to this. I saw someone at Wal-Mart throwing a fit because they had 3 year old cheap and worn out Wal-Mart jeans that they wanted to return. The store finally gave them all their money back. The home improvement store that has a location here has taken Craftsman tools in return. They don’t sell these. They have also taken paint to paint the store in return. This is like an internal janitorial or maintenance supply for internal use only. Someone stole it off a cleaning cart and returned it.

Then there is the chain office supply store in town that has a 14 day no questions asked return policy on most items. They have had several people who bring printers back over and over again. They get the same model, run all the ink out of the supplied cartridges, and then just keep exchanging for the same model, new in the box, with full ink cartridges of course. Corporate policy doesn’t allow for any variance from the return policy, even when people abuse the system.

With my service jobs, I basically offer two service tiers. There are the take home and leave behind type jobs. This is basically like dropping your car off and having the mechanic look at it. I require $50 upfront for most jobs before I will even touch a piece of equipment. More complicated (Apple products and all-in-ones) or high risk jobs (gaming consoles) require more upfront. I apply this to the job as long as the pick up the completed service within one week. This covers at least part of my time to give them an estimate of what is wrong and what it will cost. I then will fix them if they want to proceed. This is the cheaper route but you don’t get your stuff back quite as quickly.

My other tier is onsite work which is more expensive and my real money maker of course. Everything is billed hourly. There are no flat rate jobs when I go out onsite. I charge until the service is completed. Remember that I go out to service computers. Like cars, some are a complete disaster. Some require extensive re-arrangement of the room in order to get the the computer in question. It would be like going out to work on a person’s car onsite. Yeah, you get payed the book rate to change the alternator. How about having to get the six non-running cars out of the way before you can get to the one in question? Then you replace the alternator and the fuel pump is bad and they expect that fixed for the same price. There are simply no flat rate jobs for onsite work. I don’t mind moving furniture or driving a long distance since I bill hourly for all jobs. Yeah, I get people offering me like $5 for 100 miles of driving and who knows how much time onsite and I just shake my head.

I also charge more after 5PM and on the weekends. Then the price goes up even more after 10PM on weekdays and 6PM on the weekends. These are truly emergencies if they need me at these times.

I once had some girl who called me about spilling a drink on her laptop at like 10PM on a Sunday. She needed it fixed or replaced by MONDAY. By strange coincidence I happened to own basically the exact same laptop she brought me. It was pretty much the exact same model with different colored trim or something so the internal hardware was the same. I quoted her a price to sell her my laptop and transfer her hard drive over which was undamaged. She responded “I can get it for X price on Amazon so I think that is how I will go.” I said “Fine. I didn’t know Amazon could get you that same laptop all ready to run with all your programs and data by tomorrow morning. Go ahead and order from them if you don’t want to pay my price to get this turned around from late Sunday night to Monday morning.” She just didn’t say anything and then accepted my price. She was a pain in the ass and then after I got her the laptop back, she didn’t think she even needed it anymore. I told her that she still needed it and that I had worked many extra hours beyond my initial estimate until like 4AM and wouldn’t even consider refunding anything or taking it as a return. That was the last I heard of her.


On the guy who kept wanting a free couple gallons of gas when he ran out… I would have filled the “gas” can with the “diesel” next time he called. Maybe that would have cured him. See this Car Talk article: http://www.deseretnews.com/article/779965/Diesel-episode-didnt-ruin-car.html One thing I notice when you are in the ghetto are nice cars with fancy rims but the tires are always bald. I think there is even a rap song about rolling in your Escalade with $5 worth of gas so that is the same basic idea.

I talk to cops and hear this story all the time. People run out of gas just to get the free two gallons or whatever motorist assist will give them. I guess the highway patrol carries a gas can in their cars for these people. If you want to talk about people who really have stories, ask cops about their stories!


Well, when you don’t have to get to a job, you have plenty of time to wait for the free gas… :wink:


I just thought of something “interesting” . . .

My current supervisor, who in all other respects is a very wise man, instructed the younger mechanics to NOT check and correct tire pressures on large vehicles. Think 11R22.5 . . . so for the most part we’re talking class 7 and 8 trucks

I’m not exactly sure what his rationale is, but he didn’t tell ME to not check and correct tire pressure on those vehicles. So I’ll continue to check and correct tire pressures on all vehicles that are in for regularly scheduled service. He walked up to the younger guys, looked them straight in the eye, and told them to NOT check and/or correct tire pressures on those larger vehicles. He said they were to use a rubber mallet to check those tires

Now here’s where it gets tricky. We use fleet inspection sheets, and it’s black and white, as to what items need to be inspected. And it’s crystal clear we’re supposed to check and correct tire pressures. No exceptions


Most curious about don’t check tire pressure, especially since you are servicing your own fleet. It should be part of a regular pre inspection check list for the drivers to at least thump the tires, but I do not get it. :four_leaf_clover:


When I was young and working at a service station my dad came in to have me put anti-freeze in his 1959 Chevy Impala. Several days later he came back in and said since I put the anti-freeze in his Chevy the heater didn’t work. He was convinced the anti-freeze caused the problem. After doing a little troubleshooting I found a loose clamp on the heater control cable. The cable ran from the dash control to the heater control valve for the heater hose. Thus sliding the control lever failed to open the valve to allow hot water to circulate to the heater core. I tightened the cable clamp, moved the lever to the heater position, and then the heater worked. Dad just grinned and said, “It took a smart man to figure that out.”


The only thing I can think of is that the heavy trucks use split rims and the supervisor is afraid of an inexperienced mechanic grossly overinflating and causing a serious accident.


Are split rims still common on trucks? I thought they went away with bias ply tire.


Not a mechanic, but had a guy I went to high school with want to come over and use my garage and my tools to change his oil, brakes, and shocks. Then he wanted me to take the used oil in for recycling for him. THEN he wanted me to take him out to a $50/plate restaurant to “thank” me for letting him work on his car at my place. He seemed a little put out when I pointed out that me paying for dinner isn’t much of a thanks from him.

Same guy years ago before he pulled this one asked me to come with him to a salvage yard to help him get parts for his heap. It was one of those that charged $5 admission. Guess who paid. Then we go in and spend about 4 hours on a hot July day searching the yard and removing all the parts he wanted, which was a good chunk of the front end of his car. Get it all loaded onto flat carts and up to the register and he chooses that moment to tell me “oh by the way I’m short this month, can you spot me?” @#$#!!@#.

Some people’s children…


Shadowfax–With all due respect, relationships are not unlike gardens in that they periodically need to have weeds removed. I would hope that you removed this weed from your garden of life, because he is clearly nothing more than a parasite.


The relationship shadowfax mentione would be dead and buried in a heartbeat IMO.

The leeching stops now and if the guy never shows his face again then I guess he wasn’t much of a “friend” anyway.

Sounds like the type of guy who would have the funeral home bill you for HIS services per his last will and testament…


We don’t even have any trucks with split rims


Oh, the leeching was stopped immediately, but he doesn’t take hints (if you think I’ve been blunt on here…) and so from time to time he still asks.


I was hoping they had been phased out. The military still had some or at least still had the OSHA required safety inflation cages when I retired in 2009. In that case I have no idea why your supervisor would be violating written policy.


Here’s an idea: truckers have their own opinion re: where the pressure should be, based on the load they are carrying, terrain they traverse, etc. They treat mechanics “overriding” their preferences as an incursion on their authority as the “captain” of that vehicle, have complained to management, and management has assented, telling mechanics to leave the PSI alone, unless grossly underinflated (hence the “tire thumpers.”)

They don’t tell db4690 to do that…possibly because his reputation precedes him, and management knows it’s not worth pursuing?

Don’t know this, of course, but it seems plausible.


I think perhaps the supervisor wants to “mold” the younger mechanics . . . to what end, I don’t know

And either he’s satisfied with the performance of my job duties, or he considers me a lost cause :stuck_out_tongue_winking_eye:


Could be both Mr. DB :wink:


I was told at one time that the purpose of beating truck tires was to knock off the rubber fleas and prevent rubber degradation…

Then again, I"m not nor have I ever been a truck fleet guy so I can’t swear to the accuracy of that. It might be something to warn the younger guys about…just in case. :slight_smile:


Reminds me. When I was a kid about 1958, the neighbor kid’s dad quit the body shop and bought the DX oil company service. He was in business for maybe a year and ended up in the hospital with broken ribs, broken arm, etc. and was out of work for several months as I recall. One of those dang rings on the rear tire of his oil rig popped off on him. Could have been killed. Since that I don’t even like to walk by one of those things. Guys claim they could fly across the whole shop taking anyone’s head with it that was in the way.


When I was a kid in southern Texas dad used to buy gas all the time at a full serve Texaco station. No self serve then.

We went in one day and the 2 service bays were destroyed. Apparently his service employee, a Mexican named Pedro, was working on a tractor tire in the wash bay when it blew up. It sent Pedro to the hospital for a month and pretty much wiped out the shop area.

There was a chin high row of concrete blocks separating the 2 bays and over half of the blocks were knocked down.
I remember standing there in amazement looking at the carnage and wondering how in the world one tire did all of that.
Doors knocked off the tracks, half the glass broken out, and so on.

Thankfully Pedro wasn’t killed and recuperated with no lingering issues.

On a sadder note, the son of a long time friend of mine was killed about 10 years ago when a truck tire blew up on him; and it was in a cage which was later determined to be faulty. He was 25ish years old and I knew him since he was a baby.
It was very heart rending to hear about it from my friend. It led to a few suicide attempts, a split up from his long time girlfriend who couldn’t take it anymore, and some years of severe depression before being able to at least come to terms with it.