Strange Things Mechanics See

I have always told my friends that I was going write a book about the crazy things I have seen as a mechanic. From DIY repairs, to safety infractions that boggle the mind, there is no shortage of craziness in this industry. Extreme lack of maintenance could be a book of its own.

FC.tire repairDIY tire repair!
Well, this isn’t quite a book, but I wanted to share some of these with you. Some are my own, some are from others, but they all make you wonder where the common-sense gene was bred out of the general population.

substitute wheelTime for some wheels?

Some are just funny face-palm moments, like when a good friend of mine bought his first truck. He calmly told me that it had an oil leak at the rear main seal. I was impressed that he knew that. He was a great guy, but had never indicated any mechanical knowledge. I advised him to keep a good eye on the oil level. He amazed me again when he told me he checked it EVERY DAY, but then he added, “and the needle stays in the middle of the gauge”! Dipsticks are for dummies, I guess!

Then there was the lady broke down on the freeway. Another friend of mine stopped and asked if he could help. She explained it was driving fine and just completely died. He popped the hood and did a brief inspection…no issue apparent. he then asked if he could try starting it. When he slipped into the seat he noticed the fuel gauge showed empty. “Maam, you’re out of gas,” he advised her.  She looked at him and asked if it would hurt the car to drive it that way!stretch gauge

One customer I went to was a shipping container rental company. I had received a call to diagnose “slow lifting”. When I arrived at the site, I was dumbfounded. It was an ancient rough-terrain lifttruck of unspecified origins, and somewhere along the line, all identifying numbers had been removed. Brakes were apparently a nonessential luxury, and the lines were expertly taped off with premium electrical tape. The tires had slashes right into the cording. The mast rails were bent, mushroomed out and spread. Then the operator explained that his concern was that it was lifting too slow. Speed was essential because, they unloaded trucks by putting the forks under a container, revving the engine, and cueing the truck driver to drive out as fast as possible. They would lift the forks, and if the trucker was fast enough, the trailer would clear before the forklift tipped forward, dumping its load. The worst part was that after I tagged this unit out, the irate owner called and told me it was fine, he only wanted it to lift faster, and the other issues were none of my business! Missing parts were options as far as he was concerned.



Sometimes, you have to deal with an unreasonable customer. I knew a technician who had a very picky customer who thought their Toyota was pure gold and needed to be treated with kid gloves. He informed her he had to make an adjustment with “the swinging press”. Nice description for a ball-pein hammer!


What about you? What kind of craziness have you seen? Send us your pics and stories… If they are good, we will share them. Subscribe here.



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