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Last week I told you about a few Crazy Customer issues that we have had. Well, as luck would have it, we got a few more. Let me just be clear that I am not really picking on these customers. It is all in good fun.

Customer States that with the  windows all the way down, there is a popping noise randomly like the “SORRY” board game, advise

This concern came in on a 2011 VW CC. When the customer was explaining what the car was doing, it was pretty clear what he meant. It was funny because I have never heard someone use a board game to describe an issue with there car. I test drove the car with the mechanic working on it. He found a way to reproduce the noise, and we were quickly able to find the problem.

Now, I am not 100% up to speed on board games. It has been forever since I have played the game “SORRY”. I do not really remember it being anything more than a dice game. My curiosity got me. I did a little bit of searching and found that the game he might have been talking about was “TROUBLE”. It has that popper in the middle. I was not able to confirm with the customer, but I am sticking with my guess. He was not that far off~ “TROUBLE” ~”SORRY” I totally get that!

We had to order a part to fix his popping noise, I will try and ask him when he comes back.

Customer states, something sticky went down by the center vent and now the vent won’t adjust-please find out what is going on

VW Jetta center vent

This is the vent that had syrup in it

That is what the concern line said on the repair ticket. After talking to the customer I found out what really happened. The customer spilled syrup in the upper center vent of his Jetta. The vents on the Jetta are near the top of the dash, and above the radio. How the heck does one still syrup in that vent? Also, who has open syrup in their car while they are driving? AND WHY???

The customer made it clear that I had to be very careful when trying to move the vent. He said it felt like it was going to break. Not wanting to break it, I told him he has 2 choices

  1. I could remove the vent and attempt to clean it. If the vent broke, he would still have to buy a new one
  2. I could just replace the vent to the tune of ~$300

The only issue I had with cleaning the vent is, we did not have it in stock. He would have had to pay twice. Once to remove and attempt to clean, then again to remove and install a new vent.

He wanted me to just remove the vent so he could clean it. I had to explain to him that he would still have to pay for that. He said that he would just take care of it. To be honest I was cool with that. I didn’t really want to clean goopy syrup out. Thinking we were done, I wished him well and started to walk away.

He called me back and asked me to SHOW him how to fix it. I have him a quick over view of how the vent comes out. He then asked me my favorite question.

How do I do this, and not mess it up?

I reply, with a smile, “You let me do it for you sir”. 😉 He laughed and said thanks but he was not going to worry about it.

I don’t think that I want to make a habit of poking fun at customers. I just like to save a couple and share them from time to time. We all have silly things in our jobs that happen. Sometimes it is nice to trade stories.

Does anyone know another board game that has a popper on it? Just wondering?

Hey folks!

So, we get into some technical stuff sometimes, and we also get deep into customer service. I am in an awesome mood today so I want to talk about some funny stuff. As you can imagine, we get some really strange customer concerns. Almost too good to believe.

 

At the end of each day, I look through the appointments we have. It gives me a chance to see what issues might come up for the next day. On Tuesday, I checked all our appointments and found this customer concern.

“Customer states that their puppy chewed through some wires under the seat. Customer attempted to repair, but airbag light is on.”

If I would have been drinking something, I would have spit it out. How does a puppy get under a seat? How does he stay there long enough to chew wires? Fast forward to Wednesday. I get the car and pull it in the shop. Here is what I find.

Too funny! I just wish he would have brought the puppy with him. I LOVE dogs. In fact, I have little Jettison laying across my lap while I type this post. Oh well, maybe next time.

Last night I also checked the appointments for today. Sometimes there are  concerns that make NO sense. Take this one for example.

Customer states, You replaced the tire pressure board.

That is all is said. What the heck does that mean? I don’t even know what a tire pressure board is. Something with the tire pressure monitor? Did replace it already? Do we need to replace it? I was totally cracking up. I guess I will find out what that means at some point today. I will post what happened in the comments. Even now I am giggling about it.. 🙂 This is where having a really good service advisor comes into play. They should be able to get the proper information from the customer and help me fix the car.

It goes with out saying that we get some off the wall concerns. It is not just mechanics, any service industry gets crazy things like this happen. I just wish I would have started documenting them years ago.. Imagine how funny!

If you know what a tire pressure board is, please share this post. You can impress ALL your friends.

VW Routan Transmission Problem

It’s Wednesday so you know what that mean, “Shop Shots”! Remember that these are all pictures from behind the scenes in automotive service. I like doing these posts because it can really show some of the weird stuff that auto mechanics see.

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What you are looking at here is a gas tank. This came out of a 2008 VW Touareg. The customer’s concern was the car would not take a full tank of gas. This was actually the second time she had the same concern. This time we had to replace the gas tank, lines, and all the evaporative emission parts. My guess is that a valve got stuck on the tank.

There are 2 fuel pumps in this tank. If you notice all the lines that run on the top of the tank. Picture about the same about of lines running inside the tank. The worst part of the whole job is running the lines.

 

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Talk about an unsafe tire. This tire belongs to a newer Jetta. The car was in for its 30,000 mile service. If you look really close inside the crack, you can see the threads inside the tire. There must have been a defect with this tire. I could not find any rim damage, or other outside influence.

The sad part is, the customer declined replacing the tire. He didn’t even want me to put the spare on. He side “I like the rims to match. I don’t want the steel wheel on my car”. The customer then said that he didn’t want to replace the tire and that he would replace it himself. CRAZY?

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I posted this on instagram the other day, and got some flack for it. Let me explain what is going on in this picture. This is an oil pan on a 2000 (or so) Jetta 1.8t. The drain plug is covered in duct tape. Yes, I was the one that did that. Here is the FULL story!

The customer brought it in for an oil change. When I drove it into the shop, the oil warning light came on. That tells me the car has low oil pressure. I checked the level, and found no oil on the dipstick. That is a BAD thing for any engine, but even worse for a turbocharged engine.

When I put a wrench on the drain plug, I noticed that it was loose. Before removing it, I tried to torque it. If the plug torqued, then someone left it loose. If it didn’t torque, I know I have a problem with the oil pan. I am sure by now you have guessed that it did NOT torque down. The plug would just turn and turn.

At this point it is time to tell the customer that they have a damaged oil pan. The quote for a new pan was $600 something dollars. She, understandably, declined the repair. The car is old, and she didn’t want to put the money into fixing it just yet. She asked, “Can it get me to the airport?. I tell her it might be okay, but no guarantees. The customer was pretty cool about the whole situation. So I tell her, “Don’t worry, I will just put some duct tape on it for you”. I think that she thought I was kidding. As you can see from the picture, I was not!

I duct taped the plug. I figured that even if it leaked some, the plug would not come all the way out. This was not an attempt to repair the car. It was only a bandaid to get her where she needed to go. The proper way to repair this issue, is replacing the oil pan. The newer pans are steel where the drain plug goes. This pan is all aluminum. When a plug is over tightened, it will ruin the threads inside the pan. There are some aftermarket fixes that work really good, and some that are awful.

Just remember any repair that I make must have a 12 month, 12,000 mile warranty. So we don’t do many non-factory repairs. Again, this was a bandaid, not a repair. Personally, I think it came out pretty nice

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Further down the transmission hole! There will be a full post about this transmission at some point, but let’s just talk about this picture. You are looking down the opening of a transmission. The transmission is about 1/3 of the way taken apart. The gear you can see at the top is the differential gear. It lets your wheels turn at different speeds. All the small holes are transmission fluid passages. I think I will leave the transmission talk at that. 😉

I am really curios what everyone thinks about the duct taped oil pan. Was it the wrong thing to do? Would love to know your thoughts. That wraps up this volume of Shop Shots. Can you believe we are almost at 20? I how awesome is that?

One more thing. I posted something on Facebook yesterday about Facebook charging for businesses to get into a personal new feed. It may not have been true, or it might be some form of the truth. Here is the deal, if you like to see Humble Mechanic updates on Facebook, just like interact with me there. “Like” a post, comment on a post, or share a post. That will make sure you keep getting the updates on FB. Or, just move to Twitter or instagram 😉

Well, it was only a matter of time before we came to Fahrvergnügen. Do you remember the ad campaign from the 90s? You know,

Its what makes a car, a Volkswagen!

I didn’t work for VW during that ad launch, but I remember it pretty well. I know that people were kinda nuts about saying it. Since the weather is getting awesome, I thought that I would take a little step back and share my “Driving Enjoyment” story.

Growing up I was not really a kid that was into cars. I mean, I loved the poster of the Ferrari Testarossa, or the Lamborghini Countach as much as any kid, but that was about it. My first car was a sweet red Jeep Wrangler. It was the super underpowered 5sp 4 cylinder, but none of that mattered. It was so much fun to drive. What could be better than 4wheel drive, AND a convertible? Not much in my mind..

Now me being me, I could not leave the Jeep how it was.(hang with me, I will get back to driving). The first thing that I did was get a CD player installed. Now this was pretty awesome for 1997. Since I ALWAYS had the top off, I needed to add some bigger sound. I got a couple of speaker boxes from Best Buy, and installed them. I had no idea how, but I figured it out. I had an amplifier installed to pump more juice to the speakers. At the time, I didn’t care about going fast, it was all about the ride.

As a teenager, there as nothing better than cruising around on the back roads with the top down, and radio pumping. I thought I was the coolest cat in town. It was those times that made me fall in love with driving. It didn’t matter if I was in a bad mood, a great mood, mad, sad, you name it. That drive seemed to cure what ailed me.

Fast forward a few years, and a couple of lame cars later, I fell back in love with driving. Ironically it was about the time I started working in the car business. When I worked at CarMax, I found the next my next car love. It was a 1997 Acura Integra GSR. The GSR looked cool, sounded awesome, and was FAST. It was far and away the fastest car I had owned, and my love of driving was renewed. Much like the Jeep, it was windows down, radio blaring, just enjoying the ride. Well, I sold that Integra in an adult decision. I needed to ditch the car payment to go to tech school. It was a sad day to see her go. I learned a lot about installing car stereos on that car. It was the first car I really hooked up, the right way.

Since then I have had some cool cars. My Mitsubishi Eclipse GSX was cool. I had an Acura CL Type-S for a while that was nice, but nothing like the GSR and the Jeep. Don’t get me wrong, I love my Passat. I have had it longer than any other car I have ever owned. The Fahrvergnügen is there, but not like it was.

You know its funny, I talk to people that say “I hate driving”. I like of all the really awesome times that I have been behind the wheel. It bums me out that they don’t share that same love of driving that I do. Now don’t get me wrong, I HATE sitting in traffic and I hate driving in snow. Short of that, I am all about the drive. Let me also be clear, NOT the ride. I don’t make a very good passenger. I am sure that my wife would be more than happy to tell you all about it. 😀

Be sure to subscribe to the  Humble Mechanic YouTube channel. The videos will coming more often. The Cabriolet will be coming home on Tuesday(I hope). I can’t wait to start working on it. There will be lots-o-videos to see. Don’t miss them.

If you have ever caught the Fahrvergnügen consider sharing the love, by sharing this post. Share this post by clicking your favorite icon.

Volkswagen Beetle Sticker

Ah Shop Shots, some of my favorite posts are the pictures from the auto shop. Ok, no messing around, lets DO THIS!

VW Jetta TDI PictureIf you look close, you can see that the BACK of the car is covered in bug guts. Yep, this brand new car has been traveling at high speeds in reverse. Well, kinda. It just came off the shipping truck. Someone had to back the car onto the TOP level of a shipping truck. That is NUTS to think that someone backed the car onto the truck. I would have a panic attack trying to do that. Now, this is not really a life changing picture, but I swear I crack up every time I see it. Like EVERY time. 😀

Volkswagen Beetle StickerHAHAHAHA. WTH?? I am laughing about this still! See I take pictures almost every day. I don’t always use the pictures the same week I take them. I found this one again today. Why the heck do people put this on their car? Do they get paid for it? Are just really be fans of “$weep$take$”? You have actually seen the other side of this Beetle before. It is the wrecked Beetle I posted a few weeks ago. If anyone knows why people do this, please post it in the comments.

Tiguan Water LeakI have talked about Volkswagen water leaks in other posts. Here is a Tiguan that had a slight leak. This actually belongs to a buddy of mine. We had been trying to get his car in to be checked. Finally we got the leak fixed. I pulled the carpet up to dry it. I think it came out great. A little shampoo, a little scrubbing, and a lot of fan, the car dried up nicely. If you ever find water on the carpet of your car, understand that the water is probably deeper than you think. The carpet on most VWs sits about 1.5 inches above the body. That means there can be a ton of water standing before it is at the carpet level. If you find you have water, get the carpet pulled and dried. A shop vac will not do the trick.

Pig Volkswagen BeetleI think this goes in the “What the heck were they thinking” file. Then again, I bet my Cabriolet does too. 😉 This was sent to me by Steve in Chicago. Thanks Steve! I can’t really comment on what, of why someone did this. I have be be honest, it looks like they put some time into it.. The detail is pretty good. I am sure that Jim LOVES his little pig. HAHA!

Ok, this video is AWESOME! What you are looking at here is called the Leak Detection Pump(LDP). This pump is part of the Evaporative Emissions system on your car. This system controls fuel vapors from your car. Whether it is when your car is being filled with gas, or that hot summer day, it will control the amount of vapors released in the atmosphere. The pump pressurizes your fuel system to check for leaks. When the system fails, your Check Engine Light comes on.

This car came in with a check engine light on. I did a “smoke test” on the system. Basically I charge the system with nitrogen, and add a chemical that smokes. When I unplugged the electrical connector for the LDP, this is what happened. I have seen it before, and I always like to watch it.

Well, another week of Shop Shots is done. There is one more thing that I want to say to everyone. This post is my 100th post. I want to tell each and every one of you THANK YOU! I truly appreciate the fact that you take time out of your day to visit the blog, read the posts, comment and so on. I just cant say THANK YOU enough. Thank you to all everyone that likes the facebook page, or follow on twitter. I appreciate every “share” every “retweet” especially the one that said, “check out this VW blog, sans skinny jeans”. That one might be the funniest.  I feel really lucky to get to know all of you and I am really looking forward to the next 100,300,500,1000, and beyond! I hope that you enjoy the site,and get a good laugh all while learning some things about cars.. Seriously, THANK YOU ALL!!!!

I don’t need to say it, you know what to do. 😉

Happy Thursday everyone! As you probably know, I have been on vacation this week. This is actually the second time I have ever taken a week of vacation time in my working career. It has been a week filled with working in the yard, and hanging out with the family.

I also updated my phone a few days ago, in typical Iphone fashion, the update crashed my phone. I had to restore it from the last backup in February. Since all of the Shop Shots come from my phone, I am missing a lot of pictures. So, Tech Tip of the day, be sure to back your phone up! Ok, lets do this!

This is a picture of a screw I found in the tire of MY Passat. (yep I got screwed) I was leaving the store and noticed it. I did not remove the screw, it was holding air, and I didn’t want to have a flat. The thing about the location of the screw is, it will not be repairable. An object that is in the outer most of a tire tread is not repairable. The flex of the tire at that point to really high. Any repair, plug or patch is not safe. I will most likely be replacing this tire.

When it comes to repairing tires, we have 3 types of repairs, patches, plugs, and patch-plugs.

  • A plug is installed from the outside of the tire. Think of using gum to plug a water leak, Clark Griswold style. It is actually a little better than that, but you get the idea. This repair is fine for a temporary repair, but not the best way to fix a tire.
  • A patch is installed from the inside of the tire. It is a great way to repair a tire. This must be done by a professional, because the tire will need to be removed from the rim.
  • A patch-plug is the BEST way to repair a tire. It combines both methods. Covering the hole from the inside, and filling the hole with a plug. If you have a choice when getting a tire repaired, use this type of repair.

Any mechanic will tell you that we see dumb stuff like this all the time. People run wiring in the door jams is the most common dumb thing we see. The worst is when it is a big power wire from the battery to a radio amplifier. If you notice not only are the wires ran through the door jam, but it is secured with, you guess it, DUCT TAPE! I think that is was a GPS that was wired in this way. PLEASE do no do this.

I literally laughed out loud when I found this picture again. This is a picture of a Jetta airflow meter, and intake hose. I think the customer thought they had an air leak. They sealed it with tape. Then they put tape on the connector. I don’t remember what type of tape it was, it was not duct tape. I remember it came off pretty easy, but I wasn’t happy about messing with it.

This is another pride and joy picture I have. We had an EOS come in to the shop for the semi-common EOS water leak issue. The seats and seat belts were moldy, so I have know idea how long the water was in there. I removed the seats and found these little guys growing. Yep, little tiny mushrooms. Let me say that again, MUSHROOMS growing in an EOS. How awesome is that. I am sure it was really unhealthy for me to be working on that car, but live and learn!

If you have some of your own Shop Shots, come by and post them in the Humble Mechanic Forum. Don’t be stingy with your good pics. The community over at the forum is really cool come by and check it out.

1 more thing, yesterday I was featured on a really cool technology blog. I did an interview with Matt talking all about car technology. He has a great blog with a lot of awesome information. Swing by and check out my interview!

Hey guys, Its Thursday so you know what that means, SHOP SHOTS! I got some good ones for you this week! Also, we started a thread on the Automotive Forum for you to post your own Shots! Swing by, register and you can post your Shots. Remember, to keep spam out, you will need to be approved. I hate that I have to do that, but I need to keep the spam out!

You can probably guess that this is not a normal way for a tire to look. This customer actually drove in on this tire. If you look at the top of the picture, you can see that there is a lot of tread on the tire. This is what happens when a belt inside a tire breaks. A tire is more that just black and round. It is layer with steel belts, fiber layers, rubber, and so on. When a steel belt breaks, it leaves a soft spot in the tire. It makes that spot really soft. I could push my finger about 1/2″ into the tire. I don’t really know how the tire made it that long. The bad part is, the customer did not buy the tires. I think that she replaced some suspension bushings. That was totally the wrong choice. I am not sure if she was just crazy, or maybe the importance of this issue was not stressed. This is blow out territory for sure!

This picture comes from one of my best most favorite customer. Quick side story, I met her because her last Beetle Convertible was always broken. She also does dog rescue. My wife and I adopted our dog “Fugazi”, or “Foo Dog” as we call her. Peyton is an amazing person and does so much good for homeless animals. I will never be able to thank her enough. P, if you read this THANK YOU!~ Ok, back to the picture. This is a tail light out of a 2006 Beetle Conv. I am not really sure how this happened, but it sees that the bulb came in contact with the plastic housing. This caused the housing to melt, and the bulb to fall into the bumper. I have seen it happen a few times before, but it’s that that common.

HAHA, Stoners paradise. This was the first car I pulled in the other day. The second that I opened the car door, I could smell pot. I mean, it was like a smack in the face. I looked down and found that Febreze sitting on the passenger seat(right). I pulled the car in and did the oil change. To be totally honest, my curiosity got the better of me. I opened the glove box and found the perfect pothead glove box. You have, a blunt, some rolling papers, a baggie, and some Visine.You need Visine so people will not know your baked.(yeah right) I had to call everyone over to check it out. I am pretty sure that I got a contact high from his car. When the guy picked it up, I just smiled at him. I am pretty sure that he was stoned out of his mind. Oh, he had to still be in high school!

That does it for this week! What do you guys think? Post your thoughts in the comment section below. Also, be sure to sign up for email updates, with the new logo, I am working on some site redesign. If you are on the email list, you will be the first to find out cool stuff, plus I will be doing a give away when the new site launches. PLUS, don’t forget about the First Fifty on the forum. You really want to be part of the first 50 😉

One last thing, tomorrows Behind The Wrench is AWESOME! don’t miss it!