Author Topic: Overheard at the mechanic  (Read 2596 times)

No Name Guy

  • Bristles
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  • Location: Western Washington
Overheard at the mechanic
« on: October 30, 2013, 01:15:53 PM »
Had the car in for service (leaky power steering hose, plus a "check engine" which turned out to be a faulty sensor inside the engine....ugggg - I'll do my own brakes, but that's more than I care to do).

Chatting with the guy / owner and he related a couple good ones: 

1)  He said back in the go-go years of the Dot Com time (95-00)and during the height of the real estate bubble / House-as-ATM time (04-07), folks would bring in their cars with a "check engine" or some similar problem.  He'd diagnose the issue, quote 'em the fix and often times folks would just go buy a new car instead of paying a measly $600 repair bill.....we're not talking a new engine or transmission or multi-thousand dollar bill, but a few hundred bucks.  And we're not talking POS rust buckets either, but vehicles in otherwise decent shape where a repair of this magnitude is well justified.

2)  Mechanic had a customer a few years ago whose kid (18-19ish years old, so bought it himself) had a typical piece-o-sh*t rust bucket mid 70's truck.  Stupid early adult kid dropped $2500 in wheels and big mudder tires for it.  Kid left the state 6 months later (probably go sick of dad calling him an idiot for spending that much on shit for the truck) and the truck was in an inoperable condition.  Parent / Customer was asking mechanic what to do since the truck itself (less the tires and wheels) was worth at best slightly more than scrap metal value.

Note that Mr. Mechanic has noted a swift change in values these last 5 years from anecdote 1 - now a days, he says customers are far more willing to fix the cars, even some pretty major repairs, like transmission replacements, on otherwise well running vehicles with plenty of life left in them.


  • 5 O'Clock Shadow
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Re: Overheard at the mechanic
« Reply #1 on: October 30, 2013, 01:51:42 PM »
I wonder is it because budgets become tighter or because more people started doing math.

DIY off topic: some sensors are super easy to replace. I changed my camshaft position sensor last weekend. Had to unscrew 2 bolts from the side of the head. Error code scanner tool might be quite useful since it will work with most of the cars made during last 15 years (they share OBD-II interface). If you know an error code you can pinpoint what is exactly wrong with car.


  • Walrus Stache
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Re: Overheard at the mechanic
« Reply #2 on: October 30, 2013, 03:05:37 PM »
Actually most sensors are easy to replace. You can buy a chip from EBAY that will talk wirelessly to your Android phone with a the "torque" App (cost $5 for the app and $25 for the scanner chip). The chip plugs into the OBD2 port.

Usually the only sensor that won't throw a code is the crank position sensor.. but that either works or it doesn't.

The other thing is on the Dodge Neon (I rebult one) the wiring harness almost always chaf/melts on the back side of the engine (next to the exhaust). So I pulled the harness out (about 30 mins work), unwrapped it and soldered in a few lengths of wires to replace the melted ones.

Then I wrapped it first in fiberglass cloth, then in covered that with silicone tape which has a much higher melting point than PVC.

The great thing about modern cars is that you don't ever spend any time tuning them... if it throws a code, change the sensor... clear the code and your back in business..:)