damaged VW beetle headlight

Happy Wednesday everyone. As you have come to expect, it is Shop Shots day. For those that are new to the blog, here is a little about Shop Shots. This all started in the early days of the blog. In an effort to share more about what a mechanic does, I thought sharing pictures would be cool. I posted a few and wrote a little blurb about each one. It was a big hit. My good buddy Brett came up with the name Shop Shots. Here we are 79 times in and still rocking. Actually, 79 is not the correct number. There are one or two times I messed up the number. 🙂

Automotive Podcast.
Really quick before we get into the pictures. I just want to be sure you all have seen the Podcast I started a few weeks ago. This is a daily show about all things related to automotive service. We talk about being a tech, car maintenance, being a good customer, finding the right tech, and on and on.

This is really meant to bring the customer and the technician back on the same page. The more we understand each other, the better everyone’s experience will be.

One last thing about the Automotive Podcast. I am working on stripping the audio and making an audio only version. That way if you want to listen while you are driving, it is no hassle at all. I am really a podcast fan, so this should be awesome.

Okay, let’s do some Shop Shots!

Bad VW tire repairFirst up we have a horrible tire repair. This is a plug that was done basically in the sidewall of the tire. If you look in the red circle, you can see the plug. Then you can see how chunks of the tire are coming off. There is a lot of flex in that area of the tire. This position makes for a very dangerous repair. This is one reason why many tire shops will not patch or plug a tire in that location.

damaged VW beetle headlightNext up is an issue that plagues Beetle Headlights. That plague is front end damage on 1998-2010 VW Beetles. The problem comes when either a Beetle has damage, or a headlight is not installed properly. This makes installing the headlight extremely difficult.

In this case, someone or something damaged the headlight in a way that it should have been replaced. As you can see, it was not replaced. It was epoxied back together. This may have solved the issue of water leaking into the headlight. It did not solve the, it’s a pain to properly install issue.

Not installing the headlight properly doesn’t just look bad. On the facelift Beetles (2006-2010) it can make the headlight not work. On that generation Beetle, the electrical plug is connected when the headlight is properly installed. Officially, I have no opinion about that logic of that 😉

Failed VW TurboLast up is something that I have never seen before, and I have seen some CRAZY stuff. This 1.8t Passat got towed in. Another shop told them they needed an engine computer. The tech looking at it called me over to check this out.

The top red circle is the line that supplies oil to the turbocharger. This both cools and lubricates one of the hottest parts of the engine. For sum reason, that line is blocked off. That means the turbo is getting NO FREAKING OIL! Why? WHY? WHY????

I don’t understand why this would be a thing. It would be like driving your car around with no engine oil, on purpose. Who ever did this, may have ruined the turbo. To be fair, it may have been toast before. Well, at least we had a good laugh at the shop.

Well, that does it for another round of Shop Shots. I was wondering what you guys thing about the red highlights on the pictures? Is this something that works better than just a picture? Post you thoughts in the comments.

Humble Mechanic Logo

In today’s episode of the Automotive Podcast, we talk about how mechanics can deal with bad jobs. This comes on the heals of me having a rough day. I do not want you to think I spend the entire show complaining about the bad jobs mechanics get. This is an episode explaining how a job that stinks can really bring you down. But I also give you some ways to work through it.

Join in while we discuss

  • Some bad jobs for a mechanic
  • How to deal with bad work
  • Keeping a positive attitude as a mechanic
  • Not getting pulled in to the negative crew.
  • The Episode about Flat Rate

As always, your comments on the podcast are not only welcome, but appreciated. This automotive podcast is currently in video form. I am kicking around the idea of stripping the audio, and making it a true audio podcast. What are your thoughts? Would you prefer to be able to load up on Itunes and listen?

Funny Car Signs

Happy Monday everyone. Today on the Automotive Podcast, we are talking about what to do when your car is not fixed right the first time. As much as I wish all cars were fixed right, that is just not reality. We discuss the steps you can take to get your car back on the road with as little headache as possible.

Show Notes:

  • Step 1
    Analyze if your car is safe, and keep calm
  • Step 2
    Call the shop ASAP, and stay calm
  • Step 3
    Explain exactly what is happening, and note if it is the same issue, or a new one
  • Step 4
    Give them an opportunity to fix it.
  • Step 5
    Work with that same shop to get your car fixed
  • Why a check engine light may not be diagnosed properly.
  • Keys to getting your car fixed asap

I know that this can be a touchy subject for folks. But these is the best way I have found to help make a crappy situation with your car better.

Thanks for tuning in to the automotive podcast. I am really excited about the response. If you have any show topics, please comment, or contact me.

Humble Mechanic Logo

Happy Thursday everybody. I have a really cool tool for you guys today. We are looking at the “Get Sorted Socket Organizer” from the great folks at Sky Leap LLC. You may remember that I did a review of their wrench holder. You can check that out here. They also have some other really neat organizers. The tray for pliers seems really cool.

Again, overall I think this is a good product. You can find their stuff on Amazon. If you pick one of these babies up, let me know. I want to see how you set it up.

If you have a product you would like me to review, please let me know. I have a ton of tools. 😉 If you or your company want me to review a tool for you, please contact me. Just know that I will always give my very honest opinion. That I promise you.

Get Sorted Socket Organizer Video Review

Humble Mechanic Logo

Hey folks,

Last week my buddy Rusty and I got together and started a video show. It is basically 2 buddies chatting about our love for cars. We both really have a great time doing these show for you guys. We also have a pint or two. That probably doesn’t hurt the fun factor 😉

This week we are talking about some of the differences in old school engine technology vs new school engine technology. We look at

  • Maintenance
  • Ignition
  • Fuel delivery
  • Engine managment
  • diagnostics
  • the “soul” of old school technology.

Thanks for watching today’s show. Tune in next Wednesday for Episode 3. As always, your comments and questions are a vital part of the blog. So post them below. Also check out Rusty’s site Bench Racing Garage


Funny Car Signs

Happy Wednesday everyone. I hope that y’all are having a great week so far. Yesterday was the first day of fall. That means cooler temps, leaves changing, and prepping cars for winter. Before we get rolling with this weeks behind the scenes pictures, I have a few updates.

Video Podcast
As many of you know, I started a “daily” video podcast. I say “daily” because I will have a show coming out daily around late next week. I learned that the Internet at my house is painfully slow. It takes forever to upload videos. I am still recording new content, it is just slow coming out.

Show with Rusty from BRG
In addition to my podcast, I also started shooting a show with my buddy Rusty from Bench Racing Garage. We talk about many things in the auto world. It usually involves 2 buddies, having a few beers, and chatting about cars. I have a blast doing it, and I think that you will enjoy watching.

Okay, that should be all the announcements I have. Let the Shop Shots roll!

Damaged VW Drain PlugFirst up is something that makes me want to smack a technician. This is a drain plug that I took out of a VW last week. This drain plug was tightened so tight, the crush washer is folded over the “nut” part. I would guess that this is probably twice as tight as it needs to be.

I see this far more often than I care for. Not only does this make it a pain to get the crush washer off, it can put unneeded stress on the oil pan. If you have been around VWs, you know that many older pans were aluminum. Over torquing this much can damage the threads of the pan. This can result in the need for oil pan repair, or even replacement. So if you are a tech, and you are reading this STOP THAT CRAP!

Damaged VW Cam ShaftI wish that I could say, I wont rant about this picture. But, I have to rant. You are looking at a picture of a broken timing chain, cam shaft, and cam adjuster on a 2.0 Jetta. I have posted pictures before of cam followers wearing out, but this one takes the cake. This is what catastrophic engine damage looks like.

I am not really mad at the failure. Cam wear, and follower wear are an issue with the BPY engines. That is why VW did a warranty extension on many of them. I am really mad at what the customer said.

The customer had the car towed in. He said that the car drove fine, then one morning it would not start. He told us there was no noise, and no check engine light on before it would not start. Now, I am not one to say something is impossible. I have seen enough crazy things in my days working on cars. But there is no way that this car didn’t have a check engine light, or make any strange noises before catastrophic failure. The follower was the most worn I have ever seen. The check engine light must have been on for many miles before this happened. In the end the customer traded the car, so it didn’t really matter. It’s just frustrating getting bad info from a customer. Or even worse when they lie to you.

Funny Car SignsSo this is not really a “Shot Shot”, but I think it’s worth posting. My wife and I were leaving a store, and she pointed this out to me. WOW! I have seen people put “lemon” stickers on their cars, but this takes it to a whole new level. I asked the lady if that really happened. She told me that is flew off while on the highway. That is pretty scary.

Now, I know what you are thinking. This thing does not look like a top quality vehicle. I would agree. It also looks like that tire is almost flat. In addition to that, it is missing a valve stem cap, and has weights on opposite sides. I just keep looking at this picture with amazement. Does anyone have a funny caption? I would love to read some.

Well that wraps up this weeks Shop Shots. Thank you all for stopping by and seeing these pictures. Check back later today, I will be posting the video with Rusty. It is already live on the Humble Mechanic YouTube Channel.

Humble Mechanic Logo

Today on the Humble Mechanic automotive podcast, we are talking about Flat Rate. This is the system on which technicians get paid, and customers get charged. There are many in the industry that have strong opinions about Flat Rate. Today we look at several aspects of this system.

  • Why Flat Rate is used
  • How Flat Rate works
  • Where do the times come from, what is “book time”
  • How to win at Flat Rate
  • How mechanics cheat Flat Rate
  • A Better system?
  • Does Flat Rate make you a better tech

There is one thing that I forgot to mention in the video. That is about protecting a customer from slow techs. Having a standard time will prevent a tech from “milking the clock”. That means if you get a slow tech you will not have to pay more just because they are slow.

I would love to hear your thoughts on Flat Rate, or any thing regarding getting paid as a mechanic, or being charged as a customer. Also, thank you for the feedback. One last thing, there is a water mark on the video. I am testing out new video editing software. Sorry about that. I don’t mind spending the money, but I want to be sure I get a good product that does what I need.