The United States alone, roughly 750,000 auto mechanics worklengthy shifts diagnosing, repairing and preventing carissues. However, due to stereotypicaldepictions in the mediaas well as a complicated language of car components, driversmight feel that their lack of understanding mayprompt technicians to take advantage of them. That’s not the case technicians say, and they’rethere to assist. To get a clearer understanding of what their workinvolves, mental_floss spoke with a variety of mechanics frommobile mechanic Raleigh North Carolinaboth repair shops that are independent and dealerships. Here’s a glimpseat what happens afteryour car goes in.
1. THEY WISH YOU’D STOP WIPING BOOGERS ON YOUR SEAT.
A car can often resembleyour living space in a mobile,decorated with decorative accessories music, as well as dried snot. Charles the mechanic, who works at a Volkswagen dealership and writesThe HumbleMechanic blog, says he’shad his fair share of gold-plated noses while working on cars. “People seem to like picking their nose and wiping it on the seat,” the mechanicclaims. To ensure that the work is done properly the techs prefer that you bring in your car withoutbodily fluids or trash inside. “Sometimes there’s somedirty clothes over the spare or fast food wrappers on the floor that we require customers to get rid of. Many cars are clean, but individualsare not.”
2. THERE’S A SPECIAL BOOK THAT TELLS THEM WHAT TO CHARGE–EVEN IF IT’S TOO MUCH.
Ever walk away feeling like you’ve overpaid for a repairmobile mechanic Philadelphia PAIt’s possible, but it’s not the sole fault of the shop. Most every mechanic workingat a flat-rate (as instead of a per hourcost) references an industry trade manual that outlinesthe timea typical repair can take. If you’ve spent, say $200 for a one-hourtask that a skilled mechanic can finishin just 30 minutes, you’restill charged by the book–andyou don’t get a refund.
The auto tool industry mayhave a role to play in the blame. “The way it becomes unfair is when a mechanic buys a new specialty tool that may cost $300 but that pays for itself quickly,” says Ryan an ex-mechanic in Colorado. “It means they can do the job in less time, but the customer still pays for full time.”
3. THEY CAN FIND MICE AND SQUIRRELS STUCK IN YOUR AXLES.
Depending on what part of the country you’re in, a car’s warm underbelly may be appealing to rodents and other animals. Charles is familiar with acorns tuckedaway under hoods and oncepried a squirrel from the grill’s entrance. “The biggest thing we see [in North Carolina] is chewed wires from mice,” hesays. “They’ll build a den inan airbox. Also, I’ve had to scrubthe deer’s guts.” If you’replanning to store your vehicle for an extended period ofduration, Charles believes that some formrepellent spray for rodents couldhelp.
4. THEY MIGHT RUN SOME ERRANDS IN YOUR CAR.
While few mechanics actuallytake vehicles out for joytrips, the fact thatthey aren’t paid for the time required to test drive one meansyour brand new spotless Honda may develop astain of ketchup on your driver’s seat. “Basically, every vehicle needs to be driven to make sure the problem is resolved,” Ryan declares. “If you’re headed out to lunch and you need to confirm that, it makes sense to drive it down the road.”
5. THEY MIGHT RESCUE YOU IN A ROADSIDE EMERGENCY.
While their individual morality mileageis different, many mechanics believe they areit is their duty to stop whenever they see a driver who is stranded. “I do a lot of highway driving in the winter and the rule of thumb is if you see someone stranded on the highway, you stop and check on them,” says Ryan M., a mechanic in Winnipeg. “I’ve also pulled lots of vehicles out of ditches and off curbs.”
6. DEALERSHIPS HAVE ACCESS TO RESOURCES THAT PRIVATELY-OWNED SHOPS DON’T.
If you’ve ever wondered ifit’s better to take your out of warranty vehicle in for repairsat a cheaper, locally owned shop instead of the dealer’sshingle, here’s a point to keep in mind That’s because many of those smaller outfits can’t afford the type of information offered by car manufacturers in order toeffectively diagnose and treatthe issue. “We’re able to go deep into the Volkswagen brand,” Charles says. “There are a lot ofresources we have access towhich an independent locationwould not. We have access to the engineers of the car ifyou require. The brand is an ally. Small-scale shops won’t be able to spend $15,000 annually(for this data) to be a specialist in one type of car. Once it’s outside their scope of knowledge, it makes more sense to visitan auto dealer.”
7. YOU’RE TECHNICALLY NOT ALLOWED IN THE GARAGE. EVER.
You’ve probably heard aboutgetting a mechanic to show youa defective part to guaranteethey’re notmaking up work to do. That involves a trip beyond the door, which is marked “Do Not Enter.” However, according to Ryan it’s notallowed to go back therein any way. “Insurance companies don’t want customers in the garage, ever,” hestates. “It’s not that dangerous, but it’s not supposed to happen.”
8. THEY SOMETIMES MAKE THEIR OWN TOOLS.
When mechanics beginwith their own tools, some even investing in tens of thousands in tools–there’llbe instances where they’ll need to improvise. “A tool might be missing, or not put back in the right place,” mobile mechanic Long Island NYCharles says. “Or an organizationmay not have the product you need. I have a whole drawer full of cut-up sockets and wrenches. Making a custom tool can beexciting.”
9. THEY USE A COOKIE SHEET TO STAY ORGANIZED.
Although cell phones arehelpful in keepingthe track of when a piecemust be assembled Some mechanics prefer to be organized by laid out the pieces in a particular order. “If I’m working on a vehicle I’ve never seen before, and it’s a complicated job or a job spread out over multiple days like a transmission rebuild or something like that, I’ll take a cookie sheet and magnets and lay things out spatially to stay organized,” Ryan M. says. “You can also mark parts with a Sharpie.”
10. THEY DON’T ALWAYS PERFORM EVERY LITTLE TASK.
Cars brought in to be maintainedare expected to go througha litany of small adjustments, but thelaundry list of items can beneglectedaccording to how busy withtimeyour technician is. “Stuff like lubricating door hinges or latching mechanisms gets missed all the time,” Ryan mentions. “It doesn’t affect performance at that moment, but it can over time.”