40 Mechanics Share Their Wild Work StoriesBy Jesus E. López
Auto mechanics are to cars what doctors are to humans and vets are to animals. They are ever-sought-after to cure a choking vehicle as it coughs up black fumes, some being on-call to those stranded on the highway or to provide home service. They are accustomed to working in not-so-comfortable spaces and odd positions underneath vehicles that drip on their faces.
Cars are getting more complex with the addition of electronics, and the integration of computer technology. This means the disparity between the knowledge a mechanic has and the understanding a car owner has about their vehicle is widening drastically, This makes the industry a rich source of wild stories. We’ve gathered the best of them in the pages that follow. Enjoy!
This mechanic was a real trooper. He carried on with a complete engine overhaul despite being distracted with pain in his mouth and swelling in his gums. This is one time you would not be justified for complaining about slow service. The mechanic is doing the best he can under the circumstances!
The mechanic decided to take action and clear up his tooth problems before he finished the engine swap. He finally finished the job with an anesthetized mouth, displaying a true mechanic’s spunk.
Puzzling Service Rendered
To own a car comes with numerous responsibilities, from having a driver’s license to performing preventive maintenance and having knowledge about basic repairs and simple diagnoses. It’s like having a pet that needs to be fed, cleaned, vaccinated, and given exercise.
This car owner must have learned everything from the movies, where mostly only the cool stuff is shown – the fun and glamour, without the necessary grime. How could she not have known oil was needed to keep the engine running smoothly?
This mechanic was certain that the car problem was not simply imagined by the owners. Sometimes, people who don’t know much about machines freak out when they hear a little clink and become paranoid. However, after multiple tests, the mechanic was able to confirm that there was a real problem.
They needed help but stubbornly refused to take it. Perhaps they didn’t understand what they were being told. Like old folks being instructed on how to use social media, they just stared blankly, occasionally nodding, but not taking anything in.
Limited Vehicle Capability
Imagine if a vehicle’s abilities were limited by its name. That would mean a special type of car would be needed for every type of road condition, occasion, and climate. If so, we wonder how many vehicles you would need over the course of a day, week, or year.
Of course, a City Golf is capable of taking long drives on highways and in the countryside, just as Ford Rangers aren’t limited to off-roading, climbing, and grinding over muddy terrain up in the hills.
Towing services cater mostly to drivers who are caught up in difficult situations. If you’re on a deserted road outside of town, having encountered engine problems miles away from the next gas station or auto shop, a tow truck will get you out of the mire. It may be a humane business, but it’s not done out of pure charity.
This owner was furious because she thought she deserved to be helped for free. Of course, the tow truck driver expected to be paid for his work. Can you imagine having someone help you out of a sticky situation and then not wanting to reward them for it?
A Buffet of Fluids
This situation was like a child’s experimentation after science class – an activity built up out of a whim and shapeless curiosity, rather than by a methodical process to prove a hypothesis. The scraping sound like gnashing teeth was probably a result of the engine being destroyed by all the fluids this woman was pouring in with her gas.
The fuel tank became a singular hole for everything liquid. Like something out of a Lovecraft story, it was a deep abyss of mixed ooze that dumbfounded the mechanics, who couldn’t believe anyone could be so utterly uninformed.
Releasing the child lock feature of the passenger seat is as easy as flipping the channels on a television. It is designed to prevent kids from opening the door while the vehicle is moving, but for adults who are in the know, flipping it on and off should be simple.
Had all doors been installed with this feature, the owner of this car may well have locked himself in the vehicle with no way of getting out. It must be his first car. Reviewing the manual or doing some research would’ve helped, but instead, he chose to visit a mechanic.
The Porsche 911 is a beautifully unique and expensive vehicle out of Germany. Here are some basic facts about it the car owner should have known: It is unusual in that it is a sports car that’s designed to have passengers on the back seat. It also has its engine set in the rear, like a VW.
We bet there are other things about the car that the owner doesn’t understand. She needs a full orientation on its features. If she fails to learn about these important things, she will continue to make costly mistakes and assume they’re not her fault.
Vroom in Acceleration
Independent or regularly employed mechanics ought to be equipped with customer service skills too. Experience will hone that ability in them to some extent, especially when facing clueless customers like this. If you can handle someone complaining about such meaningless things, you can handle any customer service issue that arises!
In this case, the mechanic assumed a poker face, holding down a guffaw from exploding, explaining that this is what the machine does when it’s working properly. That’s the normal sound of a revving automobile, he said, training himself to show as little emotion as possible.
A Demand for Uniformity
Mechanics are faced with all sorts of questions at the workplace. They face a mix of worried, demanding, friendly, and inquisitive customers. It’s part of the job, and customer service skills are paramount.
The mechanic didn’t know where to start in explaining that different machines emit different sounds. From what point of his lifetime of knowledge of engines should he begin to get the message through? Mechanics often find themselves in awkward moments with customers.
Sounds Like Trouble
Ignorance is curable, and nobody knows this better than our hard-working professional mechanics. Many of them learn through keen observation before going for formal education, followed by specialized training and certified evaluation. They remember a time when they didn’t understand certain things, so they are usually understanding of ignorant customers.
Imagine how they would feel about nonsensical complaints like this by someone who can’t appreciate what she owns. Demanding that a product be returned over something like this is absurd. It’s just the warm sound of a vinyl groove, and that’s supposed to be a cool thing.
Fix the Nozzles
It must be fun to have a mechanic friend around for some drinks on the weekend or over the holidays. You could enjoy a game of trivia on the subject of automobiles, giving them a chance to share their wild stories from the workplace.
Mechanics have countless stories, easily plucked from day-to-day experiences. Though the experiences were frustrating at the time, they make for funny stories to share with friends later. Can you imagine trying to explain to a customer that fixing the air nozzle permanently at the bottom would be an impossible task? Does she not understand that the wheels turn?
Shift of Attention
It is bad enough when a mobile mechanic is called out to assist someone who doesn’t have a genuine mechanical problem. When it’s two o’clock in the morning, it’s even more infuriating. All this person needed to do was look at their gear stick.
All it took was to shift the gear to park mode. This solution is so simple that it makes you wonder how one gets a license without knowing that beforehand. The mechanic just scratched his head and faked a smile.
On this occasion, the car owner stood by and watched as the mechanic destroyed her car. To move a vehicle to any place, for safety, all doors must be shut. The woman who owned the vehicle understood this all too well. Finally, we have a story in which the mechanic made the mistake!
One door was left open and got tangled with the rear post, leaving the car in a worse state than when it was brought in for repair. This stands as a warning to all the mechanics out there – don’t get complacent at work. You too can make silly mistakes!
Here’s a story of an on-the-job trainee who in his first few days had not yet realized that he must not have been born to become a mechanic. It is, after all, a profession that requires an ever-expanding understanding of how machines operate.
Not understanding the forces of nature at work could get him in trouble. This time, he was lucky enough to have a co-mechanic who, facepalming, had to explain why the wheel couldn’t be pulled out because of the applied force above it.
Working Under the Influence
Even highly skilled workers can make the simplest mistakes when working under the influence of alcohol. While still functional, there will be a point in an increasingly blurry timeframe when they become too distracted and too interested in finding their next drink.
The worst thing about the experience described above is that the alcoholic mechanic probably didn’t remember anything afterward. His personal problems came at the expense of the company he worked for, but at least someone else jumped in before he set the whole place on fire.
It’s getting more common nowadays for different mechanics who specialize in different car aspects to work simultaneously. That’s how complex some vehicles have become, with computers and electronics used to augment overall performance and driving experience. As with any team, delegation and communication are the keys to success.
This team could’ve prevented disaster if they’d communicated more effectively about the use of a flammable substance. PSA: acetylene torches don’t blend well with recently sprayed WD-40! It’s unforgivable to do things absent-mindedly when it can put others in danger.
A Dangerous Scam
The auto mechanics in this situation offered valuable advice – the type that saves lives, no less – and the very least a beneficiary of such kindness could do would be to say thank you. Such wholesome reciprocity was withheld from him, along with the consultation fee and the time needed to put the ball joint back in its socket.
What message does this send to all the honest mechanics out there? Should they avoid lowering vehicles until the owners have paid up? Most people are honest and are happy to pay for the work done. However, this woman was happy to drive a dangerous vehicle if it meant she could skip out on the bill.
A large majority of cars manufactured in 2019 were automatics. Installed with the latest features technology can provide, from efficient fuel management systems, parking assist sensors, and in this case automatic headlight function, there’s very little for a driver to do other than, well, drive to the desired destination.
This high dependency on technology could also mean that many drivers, especially young adults, will fail to understand how certain features work. Mechanics should prepare themselves for more silly questions!
Installing rims is relatively easy, especially with the proper tools. An apprentice is expected to have more knowledge than a regular car owner, being close to the boundary of being a professional mechanic. However, this guy seems to be an exception to that rule.
By putting the wheels on backward, he achieved something more difficult than what he was supposed to do. Nothing seemed right, but he persevered. At the very least, we must give him credit for finishing the job.
With no apparent problems identified at a glance, a deeper inspection would have to be made after determining that tire pressure is even. There could be an issue with the chassis, but more effort will have to be given, sliding underneath the vehicle, for appraisal of the shocks, suspension, and springs.
Imagine this mechanic’s annoyance when he learned that it all boils down to the driver’s handling of the vehicle. The steering wheel turns when you pull on it – why was this a revelation?
Automatic cars are favored over their manual counterparts as evidenced in sales over the past few years. Their computerized features make things so much easier, especially for new drivers.
With a driver’s attention focused on the road, the travel experience becomes smooth sailing. However, people must understand that this vehicle control system can be overridden manually when the need arises.
A Paranoid Customer
As weird as this encounter may sound, it is not an uncommon occurrence. This reminds us of how the great American writer Ernest Hemingway used to think the FBI was after him. He was paranoid about his landline being tapped and conversations monitored.
There are lots of people out there with different kinds of violations and a real fear of being under surveillance, like this customer who wrapped her engine with foil. While this is funny, we are a little concerned about the customer’s state of mind. We hope she’s okay!
Fuel is designed to produce energy that can be used in many ways, such as for a power plant or for an automobile to go places. This customer failed to differentiate between the types of fuel available.
Filling up her Prius with diesel clogged up her fuel filter, and it will take some time for the mechanic to drain the car’s fuel system. It’s awkward for mechanics to have to explain such elementary things to customers. This woman had to learn the hard way.
People are curious by nature, and that’s how we’ve all become enslaved to some degree by the virtually unlimited information we can pull from the internet. Not satisfied with home computer access, we crave constant connectivity.
Some people are so gullible that this constant access to the internet just doesn’t help them avoid being tricked. A quick look on their smartphones would have revealed these pranks, but some people just never learn.
Unusual noises made by a running automobile may have underlying significance a driver should examine. A chugging sound or constant hissing and rattling are all indications that something has gone terribly wrong.
The dragging noise the customer described should be self-explanatory, coupled with the constrained car movement. How could she not have seen a 4-foot-tall construction barrel?
Efficient cars are well-timed machines composed of numerous tiny parts that perfectly open and close at the right time. Timing is everything when it comes to machinery, just like a boxer’s counterpunch.
This airbag is at risk of opening under normal conditions, like a psychic that sees trouble before it happens. You can’t look at this with optimism – while it may cause an accident, at least it will also keep you safe when it happens.
No Lifetime Guarantee
This customer was fuming, thinking her car was a toy that only needed batteries to operate. Oil levels will eventually drop, so you must keep an eye on the dipstick and replace the oil as needed. This woman didn’t get the memo.
The mechanic wanted to calm her down but didn’t know how to tell her she was awfully wrong. Unlike diamonds, oil does not last forever. Without lubrication, it won’t take much time for a car engine to break down.
These new car owners had ridiculous ideas in mind. They wanted their cars to look like they had rolled right out of the pages of a magazine at all times, not understanding that when operated, vehicles must conform to the laws of physics.
The reality of how cars work can be a disappointment, especially if you’re a perfectionist. These things are hard to explain to an irate customer. We feel sorry for this poor mechanic.
Mechanics have to learn to deal with people who come to them for technical advice they don’t have any intention of following. Chances are that the same people will be coming back someday for the same reasons. This is the cycle of life when you’re a mechanic.
When a person’s mind is made up, they just will not listen to reason. To explain that the automatic wipers only work when there’s rain would be futile. This customer is just looking for a reason to be angry.
Cats are wonderful companions on lazy days. Unlike dogs, they like to laze around, soaking up sunlight and sometimes sleeping for twelve or more hours a day. Somehow, this kitten must have thought of this vehicle as an extension of its home.
The engine has plenty of warm corners a small cat can snuggle into. We’re just glad the kitten wasn’t harmed and that the driver had the initiative to open the hood for a routine check-up before traveling.
Brake Not Broken
To play it safe, it is always best to give customers a list detailing all the work that’s going to be done to a vehicle, followed by a verbal explanation. Unfortunately, this was not enough to satisfy this customer who, not knowing what a parking brake is, must have misunderstood it as something that was broken.
Hot top: If something were broken, the notification would be spelled “break” not “brake.” The mechanic had to explain that there was no reason for her to be furious, but he had to do it without embarrassing her.
The previous owner shouldn’t have changed the car springs as his shoddy workmanship resulted in a vehicle that pulls to one side while being driven. Not only does it look bad on the outside, but the aesthetics were also ruined on the inside.
We wonder why the new owner purchased a car that had been butchered so badly. We hope he got a good deal on it. This car sounds like it needs a lot of work!
It takes a little time for the heater system to work if the engine has just been turned on and is still warming up. The colder it is outside, the longer it takes for it to do the job of warming you up.
Some customers feel better when they have someone to blame for the inconveniences presented by the weather. If they could blame the mechanic for the snow they would.
Inexpensive Lube Job
A car owner visited their mechanic with a Ford Escape that only had 19k on the odometer. He was furious that his vehicle was so young and yet sounded so old. What started as a grating sound had escalated to a knocking noise before it finally seized up altogether.
At some point in his irresponsible car ownership, he must have seen the oil change icon flashing on the dashboard but ignored this warning. Now, it’s too late and he’s looking for someone to blame.
It seems this customer never thought to do anything to care for his car until he saw the mechanic’s advertisement. It might only have been his curiosity that pushed him to pose a query, and what the mechanic found was shocking.
This car had been treated so badly that if cars had rights, the mechanic would’ve had to report the man for vehicular cruelty. Thankfully, the car is incapable of feeling pain, so the mechanic was able to enjoy a few beers with the odd customer.
Always Blame the Mechanic
Newbie mechanics are bound to suffer the most anxiety and stress at the shop. Unlike the veterans, they are idealistic, readily posing high expectations not just on their performance, but also on the customers they expect to deal with on a day-to-day basis.
They will soon learn the hard way that most clients will never accept their faults. They come in with minds long-convinced by their own reasoning that they are right. The sooner mechanics realize this, the better it will be for their mental health.
This was not a fair fight. A towering six-footer was pitted against a lady not even five feet tall who, by the way, had the home advantage. The mechanic tried to be polite, but her anger eventually wore him down.
In a war of words between a mechanic and a customer, the latter is rarely in the right. It’s a mismatch, but in the end, it’s the mechanic’s performance that will be reviewed.
Presented with a hypothesis that all cars are the same, this mechanic knew he had a long day ahead of him. How do you explain a simple concept to someone who has convinced themselves that it’s not true?
If this customer was right, imagine how boring the automobile industry would be. We’d all be driving the exact same vehicle and car enthusiasts would have nothing much to talk about.
Some people don’t have a clue about cars but they feel supremely confident in working on them. Rather than looking up a tutorial on the internet, this woman just took a stab at where to pour the oil.
Can you imagine strolling up to your car and dousing any old part in oil? We can’t understand why this customer thought things would work out just fine. Thankfully, her mechanic was there to help (and then to share the story online).