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Week of Lame For an Auto Mechanic

Published on July 16, 2011 under Humble Mechanic

So I really wanted to write a nice blog about cars tonight. My head, however is just not into it. Its been a really challenging week.  Here is what went down.

The very first car of the week belongs to a good customer that has since become a great friend.  He called me and told me that he thought his clutch had went out in his 2003 Jetta.  I test drive the car and its making a crazy noise from the transmission.  I check it on the lift and confirm something in the transmission is not happy.  I drain the fluid and find chunks of metal. I quote up the rebuild parts, only to find its way cheaper to replace the whole thing.  I totally feel for the guy.  I think that started me bumming this week.

2 cars later, one of my sweetest customers came in with with her ABS (antilock brake system)  light on.  She drives a 99 Beetle.  This lady reminds me of my grandmother.  I pull her car in the shop, scan the codes, and find some bad news.  After some checking and testing some wires, it find that she needs a new ABS module to the tune of $2300.  I cant even explain how it makes me feel telling anyone that, but especially her..

Yesterday I spent about 4 hours dealing with a radio that would not work correctly.  A VERY long story short is that VW had updated the radio to one that looked like a radio from 2006, but the internal parts were new.  I found this out after 5 calls to VW, and of course the complete run around.   I am currently waiting to see if the 4th radio I get will work correctly.  This guy has a 2009 Jetta and cant use his Ipod.

Then today, I am pulling a car out of the shop right after lunch.  In the lot, a customer comes up to me and says

“Hi, are you the diesel guy?”.

I say “we don’t really have a diesel guy, we all kinda work on everything”.

“Oh, we talked a while back about me buying a TDI Touareg.”

I of course don’t remember right a way, but after chatting with him, we get on the same page.  He tells me whats going on with his 05 Beetle.  Based on what he tells me, I was pretty sure it needed a cam shaft.  I spend some time checking his car out, test driving it, running some computer diagnostics, and looking at scan tool data.  While I was still not 100% sure, I was about 85% sure that the car had some internal engine damage.  I bring him out to the shop and have another talk.  We decide that pulling the valve cover and looking inside the engine would be the next step.  I take the valve cover off, and find that the cam shaft has flat spots in it.  That’s a VERY bad thing.  He asks me what I think it will cost.  I tell him that I would bet its about $2200.  He tells me I am crazy, and that it couldn’t be more than $1200.  He was totally nice to me, I think he was floored that I thought it would be that much.  As luck would have it, I was off by $1200.  The estimate came to $3400 for a cam shaft and related parts and labor.  He is currently calling Volkswagen to see if they can offer him any help.

Oh, I also forgot that another really good customer turned friend was coming in.  I was paged up front, and there she was.  We chatted for a minute, and she could tell I had no idea why she was there.  I thought she just came by to hang out or something. (that does happen from time to time.  It usually makes my day so feel free).  It finally dawned on me that we had talked about her getting a state inspection done.

I know this post is full of bad news and me complaining, so for that I am sorry.  It just really bothers me when I tell people their car needs so much work.  It REALLY hits home when they come in and ask for me to be their guy.  It feels like I let them down somehow.

Thanks for reading, and I guess before you bring your car to me, see how the first car of the week went.  It could be a sign!

 

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4 Comments

  1. kevinvw

    I hear ya buddy, welcome to my daily life of being the bearer of bad news!(service advisor/mananger) maybe soon enough you wont have to worry about it anymore and we can get back to the old days

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