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August 1st, 1999 Article
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Ok, I got an E-mail this week that requires a general response.

I get a little sick of hearing people dumping on mechanic's about problems with THEIR VEHICLES that THEY have bought, from a Salesperson that makes a lot more money on average than mechanics. They also bought this vehicle from a car lot or Dealership that makes MUCH more money than a person that owns an Auto repair shop. I am just going to go through a few of the STORIES that I (And most other mechanic's.) have heard over the years and add my own comments from experience. (And let's hear from some of you other Mechanic's if I am wrong.)

Scenario # 1. A phone call from a very irate person that goes like this: "Look, I just had my car in there for a complete service last week, (An oil and filter change.) now the car has stalled out on the Freeway." "What are you going to do about it?" After I pull out the work order from last week, I see a note where the Mechanic had noticed a rough Idle and had suggested a diagnostic service, the owner had declined saying that the car ran fine as far as they were concerned, I bring this point up to the person on the phone and get told that we are just trying to rip him off and he is going to SUE.
Comparison: A person goes in to a Dentist to get their teeth cleaned and a week later gets a tooth ache, is it the Dentists fault.

Scenario #2. A person comes in with a complaint of a vibration at 90-100kmh and when it is suggested that the wheels may need to be balanced, the person says; Well you guy's did a brake job last fall, don't you look for those kinds of problem?" I point out that the vehicle has gone more than 5000miles since the brake job and get told; Well you guys must of left some of the wheel weights loose and now they fell off. (????)
Comparison: A person calls in a Plumber last year to look at their leaking sink. Now, the bathroom toilet is not shutting off, is it the fault of the plumber?

Scenario # 3. A person comes in with a vehicle that they bought a few months ago and it has a very serious problem. The vehicle is running very rough and way too rich. A quick test for trouble codes does not turn on the check engine light and further investigation shows the bulb has been removed. (Probably because whoever sold the vehicle did not want to get the problem fixed that was turning on the check engine light.) I ask the vehicle owner if they had got a Inspection done on the vehicle before they bought it and I am told that US MECHANICS WANT TOO MUCH MONEY FOR THOSE CHECKS AND THE VEHICLE RAN JUST FINE ANYWAY. A quick diagnostic check shows the system is not going into CLOSED LOOP operation, (Meaning the On Board system is NOT turning on.) and I try to explain that it is going to take some time to diagnose the problem and there will be some expense involved. But, I am told that we are supposed to give FREE estimates and they are not going to pay ANYTHING just to have us check out the vehicle.
Comparison: A person gets ill and goes to the Doctor to find out what is wrong and it is going to require X-rays, Blood test etc, to try and find out what the problem is. Does the Doctor not charge for this diagnosis? The bottom line here is: people create their own problems with vehicles and expect mechanics to get them out of the problems for free. As soon as Doctors, Lawyers, Store clerks and everyone else starts working for free, so will I. If I (Or any other Mechanic.) have to spend time even LOOKING at a vehicle, I (Or we.) should be paid for that time because WE DON'T WORK FOR FREE ANY MORE THAN YOU DO. This may sound a little harsh but I didn't by it, I don't own it and in most cases I never even recommended that you buy it.

It's your vehicle and it's your problem. Don't expect other people to PAY for your problems.

"TOOT" Rick "The Wrench" - August 1st,1999
Copyright of Rick The Wrench, 1999

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