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28 Bizarre Things Car Mechanics Saw On The Job

Cameron EittreimMarch 5, 2021

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19: Tesla Has Seen Worse

Of course, he has seen a lot worse in his time in the automotive industry than a pile of fish. “That honor might go to the corpse he discovered in the trunk of a car that had been dropped off for service. “Oops, meant to take that out?” Glastetter wondered. In other cars, he’s also found a brick of drugs, several adult “toys,” an arsenal of guns and ammo, bottles of liquor, dirty diapers, and a live snake.” – via Readers Digest. We’re not sure if most owners think about what they are leaving behind when it comes time to service.

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You want to make sure that any personal effects are removed from the vehicle, especially if they are “personal” indeed. Not only will it save you from embarrassment, but it will also save the technician from a not-so-ordinary day at the job. Most people who get their vehicles serviced wouldn’t think twice but hopefully, this story will make you.

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18: Finding A Corpse In The Car

It’s not unfathomable in today’s off-the-wall world that an automotive tech could come across the extreme. But what happens next? Well, it comes time to tell the authorities first and foremost and not interfere with the crime scene. Experiences like this happen once in a lifetime and they can be both traumatic and terrifying. You don’t know where the car came from or who the owner is, you just know that something isn’t right. Working the automotive field technicians have pretty much seen it all and most used cars have seen a thing or two as well.

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This probably won’t happen to the vast majority of us but it is still worth it to take heed. You never know what kind of strange things will happen and influence your life. At the end of the day, you’ll need to be prepared for anything as an automotive technician. On the plus side, you get to learn a lot about life and cars in the long run.

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17: The Mechanic Could Have Been Greedy

This same mechanic had another interesting story that he told Readers Digest. He had found a large sum of money stuffed in the dashboard of a car, nevertheless, he turned it over to the owner. Talk about an honest driver. “Glastetter also recalls the time that a brown paper bag with $60,000 turned up wedged behind the glove box of a car that was in for service. He returned it to the customer—no questions asked.” – via Readers Digest. It is hard to find an honest person that will not keep that amount of money to themselves.

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Nevertheless, this story goes to show that there are still honest people that won’t steal. The vast amount of situations just like this don’t turn out well. Leave change in your cup holder at the car wash? Chances are it will be gone by the time you come back, and that is just a fact of life. This was one time when honesty paid off for sure.

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16: What You Can Do To Protect Yourself

Drivers won’t want to leave loose change or cash in your vehicle, this leaves you susceptible to theft. We all tend to throw loose change around in our vehicles but this is the first way that you will end up being taken from. You also want to negate leaving important documents in the car like the Title or anything important. If the title is stolen your vehicle can be registered by someone else and stolen. These are worst-case scenarios but naturally, it is better to be prepared for the worst.

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By making sure that you are prepared you won’t end up taking a loss that you don’t have to. Smash and grab thefts are some of the most common in the automotive industry, and thus you are constantly a potential victim.

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15: The Story Of The Mysterious Shrunken Car

Obesity is a major topic of conversation in America, and obese drivers find it extremely hard to get a comfortable vehicle. This story was shared with Readers Digest about a driver who thought that her car had been shrunk on purpose. “Glastetter’s strangest story, in his opinion, was the time when an extremely overweight woman picked up her car after having it serviced. She was there with her daughter, who was also extremely overweight. After the women squeezed into the car, Glastetter began to hear a commotion. A minute later, he says, they stomped out of the car, fists clenched and red-faced. “You shrunk my car,” the woman insisted. “Now put it back to the size it was when we dropped it off, or you’ll hear from my lawyer.” – via Readers Digest.

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This story just goes to show you that anyone can be affected by something like this. She thought that her car shrunk when in reality it was probably that the seat was adjusted. Small cars such as the Chevy Citation or Ford Focus are extremely difficult to get into, especially if you are a larger person.

1991 Chevrolet S-10 Blazer
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14: The Rise In Crossovers

Part of the reason for the massive popularity of crossover vehicles is the fact that the consumer base is getting larger. This isn’t a joke, but one of the driving factors in which compact cars are being pushed to the wayside. Crossover vehicles are a lot larger and the interior dimensions are friendlier for accommodating a larger load. This has created a massive new market with plenty of profits for automakers to enjoy, whereas the sedan and compact car market has declined steadily every year.

1991 Jeep Wagoneer
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Stories like this can be painful and enlightening at the same time. Rather than make fun of the driver’s insane reaction we can look at the bigger problem. And what it might take to fix this in the automotive industry. Larger cars might not be the only solution to a problem that has been brewing for decades.

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13: Protecting The Car From The Tax Man

We’ve all heard the stories about the people who wear a tinfoil hat. The thinking is that the government is using cellular towers to surveil information, and foil stops the signals from making it through. This couldn’t be further from the truth, nevertheless, there was a customer who tried on his car anyway. “Reddit user Yellow Toad had heard of stories of people wearing tinfoil hats, but he never thought he’d see a car whose engine, wires, battery, and hoses were wrapped completely in foil. Turned out the customer owed a lot in back taxes and was certain the government was attempting to track her via her car. She figured since tinfoil works to keep the government from tapping into your brain, it must work with cars equally as well.” – via Readers Digest.

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Would the tinfoil work? Well, no, but the driver was trying anyway. We’re not sure what the driving factor behind this rationale was. Foil won’t protect your car from signals or surveillance, and you can expect that it will be signaled out as an oddity. Owe the taxman? Just get them paid, it’s the only way.

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12: Cars Are More Connected Than Ever

The cars that we drive nowadays are connected to the outer world more than ever before. It used to be that you had an AM/FM radio, but now cars are connected to Satellite GPS, remote service diagnostics, wireless internet, and more. With the advent of self-driving cars, they will only get more advanced because of the push for new technology. There is no way to simply take your car “off the grid” anymore, you just have to buy an older model car. This is why off-road enthusiasts have been flocking toward old-fashioned SUV models.

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The simplistic design and lack of a computer make maintenance simple and finding the problem another easy task. You can expect that the classic SUV model will continue to rise in price as the technological aspects of modern cars continue to rise. Thus, the foil method will not work in stopping your vehicle from being tracked.

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11: When Drivers Don’t Just Understand

Every so often as a mechanic you’ll come across something so stupid that it has no foundation. That is the story that one mechanic experienced according to Readers Digest. “A lady came in and said that her car would pull to the right, recalls mechanic, Cheima15. After driving it for 10 minutes, he could find nothing wrong with it. Perhaps, the lady suggested, if Cheima came for a ride with her, he’d see it with his own two eyes. Sure enough, the car did pull dramatically to the right—anytime the driver reached over to open the glove box. The mechanic saved his customer some money by recommending she not open the glove box while steering.” – via Readers Digest.

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As you can see here the driver failed to understand that she was the reason that the car was swaying. Even with the new lane departure systems that cars have there is still going to be that selection of drivers that won’t learn. You’ll still have distractions and sadly there will still be crashes.

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10: How Couldn’t The Driver Tell

Look, as a mechanic you’ve been there. When a customer swears that the car is going the wrong way or not responding correctly. The driver was obviously in her zone instead of focusing on the road and the way that her car was acting. Most drivers fail to realize things that are going on with their vehicles right under their noses. As such this is a common tail of something that happens to a lot of people in their vehicles.

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The mechanic was able to diagnose the problem from the driver’s perspective. He was able to zone in on the fact that the driver just wasn’t in tune with her vehicle. This is not something new and you’ll see this more and more as cars become more computerized. The days of being able to diagnose your car are far behind us.

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9: Mystery Noise In The Trunk

Chances are that we’ve all had a moment where we hear a weird sound coming from our vehicle. Whether it be clunking under the hood, suspension, or in the trunk. Nevertheless, identifying what sound is coming from was was important. This driver happened to have a bowling ball rolling around in the trunk. “Reddit user FartKilometre tells a story of a customer who came in complaining of hearing a heavy clunking noise whenever he stopped his car and a similar heavy clunking whenever he was pulling away from a stop. The problem, FK discovered, was the loose bowling ball rolling around in the trunk.” – via Readers Digest.

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How you would forget that a bowling ball was in the trunk? Well, a lot of us throw extra stuff in our trunks and forget about it. More so if you have a pickup truck with a large-sized truck bed. You’ll find yourself throwing everything from beer cans to bowling balls back there if you are in a hurry, and all of this extra stuff will cause road noise.

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8: Teaches Us To Secure Cargo

What the story about the bowling ball in the trunk tells us is that we need to properly secure cargo. You can transport a bowling ball but would you want it rolling around the trunk and damaging everything? Probably not, thus it is important to make sure that all cargo is secured. A lot of automakers sell accessories like a cargo net or a tonneau cover for truckbeds. Securing cargo will make sure that you don’t have any flying debris in a crash either.

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Perhaps the bowling ball person learned that those Friday night bowling sessions are not as important as securing cargo. Because the diagnostic for a mechanic is not generally free, and the diagnostic was a bowling ball. Talk about a waste of time and money and money for a simple error in judgment.

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7: Understanding Child Safety Locks

During the ’90s, cars were being designed with new child safety locks that would prevent the passenger doors from opening. A lot of drivers are still baffled by this and here is one such case that happened. “Mechanic Rebel_County recalls a customer coming to him, complaining that he couldn’t open the rear doors of his car. Sure enough, the doors would not open, and Rebel County was as baffled as to his customer. It finally occurred to him that… no, could it be something as simple as the child safety lock is on? And so it was. It was just too bad that this occurred to him only after he had pretty much taken the door apart.” – via Readers Digest.

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For older cars especially those that were designed in the nineties the child safety lock is a manual switch. Thus, if this switch is engaged the doors will not open from the inside and it can create confusion for the consumer.

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6: Pay Attention To Safety Features

The story about the child safety locks just shows us that we need to know about everything that is built into our car. If you are just driving around for no reason and not understanding your car then you will never experience all of the features. There are all kinds of locking mechanisms that are built into modern cars such as a sunroof lock, door locks, and of course safety. There is even an emergency trunk release in most modern sedans.

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You should take the time to read the manual thoroughly and learn about all of your car’s safety features. You will have a better driving experience overall and enjoy your car a lot more. Most people don’t take the time to examine their new vehicle thoroughly and a lot of the features go untouched for the car’s life.

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5: Antifreeze Is Sweet And Deadly

Cars and trucks no longer run on straight water to stay cool, and as such you’ve probably bought a jug of coolant at one time or another. Well, the antifreeze of today has a sweet taste to it which makes it deadly for animals that are attracted to a taste. Here is a story about a thirsty mouse “Upon opening the hood of a customer’s car, mechanic Val M. Smith was startled to see a mouse holding the upper radiator hose in a death grip. It was a death grip—the mouse was dead. “Only thing we could figure was it had acquired a taste for the antifreeze leaking from the hose and died gripping the hose when drinking. Strangest thing I have seen!” – via Readers Digest.

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So this should teach us that antifreeze is a deadly thing to have around the garage. When you do a radiator flush you don’t want to do it near animals or where the coolant can leak. Your dogs or cats could be killed from drinking even a little bit of the coolant, same for children.

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4: Keep All Fluids Safe

Automotive fluids whether it be engine oil, coolant, or even accessories need to be put up and out of reach of children and animals. The story about the mouse and the coolant is unique but it isn’t something that we want to see often. If you have a pooch that roams around the garage or a child that has a knack for curiosity then you should probably put your antifreeze. No matter what kind of antifreeze you are using they are all equally poisonous.

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The fact that there are more do-it-yourself mechanics than ever before means that you are bound to have some coolant laying around. But the key is to keep it put away and safe from any kind of risk.

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3: The Flat Tire

If you have a car that has sat for years on end the tire can become damaged and unusable, sadly this person didn’t understand. “You need a new tire,” replied the mechanic. “No, it’s just the bottom that’s flat.” The customer pointed out that the rest of the tire looked fine. The mechanic had to give a brief physics lesson to help the customer understand that when the bottom of a tire is flat, the tire is flat.” – via Readers Digest.

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The flat tire is an indication that the car sat for a very long time without having air. Or the tire was flat when the car was parked and the owner just decided against fixing it. Nevertheless, the flat fire is unusable and this happens quite often.

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2: Customer Didn’t Understand The Speedometer

Every once in a while you’ll have a story that is so dumb that you don’t believe it. This is one of those stories “Reddit contributor Delmer Dueck, who owned an automotive repair shop for a few years, recalls the time a customer brought in his car, thinking the speedometer was broken: It didn’t work when the car wasn’t moving.” – via Readers Digest.

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This is a prime example of a driver not understanding what the actual automobile is. What we don’t understand is how this person became licensed in the first place. Nevertheless, there are sure to be countless more drivers like this. Especially as cars become more and more advanced in the future.

Photo Credit: Edmunds

1: Weird Sound From The Air Conditioning

Drivers often notice all kinds of weird sounds coming out of their AC unit, especially as the vehicle gets older. This specific driver thought that he heard laughing coming out of the vents “Reddit user and mechanic fatalalala recalls the time a customer complained he heard a man laughing whenever he started the car. After some digging, the mechanic discovered it was a flapping business card that was stuck in the passenger side AC vent.” – via Readers Digest.

Photo Credit: Edmunds

This is not uncommon for us to stick stuff in certain areas of our and forget about it. Nevertheless, to think that you are hearing laughter takes a certain type of sound. This mechanic will probably not forget the encounter with this specific car owner for a while.

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