If you're considering a career being a car mechanic, please do not under any circumstances read this post. We're all completely baffled by these stories.


10.) Prius Doesn't Need Oil Since It Doesn't Have An Engine

I hope I'm not propogating stereotypes about Prius drivers, but this is too good not to share. From Arch Duke Maxyenko, ಠ_ಠ:

"I heard one about an older lady who bought a Prius. One day it had thrown a CEL and started driving like shit, so she took it to the dealer to be fixed. The mechanics started on it and they found the problem. So, they asked her when the last time she had the oil changed and her response was, 'never, the Prius doesn't have a motor, so why would I do that?'

The engine was shot from never having an oil change."

I'm pretty positive the Prius has an engine. That's why it makes that engine noise when you step on the go pedal.

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Suggested By: Arch Duke Maxyenko, ಠ_ಠ, Photo Credit: Toyota


9.) Tried To Vacuum The Gas Out Of A Beetle

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Hey, I'm all for being frugal, but there has to be a smarter way. From reader Shermanator:

" I had an old army buddy that I was mechanic with tell me he used to work in a VW shop in North Carolina...some guy had a wreck with his VW bug and left it at the shop he worked at. Couple hours later the guy comes back get this stuff out of the car and asks if they have a vacuum in the shop he can use. My friend pointed to the one centrally in the shop and said have at it.

My friend left the general area and heard the guy switch on the vacuum, then about 30-60 seconds later he hears this explosion in the middle of shop and the guy who had the end of the vacuum running around like he had his head chopped off....he comes to find out that the idiot was trying to siphon gas out of his wrecked VW and thought that using a vacuum would be a good idea...till the gas fumes hit the electric motors inside the vacuum!"

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Suggested By: Shermanator, Photo Credit: Roger


8.) Brakes Are A Little Spongy

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Check your brakes people!

"Had a customer come in a while back. Said her brakes were spongy. Here's what I found. Now I asked myself 'DID YOU NOT HEAR A GRINDING NOISE!!!' So we had her come to the back and showed her. The service writer and I said this was very dangerous, and that we've never seen anything like this before. She starts dancing and asking where here prize was. The kicker to the whole thing was the car seats in the back. People amaze me."

Suggested By: The doctor53, Photo Credit: The doctor53


7.) LeBaron Into Ravine

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Mechanics that don't know how manual transmissions operate scare the daylights out of me, and it seems Takuro [■][■]XXX\ ▼ /XXX[■][■] feels the same way:

"Directly behind the shop was a wooded area, complete with ravine and a 30 foot drop nearly straight down. But hey, they put a curb there.

A few years back, in the middle of a busy day, a gentleman came in with a white Chrysler LeBaron (cue Cake song) convertible with the top down for an oil change. He pulled it in, classic rock blasting on the radio, got out leaving his can of Coke in the cupholder, and had a seat in the waiting room. The oil and filter was changed, fluids checked, tires checked, windshield washed, all normal for the $14.95 or whatever it was service. When it came time to start the car to make sure oil pressure came up and there was no leak from the new Quaker State filter, the tech...mechanic leaned in, twisted the key, and.... out the open bay door the car lurched.

It was manual. And in gear. And had a bad clutch switch.

The car rolled out the door, over the curb, and down into the ravine.

Blasting classic rock the whole time.

Down there somewhere by the little creek that ran though it the LeBaron was arrested by a tree, and had finally stalled. Radio still playing.

A tow truck was called out to winch it from the abyss. All the while people were driving in and out, getting oil changes. Eventually all the cars had to be backed out, as the tow truck was blocking the rear entrance.

Meanwhile, as they're winching the car up, customers are watching the ass end and dirty underbits of a 90's LeBaron creeping slowly up over the curb.

Blasting classic rock.

I wonder what they were thinking.

Eventually the car was yanked to freedom, towed to a body shop (I can't recall if it was repaired or written off), and the place got a fun little story to tell all new hires. All of it which I believed to this day.

Except that not a drop of Coke was spilled from the open can in the cupholder."

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Suggested By: Takuro [■][■]XXX\ ▼ /XXX[■][■], Photo Credit: Chrysler


6.) When Will I Need To Fix This? Now

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As reader Baeromez knows, irate customers are the worst, but karma has a way of making things so much better:

" I used to work as a service writer at a shop owned by a department store that you mainly see out in front of malls. Had a woman in her early forties come in complaining of a severe vibration and clunking coming from the front of her car. During the walk around I noticed that her driver's side front wheel was a full-size spare, only being held on by ONE lug nut, and was missing 3 of the five studs. I asked her about it and she told me that she'd had a flat 2 months earlier on that wheel and that her son had changed it for her. I told her that this was most likely her problem, but that it would need to be addressed even if there was something else causing the vibration. I asked her if she wanted the flat repaired while were at it and she said "sure."

The tech took it from there, came back and told me that 3 of the studs were sheared off at the outside of the wheel and the only one with a nut was cross-threaded and would need to be replaced as well. On top of that the lower ball joint was shot, probably contributing to the problem. The flat tire was nowhere to be found in the car.

We did a full evaluation on the car and there were a few other issues, but nothing that would render the car undriveable. It was company policy to bring all known issues to the customer's attention and provide them with a rundown of the associated costs. I went through everything with the woman, who had waited patiently at the shop, explaining VERY clearly that the 4 lug nuts absolutely needed to be replaced, the ball joint should be addressed, everything else should be taken care of as soon as possible.

Completely straight-faced, she looks me dead in the eye and asks "So when do you think I'll have to fix it?" I'm sure my face showed a mixture of horror and confusion at this question, but I calmly replied "Today. Now." I explained that the car could not be driven, and that I couldn't even take it off the lift in its current state. So she goes outside and talks to someone on her phone for a minute, comes back in and says that she wants to take the car, that her son will fix it, and that we're trying to rip her off with all the 'extra crap I was trying to sell her.' I tell her again that we don't need to do anything but the studs, but that she can't drive it like it is. She gets pissed, I get the manager, he tells her the same thing. She starts freaking out, saying its her property, blah blah blah.

Now the manager was from some northern state where they have inspections, and can hold your car or make you have it towed if its not roadworthy. However, this isn't the case in Florida, so he gets the cops on the phone and they tell him to release the car. He warns her that there's a good chance that the wheel will fall off if she tries to drive it and offers to call a tow truck for her. She keeps going on about how we get kickbacks from the towing company or some shit, and demands her keys. We take it off the lift, and the manager hands her the keys with a final warning that she shouldn't drive the car.

She hops in, and flips us the bird as she drives away. As she makes the right turn into the mall parking lot, the wheel decides enough is enough and goes rolling on its merry way without her. She even had the nerve to come back and ask for our help, which was met with a hearty chuckle. We called loss prevention and they had a wrecker come out and take the car away."

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Suggested By: Baeromez, Photo Credit: Abdullah AlBargan


5.) Con Rods Put A Hole In The Side Of The Block

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I cannot stress enough the importance of making sure your oil is changed, and this story from autojim will corroborate:

" It's the late-1980s. At the family auto repair shop, we hear this car making a tremendous knocking sound coming down the street. Sure enough, the ~3 year old Honda Accord turns into our driveway, and the very slight slope up is enough to cause the knocking to become a loud BANG followed by a large fluid dump and a cloud of steam.

The customer, a young, earnest, and rather mechanically-clueless grad student from the nearby religious-affiliated university, parks it and says it's been running rough, maybe it needs a tune-up? He'd been taking it to his hometown Honda dealer for maintenance, but now that it was out of warranty, one of his neighbors had suggested he come see us.

Open the hood, and #2 and #3 con rods (well, their remnants) are sticking out of the hole they made in the side of the block, as a pool of coolant and oil spreads out from under the car. One of our techs says "Gonna need more than plugs and a cap & rotor to fix that one..." and goes back inside, shaking his head.

Upon a bit of investigation, we find a disturbing amount of oil sludge under the cam cover, and the filter looks to be the OEM one, not the Honda service part. Question the customer about oil changes, and he produces a file of receipts showing regular changes well within recommended intervals, all done at the Honda store in his hometown where he'd bought the car (he'd go home on school breaks and get the service done "because he knew those folks. They're nice.").

They'd also wall-jobbed him EVERY SINGLE TIME he'd brought it in for an oil change. The drain plug had never seen a wrench.

We put a Honda reman engine in it for him, and IIRC, one of my uncles was deposed for the suit he brought against his friendly hometown Honda store."

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Suggested By: autojim, Photo Credit: Honda


4.) If You're Going To Donk Your Car, Don't Do It Cheaply

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Don't buy cheap wheels ever, especially if you're turning your car into a donk, as 8695Beaters found out.

"[The customer] had a Mercury Grand Marquis and decided he wanted it to be a Donk. He even bought the cheesy "24s" decal from Pep Boys before he got his rims. He was in at least once a month with slow leaks because he bought the awful and cheap Chinese wheels and never avoided potholes (skinny 30-series tires, + weak aluminum = square wheels with bent rims).

We were constantly repairing his rims trying to get them to stop leaking (they weighed at least 80 lbs by the way and NOBODY wanted to work on them. Removing and mounting skinny tires is the absolute worst. It usually takes two or three people just to get them mounted). To make these massive rims fit he had to use a lift kit, but was too cheap to buy the extended shocks and just bought the springs.

One day we were jacking up the front of his car to repair a wheel when *BANG* something broke. After our hearts started beating again we looked under the car...the shock shaft had sheared in half. After however many miles of being stretched way past its limits, the stock strut had snapped.

Luckily it was the front, which is a factory coilover, so the spring kept the shock from flying out and killing someone. Lucky for him it happened when we were working on it instead of when he hit another pothole. Otherwise he'd probably have won a Darwin Award."

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Suggested By: 8695Beaters, Photo Credit: Phillip Pessar


3.) Drove To Work With No Tire, Didn't Notice

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How does this even happen?

" I work on my cars regularly. So one of my coworker who doesn't know squat about cars comes up to me one day and asks me if I work on cars. I reply with a yes and then immedietly ask whats wrong now?

Coworker said on the way to work the car's steering wheel would shake uncontrallaby but he made to work anyways. I said I will check it out after work in the parking lot.

So after work I walk out to me and he described his way to work and how hard it was to control it on the HIGHWAY! We get to the car and what do I see?

On the driver side of the car, the front tire of the rusty but still trusty 89' corolla was blown. Let me rephrase that. The front tire of the rusty but trusty 89' Corolla was missing. I was amazed how he drove that car on the highway 10 miles to work without noticing the lack of tire on the wheel. I mean there had to be sparks flying everywhere because all was left was the steel wheel. The wheel was really dented and torn to scrap too.

I shook my head in disbalief. Then proceeded to help him swap his spare in. My god. It took another 4 hours because of no spare in the back, no jack, and then the wheel was rusted to the hub. Let me remind you that it took that long because he never told me he had either one. I would have made one trip but I really took 3 because he neglected or was just not car centric.

Anyways that was a horrible day. but well invested. I got first dibs on his trusty corolla for $100 after he got a newerish car."

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Suggested By: 4wsprelude, Photo Credit: Toyota


2.) Exploded Transfer Case

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This is what happens when you don't know how proper 4WD works. Check out the post by Earthbound And Down for the gruesome pictures.

" The worst one I ever saw (I worked at an aftermarket Euro-centric shop for three years) was an exploded transfer case. The owner must have switched their Jeep Grand Cherokee out of 2H and driven it for a while.

Actually, I don't know what the hell they did, but whatever they did was good enough to bind the driveline so intensely that the transfer case exploded rather gratuitously.

When the transfer case exploded, it severed one of the hard brake lines, which wrapped around one of the shafts in a way that I'd never seen before.

Did I mention that the owner only came into the shop for poor braking and a 'small" noise?"

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Suggested By: Earthbound And Down, Photo Credit: Jeep


1.) Something Smells Bad

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Don't read this story from Vincent Davidson if you plan on eating any time soon. Or ever. In fact, don't read this story at all.

" Lady came in with her two kids and her few-month-old MDX. RO said Customer states- Very foul odor coming from interior. Check and advise.

Mind you, this was the peak of summer, about a 90deg fahrenheit day.

Tech next to me was thinking, 'hmmm , defective catalytic converter...?' Nope. The smell began to woft through the entire shop. It smelled like death. The car was otherwise clean inside. He continued to look around (yes, wearing a mask).

Looked under the middle row seat and found a POUND OF HAMBURGER?! jammed underneath, with an expiration date of about 3 months prior. With live maggots protruding out of the packaging. She actually tried to get insurance to cover checkout time and a full interior detail for that. From what I remember her insurance agent laughed out loud at the request.

I couldn't eat a hamburger for like 6 months after that."

Nope. Nope. Nope. Nope. Nope.

Suggested By: Vincent Davidson, Photo Credit: Daniel Carlbom

Welcome back to Answers of the Day - our daily Jalopnik feature where we take the best ten responses from the previous day's Question of the Day and shine it up to show off. It's by you and for you, the Jalopnik readers. Enjoy!

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Top Photo Credit: coldzer0 and Reddit's invaluable r/JustRolledIntoTheShop. Check out this thread of the bent truck right here. No I don't know how that happens.


Contact the author at chris@jalopnik.com.