Car mechanics of Reddit were asked: “What’s the weirdest or most face-palm-worthy story you have on the job?” These are some of the best answers.
Dad brought in his daughters car for service. Oil was as thick as peanut butter. Apparently it never occurred to her to take her car in for service.
Had a customer come in to the shop. Entire engine, wires, battery and hoses were wrapped completely in aluminum foil. She said it was because the Gubberment could track her via the computer chip in her car, and she didn’t want them to do that because she owed back taxes.
I replaced the clutch in a car for a woman then returned her car. By the time I got back to the workshop there was a message waiting for me that she couldn’t get the car into gear. (This was before mobile phones). I was driven back to her house where she was stood waiting for me looking like she was ready to murder someone. I got in the car, started it up, foot on the clutch, into first and drove it round the block, up and down through every gear. She apologized and off we went back to the workshop once more only to get the same woman on the phone. This time not just a little angry but screaming all kinds of curses at us. Back we went to her house and you guessed it, started the car put it in gear and drove round the block again.
This time instead of leaving we told her to try before we left. She jumped in, started the car and crunched the gears hard and loud. It was at this point that the penny finally dropped. I am almost 6ft tall. This woman was about 4ft 5. She didn’t move her seat forward so was only pressing the clutch pedal quarter of the way down. After explaining this to her I got an earful of abuse from here saying that she didn’t even know that her car seat COULD move so how was she supposed to adjust it. Oh, and she would be writing to the newspapers to tell everyone about the bad service she got from our garage.
Customer came to our shop with her “City Golf” and wanted a mechanic to check the car over because she had to take it on the highway for a few minutes. After 2 years of owning the car, she was under the impression that her car was only able to drive in the city.
Customer drove on a doughnut spare until it popped then kept on driving ’till the rim was utterly destroyed. When she got to the shop with the tow driver, she was flabbergasted that she owed him money.
A lady came in and said that her car would pull to the right. I couldn’t find anything wrong with it and I drive it for a good ten minutes and nothing seemed wrong. She came in later and I asked her if she would drive and show me when it happens to see if it was her accidentally doing it. We got driving and she said it only happens when she takes her right hand off and reaches for the glove box. I had to explain to her for ten minutes that when she did this it turned the wheel. I am still not sure she understood when she left.
Guy answered a mechanics ad I put on craigslist and said: “I’m not really sure what’s wrong with my car, but it won’t start. Maybe an oil change? If you could check it out, I’d be really grateful.” So I go over to the guy’s house and he shows me his car (92 honda civic). It’s missing the starter, doesn’t have an exhaust system, has a hole in the gas tank, oil pan is completely f*cked up, and the timing belt was “misplaced.” I [yelled at] him [for not] taking care of his stuff, and then we had a couple beers.
Customer dropped her new iPhone under the passenger seat of her 911 and it slipped under the carpet and into the sheet metal of the car. I got the phone out all the while being [yelled] at about how it better not be scratched, she’s not paying, and we need to call Germany to tell them it’s a design flaw.
Cayenne owner says the the car pulls. On the test the drive I find the car doesn’t pull but the steering wheel is 90 degrees off. I raise the car up and see a bent tie rod. Then the customer [complains] about how is should be warranty and that he never hit anything.
Currently in my new job as a field rep for a hi end manufacturer: Customer says speakers always have feed back and make buzzing nosies. She’s only playing music with vinyl type feedback purposefully recorded in the background. She demands the car be bought back and that they should never have built such a car in the first place.
One lady had her car towed in because it was making weird noises. We checked a few basic things first, then started it to see what the noise sounded like and the exhaust system spit out a whole bunch of nasty sludge and smoke but wouldn’t actually run.
Turns out, she thought the opening to add gas was the opening to add everything. When she first started having problems, she dumped oil, antifreeze, brake fluid, and windshield washer fluid in there to “make sure it wasn’t running low on fluids.”
One day a car came into the garage I used work at. The customer was complaining that they couldn’t open the passenger side rear door from the inside. I took off the door panel to check the inner workings, see what I could see. One of my friends suggested I check the child lock, and I said it couldn’t possibly be that, that no one could miss that. He said try anyway before you go further with it so I did. It was the child lock.
Had a car come into my shop a few years back complaining of a rattling when driving. 3 road tests later we find the bearings, brakes, steering and suspension components all good, exhaust was solid. Turns out the rattling was from the plastic hubcaps. Some of the clips had started to break and when driving the cap would shift and rattle on the wheel. We explain to the customer and ask if they want to buy a new set, take them off or just leave it as is. They decline the new ones and want the caps on, so we just put it all back together. Charge them for the inspection and send them on their way.
5 minutes later they’re back complaining that it’s still rattling.
“Customer states heater doesn’t work until the car has been running for xx minutes” Every time it gets cold this happens.
I had a customer leave after we did an inspection on their car, and comes back 15 minutes later in a panic saying that the car wont stop beeping at her. I tell her sorry, one of the techs must have left her headlights on after checking them. “No, that’s impossible, my car has automatic headlights” she says. I reach in the car and turn the lights off. She had no idea that even though her headlights come on automatically, that there was still a headlight switch.
There was one particular instance where my journeyman pulled in a truck that had spent the night on our lot. He opened the hood, and backed up with a start. When I went to investigate for myself, I found a small pair of eyes staring back at me; there was a small kitten hiding in a groove of the engine block. Turns out that he had climbed up there during the day, couldn’t get down, rode on the engine the 20 kilometres to town, and then spend the night stuck on the engine. He was okay, and returned safely to his owner.
Had a customer who kept coming back with brake noise. This went on for months. We replaced hundreds of dollars of parts at no charge. It was a Mitsubishi Diamante, so parts were scarce and kind of expensive.
On her last visit, I was ready to give her her money back and just tell her we couldn’t fix it, because it was such a time and money drain. Then the mechanic noticed stuff on the rotors. It turned out that the place detailing her car would go nuts with the tire shine spray and it went through the open alloy wheels and all over the brakes.
“Customer hears rattling noise in passenger compartment when going over bumps” Road tested vehicle, then opened the glove box to find noise is coming from the lady’s multiple vibrators bouncing around.
Customer comes in complaining of a heavy clunking when stopping and the same clunk when moving from a stop. There was a bowling ball in the trunk.
This lady had ran her tire while it was flat and the sidewall got cut in half. Tire fell off. So she had a spare on (her husband did all that). She bought 4 new because AWD, and it turns out she destroyed her rim while driving on it with no tire. So we phone her up and tell her we’ll mount the first 3 today, and to get a new one (just a steelie), and come back tomorrow for the last. She goes “Well, I’d like you to just put the tire up without a rim then, and I’ll get one later.”