Some Of The Crazy Things I Have Seen Working On Cars

Humble Mechanic Logo

Hey everyone, happy Monday! I just want to tell you that I missed you guys last week. We have been full throttle on house work. It is crazy. I am glad to get back to the site, it’s much more fun and painting and power washings.

There are generally two questions that I get from folks.

  1. How do I know I am not getting ripped off.
    We have talk about this one before. Many times.
  2. What are some of the strangest things you have seen as an auto mechanic?

Well, today I want to talk about a few stranger things I have ran into working on cars.


The Devil Touareg
When I first started with VW, the Touareg was brand new. It had a fair about of issues early on.On top of that, none of the guys in the shop wanted to work on them. I had heard the horror stories of guys spending days and days trying to fix issues, all to find out nothing was wrong.

A Touareg had been towed to the shop for a dead battery. I replaced the battery, test drove it, checked the car over, then sent it out the door. A few days later it got towed back in for a dead battery. The strange thing was, it started fine when it got to the shop.

As I started to diagnose it, things got weirder and weirder. Some times the alarm would go off for no reason, even while driving. The lights would randomly flash on and off. It got to the point I could not drive the car at all.

I spent the next two weeks working with VW. Replacing modules, swapping modules, and so on. I was starting to think that I would never fix this car. VW finally sent out the regional tech manager to help me out. After 2 days of checks we found the problem. The module that controls the drivers seat had failed. It was bringing down the entire communication bus on the car.

How did we find it? Well, we just unplugged everything until things started working. On a Touareg, that is no easy task. That is about as bad of a butt kicking as I have gotten.

The Mickey Mouse Ball
I am glad that this didn’t happen to me.(make sure you learn from other people’s mistakes too) A customer brought her Beetle in for a noise/vibration concern. The tech working on it drove it to verify her issue. At about 45mph the car would make a crazy noise and shake violently. I rode in the car, it was awful.

After going round and round with the car, the tech replaced the transmission. After replacing the transmission, the tech test drove the car. The car did the exact same thing. A few more days of test drives and hair pulling, we had no answer.

It turns out, the air was hitting the antenna ball just right. This caused the the antenna to pull up on the roof slightly cause air turbulence causing a noise/vibration. Good thing the car was under warranty.

If have a roll your back windows down, and leave your front windows up you can recreate the noise. It is an obnoxious noise.

It Lost Points Cuz It Had A Hot WHeel On It
This is one of my wife’s favorite stories. Also, does anyone know who said that?(hint, it was not she 🙂 ) I was doing maintenance on a customer’s car. It was a 1.8t B5.5 Passat, similar to mine. When I replace the air filter in that car, I like to take the entire air box out and clean it. That gets all the dirt out, plus it’s easier to get the filter back in .

When I took the box out, something strange fell on the ground. I looked down and there was a Hot WHeels toy car on the floor. Yep some how, there was a toy car in the air box of the car.

How the heck does that get there? Was a kid playing under the hood? Did it bounce up off the road? How does that happen?

Well, that wraps it up for today. If you guys dig posts like this, I will try and do more. I need to get a note book and write this stuff down. I am sure there are plenty more stories that I have.


4 replies
  1. Pat ~ The Muscle Car Guy
    Pat ~ The Muscle Car Guy says:

    The strangest thing I have heard of, was a car that wouldn’t start in the winter. Each time it was brought into the shop, it would start no problem. Turns out it was sitting in the shop for a while before a tech could look at it. One time, they were able to look at it right away. The muffler was full of water, and in Minnesota in the winter it was freezing so it was full of ice. That blocked off the exhaust so the engine couldn’t run.

  2. Glenn
    Glenn says:

    I had a customer bring in a (then new) Mk4 Jetta complaining of a rattle in the trunk. Test drive verified there was indeed a rattle in the trunk. Popped the trunk lid and holy shit, it looked like everything this dude owned was crammed in there. Golf clubs, shoes, CD’s, computer stuff, clothes, dishes, you name it.

    So I get a couple big boxes from parts and dig it all out. Test drive again, rattle is gone. I get the service writer to go for a third test drive with me so he can verify it’s gone. Service writer goes and tells the customer, who immediately runs out into the shop and starts yelling at me for plundering through and trying to steal his personal property. Says he’s friends with the owner of the dealer and I’m as good as fired right now. He then crams the two big boxes of his shit back into the trunk and goes squealing tires out of the shop.


Leave a Reply

Want to join the discussion?
Feel free to contribute!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.