How do you talk to a car mechanic…

MauleSkinner

Touchdown! Greaser!
Joined
Oct 25, 2005
Messages
15,820
Location
Wichita, KS
Display Name

Display name:
MauleSkinner
And get him to actually look at what you’re concerned about?

Back I July I changed the oil in my daughter’s car before she headed back to school, and noticed some oil lines that were seeping where the metal fittings were connected to the rubber hose.
1704324629441.jpeg
Crappy pic, but you can see where the fittings aren’t corroded.

We took it into the shop, told them I was concerned about it, and showed him the picture. He said they’d check the car over to make sure it was good to go. I kind of assumed (yeah, I know, that makes me a ****ing idiot) that he’d pass my concern along to the technician.

Fast forward to today, and I’m changing oil before she heads back to school, and I notice that the transmission dipstick is a little on the dry side…took it into the shop for them to check out. Just got off the phone with the service advisor. “He found a couple of transmission cooler lines that are seeping where the rubber hose connects to the metal fittings.”

Me: “you mean the ones we brought it in to have you check out before she went to school this fall?”

Service advisor checks his records… “I just put down that you wanted a safety check. The technician didn’t say anything about them, so it apparently wasn’t a concern.”
:mad2::mad2:
 
If you want ANYTHING done right...

(My car is five years older than I am.)
 
Even when you talk to the mechanic and tell him exactly what and where to look, they may or may not. @2-Bit Speed and I had to use a different mechanic than our normal one to do a pre-buy on a car we were purchasing, and I specifically listed that the brakes felt a little bit soft and this car had some potential issues with a certain part in the brake systems, so could he please place a particular emphasis on checking brake lines and do a thorough check-over of the brake system.

We were assured that the brakes were great and that the rest of the car looked good. Perhaps needless to say, it didn't. There was a leak in the brake line, among other (rather obvious) issues that we discovered within days of purchase.
 
You didn't talk to a mechanic... usually a service advisor writes it up and makes you sign it before it goes to the shop. That is the time to insist what you say is on the doc. I've only found service advisors at dealerships.
 
If it fits your driving needs, get an EV and have no maintenance ever. Love it.
 
If it fits your driving needs, get an EV and have no maintenance ever. Love it.
Horse s***. An EV still has brakes, wheel bearings, suspension, differentials, gear boxes, wipers, heater fans, a/c, conventional lighting different, and the electric motor itself is not infallible.
They are anything but maintenance free
 
Horse s***. An EV still has brakes, wheel bearings, suspension, differentials, gear boxes, wipers, heater fans, a/c, conventional lighting different, and the electric motor itself is not infallible.
They are anything but maintenance free
Wipers and tires, my buddy had a Nissan leaf, that was it for four years. Now he has a Tesla.
 
Honestly I get so frustrated with stuff like this that I've just defaulted to DIYing everything.

Reading between the lines I think what happened was you probably talked to a service advisor who then wrote down some generic BS and tossed the tech keys and a work order that didn't say anything about trans cooler lines. You might be better off finding a smaller shop where it's just one maybe two guys so you're actually talking to the person doing the work. That's all I can think of.
 
Wipers and tires, my buddy had a Nissan leaf, that was it for four years. Now he has a Tesla.
Yeah all my buddies with teslas its basically tires and every few years changing a cabin filter.
 
Honestly I get so frustrated with stuff like this that I've just defaulted to DIYing everything.

Reading between the lines I think what happened was you probably talked to a service advisor who then wrote down some generic BS and tossed the tech keys and a work order that didn't say anything about trans cooler lines. You might be better off finding a smaller shop where it's just one maybe two guys so you're actually talking to the person doing the work. That's all I can think of.
It’s not a huge shop, and normally we’re pretty happy with them. And as @PaulS said, I signed the service agreement. Probably the biggest issue here is I’m trying to protect my little girl (who’s 21, like that has anything to do with it.)

I DIY as much as I can, but while can see the oil filter on my wife’s car, I have no idea how it comes out. Some stuff I’ve just got to farm out.
 
I sure am happy to have the mechanic I have now. No service agreement to sign, no hoops to jump through, no overpriced with mark-up...
I text his wife, and tell her what I would like done. They come to my house, get the car, fix it, and bring it back to my house when they're done. She texts me how much I owe. If I want to buy parts on my own that's fine too; I just leave them in the car for when they come to get it.
 
Wipers and tires, my buddy had a Nissan leaf, that was it for four years. Now he has a Tesla.

Yeah all my buddies with teslas its basically tires and every few years changing a cabin filter.
I have had the same experience with my two F150s, with the sole exception of annual oil changes. One is a 2011 with over 100K miles on it that needed nothing but oil changes and wiper blades for the first several years (as in, more than four). It finally needed some other repairs after 13 years of driving. My wife's Toyota Highlander has been the same. Four years isn't enough for most vehicles to need anything other than scheduled maintenance. Ours do need more gas than an electric, but I can drive the pickup 500 miles anywhere in the country without stopping other than to pee and it's a lot more comfortable.

People who want electric vehicles are welcome to them -- it's not worth the tradeoffs for me at this point. I was looking at Teslas for a while, then I got a ride in one and discarded the idea.

As for communicating problems found to a service tech per the OP, it's a mixed bag. I so rarely have to have anything done by a shop other than tires that every time is a new adventure.
 
It’s not a huge shop, and normally we’re pretty happy with them. And as @PaulS said, I signed the service agreement. Probably the biggest issue here is I’m trying to protect my little girl (who’s 21, like that has anything to do with it.)

I DIY as much as I can, but while can see the oil filter on my wife’s car, I have no idea how it comes out. Some stuff I’ve just got to farm out.
Make sure you buy her the super premium plus plan from AAA. It has come in handy with our daughter. It’s not perfect but it’s somebody to call. It works even if she is in somebody else’s car when it breaks down.
 
Generally when I talk to the mechanic to discuss what broke on the vehicle, I start off by screaming and yelling in front of a mirror; sometimes I throw tools across the room to get his attention. Then I pick up the tools and get back under the vehicle to start fixing it.
 
As an aside to the tech/write-up issue, those lines are notorious for leaking in the manner shown. For some reason, they never used to be an issue (the ones on my dad’s 91 Silverado lasted the life of the vehicle). However, somewhere along the way they forgot how to properly crimp them and/or started using inferior materials. The ones on my previous truck (07 Silverado) could be counted on to start leaking about 30k in. Your choices were to let it leak, replace with factory parts (and repeat), or get custom lines made. As an added bonus, on that truck I had to take the driver’s side motor mount loose and lift the engine to R&R the lines…
 
Back when I was in college, I let someone borrow my truck (first mistake, I know) to move some stuff. He brought it back, parked it in the apartment parking lot and brought me the keys. I got in to drive it the next day and it was running really rough - sputtering to almost stalling, etc. like it was off-time. I got out and checked the distributor cap to see if it was loose and I could turn the whole distributor by hand. I said "Well.. That's not right." I tried to tighten the distributor screw and it wouldn't budge. I took it to what I thought at the time was a reputable shop. Told the guy "I think something is jacked up with the timing. It kind of runs, but just won't run smoothly. I can move the distributor by hand and make it run smooth at idle, but as soon as I start driving, it runs like crap. I can turn it the other way and it will run smooth while driving, but won't stay running while at idle, so it must be something with the timing/distributor setup." He said "OK. We'll take a look." They call me back several days later and say it's ready. I go in and he hands me a $1500 bill. I said "WTF!" as a look and see that they 1. Replaced plug wires, 2. Replaced plugs, 3. replaced air filter, 4. did a 'fuel system cleanse', 5. Replaced the distributor shaft that was broken. I said "Didn't I tell you it was something about timing when I brought it in!?" He said "Yeah, but we wanted to check the other stuff first." I said "So basically you threw parts at it without doing any research and ran up a bill!?" He just looked at me blankly. I talked to the manager and let him have it.. Told him that I got his shop's name from the worship leader at our church so I assumed he was on the up-and-up, but obviously not and I would make sure nobody I encounter ever took a car to him. He was completely unapologetic.

That may have been the last time I took a vehicle to a mechanic for anything other than tires, alignment, or oil change (I hate dealing with the old oil and never remember to drop it off anywhere) and that was about 20 years ago. Zero regrets.
 
Would be nice if you could talk to the actual mechanic ,instead of a service advisor. Seems the service advisors main job is to upsell you on your visit.
 
One thing to state and make sure it is on the repair order is to call the car owner if the price will go over $____, and signed by the car owner and the service writer.
 
Generally when I talk to the mechanic to discuss what broke on the vehicle, I start off by screaming and yelling in front of a mirror; sometimes I throw tools across the room to get his attention. Then I pick up the tools and get back under the vehicle to start fixing it.

No home DIY repair is complete until:

1.) You’ve cussed like the sailor you used to be, and

2.) You’re bleeding from somewhere.
 
I am at the age where my wife doesn't want me under our car and truck. Last week I did something I have never done before. I had someone else change the oil, and I have been changing oil since I was 13.
I started being like that in my low to mid '60s.
 
I bought my first car for $900 knowing that it had decent compression in all cylinders, and that the doofus owner could only start it with spray ether. Then he could only drive it after it had warmed up for three minutes or so. It was also apparent that he had modified the vacuum system and wiring... Oh, it couldn't recharge the almost new battery either... Plus, it smelled strongly of gasoline.

It was spring, by summer I had replaced the diode matrix in the alternator, all of the vacuum hoses (to their correct ports, including the fuel tank vent line that had been re-routed to the trunk). I rewired the entire car (not that it had all that many electrical items), and rebuilt the carb (which included carefully drilling out vacuum passages plugged with JB Weld.

Purred like a kitten.

My point is, if you do it, then you understand how it works and more importantly how it should work. If you let Bubba work on it, you get some numbnuts who thinks plugging the vacuum port with JB Weld is a good idea.

Four or five months after I bought it I replaced the combined carb-preheater-intake-exhaust-manifold with separate built up manifolds. I had to re-jet the carb, because without the ridiculous constrictions it flowed so much more volume. I still have "experts" who tell me I should get rid of the original carb, "because they are junk." Experts who are blissfully unaware of the effect the restricted manifold had on the stock configuration.
 
I am at the age where my wife doesn't want me under our car and truck. Last week I did something I have never done before. I had someone else change the oil, and I have been changing oil since I was 13.

Buy a car lift and better tools!
 
For some reason, they never used to be an issue (the ones on my dad’s 91 Silverado lasted the life of the vehicle). However, somewhere along the way they forgot how to properly crimp them and/or started using inferior materials.
The reason is the label that comes in the package. Made in China. I noticed that they are trying to fool us now by saying "Made in PRC".
 
The reason is the label that comes in the package. Made in China. I noticed that they are trying to fool us now by saying "Made in PRC".

Some of the more clever ones use "designed in the USA" but the small print (if you can find it) reveals the PRC connection ...
 
I wonder how much sense that makes. How much would a lift and better tools cost vs paying someone else to change your oil.

My man, if the woman says don’t crawl under the car anymore…you install a badass lift and get some sweet A tools to make the job easier. Makes perfect sense to me.
 
Rememnber......In aviation 99.7% is marginal. In the rest of the world 70% is well above average and perfectly acceptable.
 
I wonder how much sense that makes. How much would a lift and better tools cost vs paying someone else to change your oil.
About as much sense as owning your own plane...
 
I have had the same experience with my two F150s, with the sole exception of annual oil changes.
I had a similar experience with a Challenger 392. I drove it 180K miles; basic oil changes (10 minutes at the quick-lube place), 2 sets of brake pads (done myself), 4 sets of tires, and changed diff and transmission fluid once. Clutch was still fine, too.

Repair bills with today's cars are generally more about the owner than the car. If you treat a modern car well, it will hold up a very long time.

As for the EV comparison, charging time for the daily commute would have been a WHOLE lot more intrusive than the maintenance I did on that car. They make great sense for people with short local commutes in mild climates (like my daughter in NC with her Model Y), but longer distances in extreme climates (rural upper midwest) aren't as good a fit.

JMO, YMMV.
 
I wonder how much sense that makes. How much would a lift and better tools cost vs paying someone else to change your oil.

Who cares.??

I'm gettin' a lift.!!
My man, if the woman says don’t crawl under the car anymore…you install a badass lift and get some sweet A tools to make the job easier. Makes perfect sense to me.
About as much sense as owning your own plane...
I stand corrected.
What was I thinking.
 
I wonder how much sense that makes. How much would a lift and better tools cost vs paying someone else to change your oil.
The lift isn't just for oil changes. In fact, oil changes are the one thing (other than tires) that I let someone else do, because dealing with the used oil is a pain in the rear.

The lift is for brake jobs, tire rotation, and suspension checks. If you have a lift, a compressor, an impact wrench, and a torque wrench and socket set, you can do >90% of basic automotive maintenance and repair jobs. Brakes, rotors, filters, bushings, shocks/struts, U-joints, rod/ball ends, etc. are all straightforward with a lift.
 
What kind of lift do you have? A "real" one where you can stand underneath the vehicle requires a 12'-14' ceiling which rules out most residential garages. I've thought about getting a "Quick Jack" which raises the vehicle about 24" or so, but that still requires the use of a creeper which admittedly gets harder with old age (I am 68).

I dump my used oil into two 5 gallon containers. When they get full I empty them in the airport used oil container which is unlocked and easily accessible. Easy peasy.
 
What kind of lift do you have? A "real" one where you can stand underneath the vehicle requires a 12'-14' ceiling which rules out most residential garages.
I have a 45x60 foot pole barn with a 13' high entry door and about 15 feet to the first truss beam.

Every gearhead needs one, trust me.:D
 
A "real" one where you can stand underneath the vehicle requires a 12'-14' ceiling which rules out most residential garages.

One of my coworkers poured a slab on the side of his driveway and installed a lift there. Not too bad to work outdoors here in FL. Fortunately he didn’t have a homeowners association.....
 
One of my coworkers poured a slab on the side of his driveway and installed a lift there. Not too bad to work outdoors here in FL. Fortunately he didn’t have a homeowners association.....
My HOA consists primarily of deer, wild turkeys, and groundhogs.
 
Back
Top