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15 Behind-the-Scenes Secrets of Auto Mechanics

The United States alone, roughly 750,000 auto mechanics work long hours diagnosing, fixing and preventing car issuesBut due to stereotyped portrayals in media and a complicated vocabulary of car parts, drivers can sometimes feel like their lack of understanding may allow technicians to make use of their expertiseThat’s not the case the mechanics claim. They’re in the business of helpingFor a better understanding of what their role involvesmental_floss spoke to a number of mechanics in mobile mechanic Raleigh North Carolina both independent repair shops and dealerships. Here’s a look at what happens after the car is parked.

1. THEY WISH YOU’D STOP WIPING BOOGERS ON YOUR SEAT.

A car can often resemble your living space in a mobile, decorated with decorative accessories music, as well as dried snot. Charles the mechanic, who is employed at a Volkswagen dealership and runs The Honest Mechanical blog, has witnessed his fair share of nose gold when working on vehicles. “People seem to like picking their nose and wiping it on the seat,” he claimsTo ensure that the work is done properly, techs would prefer you bring your car in without bodily fluids , or any other waste inside. “Sometimes there’s a pile of dirty clothes on the spare, or fast-food wrappers lying on the floor, which we request customers to take offMost cars are clean, but individuals aren’t always clean.”

2. THERE’S A SPECIAL BOOK THAT TELLS THEM WHAT TO CHARGE–EVEN IF IT’S TOO MUCH.

Have you ever left feeling that you’ve overpaid for repairs mobile mechanic Philadelphia PA It’s possiblebut not the sole fault of the shopMost every mechanic working on a flat price (as in contrast to a per-hour costis referring to an industry trade manual which estimates how long a typical repair should take. If you’ve spent, say $200 for a 2-hour task that a skilled mechanic can get done in 30 minutes, then you’re nonetheless charged per the manual–and you won’t receive a refund.

The auto industry might have 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 the part of the country you reside in, a car’s warm underbelly can be attractive to rodents and other animals. Charles is familiar with acorns squashed into hoods, and has removed a squirrel from the grill’s front. “The biggest thing we see [in North Carolina] is chewed wires from mice,” Charles declares. “They’ll build a den in an airboxAlso, I’ve had to scrub the guts of deer.” Should you be planning to be storing your car for an extended period, Charles advises that some type of rodent deterrent spray might help.

4. THEY MIGHT RUN SOME ERRANDS IN YOUR CAR.

While few mechanics actually go out on joy rides, the fact that they don’t get paid for the time needed to test drive one means your spotless new Honda may develop a stain of ketchup in the 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.

However, while their individual morality is different, many mechanics believe they are duty-bound to pull over when 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 thought about whether you should take your out-of-warranty vehicle in for repair at a less expensive, locally owned shop rather than a dealer-branded shingle, here’s a point to keep in mind: Many of those smaller businesses can’t afford to pay for the kind of information provided by car makers to help identify and treat the issue. “We’re able to go deep into the Volkswagen brand,” Charles says. “There are plenty of resources available to us which an independent location would not. We have access to the vehicle’s engineers when you require. The name is an all-allianceSmall-scale shops won’t be able to pay $15,000 every year [for that data] to concentrate on one particular type of carOnce they’ve surpassed their range of expertise, it’s more sense to visit an dealer.”

7. YOU’RE TECHNICALLY NOT ALLOWED IN THE GARAGE. EVER.

You’ve likely heard of making a mechanic show you a defective part to guarantee they’re not creating work for themselvesThis requires a trip to the door which is prohibited and marked “Do Not Enter.” But according to Ryan the mechanic, you’re not required to return there no matter what reason. “Insurance companies don’t want customers in the garage, ever,” he states. “It’s not that dangerous, but it’s not supposed to happen.”

8. THEY SOMETIMES MAKE THEIR OWN TOOLS.

When mechanics begin by buying their own tools–some even investing tens of thousands in equipment–there’ll always be times when they’ll need to think outside the box. “A tool might be missing, or not put back in the right place,” mobile mechanic Long Island NY Charles says. “Or a company just may not produce what you need. I have a drawer full of sockets and wrenches. Making your own tool is an enjoyable experience.”

9. THEY USE A COOKIE SHEET TO STAY ORGANIZED.

While mobile phones have been helpful in keeping track of how a part requires reassembling Some mechanics prefer to keep their work organized by setting out parts in a predetermined 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 for maintenance are expected to go through many small adjustments, however, that routine can get overlooked depending on how pressed for the time your technician is. “Stuff like lubricating door hinges or latching mechanisms gets missed all the time,” Ryan says. “It doesn’t affect performance at that moment, but it can over time.”

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