Tech Stuff

Some people shouldn’t own cars

We’ve all dealt with these types of customers from time to time. You know, the folks who amaze you with their vehicle ignorance. But since you’re a polite pro and don’t want to alienate anyone, you say nothing, just grin and bear it. (And then try to educate them.)

Here are a just a few encounters that come to mind, experienced either by myself or an acquaintance who runs a shop.

“I’ve been sitting for over a half hour in your waiting room. The coffee stinks, your magazines are old and there’s nothing of interest on your TV. Why in the world does it take so long to change a simple belt?”

(The job at hand involved replacing a timing belt on a cramped-engine-bay in a PT Cruiser.)

“My uncle could replace those fuel injectors and figure out why the battery dies all the time in an hour, and he wouldn’t charge me. I saw him change a carburetor on his truck once.”

(On the inside, you tell her to take her piece of junk to her uncle and never darken your doorway again. On the outside, you politely explain that your skilled technicians should complete the job in about another hour, barring any other problems that they find during the diagnosis. Let’s pull the car into the shop now, miss.)

“Ever since you did the oil change on my Kia Soul, the car rides really rough. I feel like I’m driving a truck.”

(First of all, we all know that one thing has nothing to do with the other. In addition, you take the car for a test drive and she rides smooth as silk.)

“My dog keeps jumping up on my hood and scratching the paint. Do you have anything to prevent that?”

(You’d love to tell her to position an angry skunk on the cowl, but you’re polite.)

“The last time I was here you told me to check my tire pressure regularly. I followed your advice, and now the car rides kind of hard. It feels thumpy when I hit bumps.”

(You check pressure only to find that he pumped up all of the tires to the MAX rating. When you ask why he inflated all of the tires to 46 psi instead of the 34 psi that you recommended, he tells you that he assumed that anything that says “max” would be better. Grrr.)

“I think there’s something wrong with my car. It’s hard for me to keep it steering where I want to go. I’m so afraid that there’s something seriously wrong and it’s going to be expensive.”

(You wipe the French fry grease from the steering wheel with a towel soaked with Dawn and water, rinse and dry, and tell her to have a nice day. “No charge, ma’am.”)

“My car keeps leaking oil, and I’m tired of checking the dipstick. So until I could bring the car to you, I played it safe and poured in a whole 10 quarts, which I figured would be plenty to get me by until I came here. Oh, by the way, now the car makes strange sounds, too, and it’s getting worse.”

(Can you say rod and main bearings?)

“I just bought a 1964 Ford Fairlane, all restored. Great paint job. Thought it would be great to have a car to drive to car shows, like some of my buddies. But it rides lousy, the steering feels loose and the brakes are terrible. My new BMW rides so much nicer than this.”

(Hey, pal, it’s not a new BMW. It’s a 49-year-old Ford. You need to collect stamps instead of cars.)

“My dad keeps telling me that I don’t know how to drive a stick. Boy, is he dumb. My car has a stick and I don’t have any problems at all.”

(Yep, the automatic trans in her car has a console-located straight shift lever with a ball on top.)

Editor’s note: I really wish I had made this up.   ●


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