Tag Archive for: Shop shots

WOW, Wednesday always seems to come around in the middle of the week. What’s the deal with that?(you have to say that like Jerry Seinfeld) I have actually been out of the shop for a few days. My wife and I are taking a little road trip. So, I am going to be really selfish on this Shop Shots. I know I know, I should not be selfish. I still think you guys will like this weeks Shots!

MK3 Jetta wiring Humble Mechanic automotive service picturesThis is what a complete body wiring harness looks like. Never mind the seatbelt mixed in. This harness came from the 1998 Jetta that I picked up. This must be about 40lb of wires, connectors, fuses and tape. I was not sure what I would need for the engine swap, so I took it all. Basically every connector that is not the engine. Every light, button, airbag, and switch is on this harness. Replacing this harness might be one of the worst jobs a mechanic has to do.

Auto Mechainc's Tool BoxThis is a picture of my tool box at the house. YES I know it is a total disaster. I keep my work box really neat and organized. For some reason, I just can’t keep my box at the house straight. I think it is because I wont buy the organizers for it. This is actually the box I started as a professional mechanic with. It lasted about 2 years before I ran out of room.

I took a picture of it because I might be trading it. A buddy of mine has a yellow Matco box that I would like. So I might trade it for a tool cart, then trade the cart for the yellow box. I must admit, I will be a little sad to sell this box. I need to figure out how to save a few of the stickers that are on it.

Removed the dashboard from a MK3 JettaAh yes, back to the donor Jetta. When you remove an entire wiring harness, most of the interior needs to come out too. This is what it looks like behind the dash board of a car. I have seen so many cars with the dash out. It makes me cringe every time. I don’t dislike doing dash work. It is just not my favorite. I think that I have stipped all I can from this car. It will be given a proper send off. It has been smashed and abused it’s entire life. I am the 7th owner. It has been totaled twice. Now she has donated organs to help another car live. Thank you Jetta for your sacrifice.

Fender bender, auto mechanic shop shotsGRRR. This is a picture of the rear bumper on my Passat.(please ignore the chicken legs in the reflection) We got rear ended last week.

We were coming home from seeing Batman. This very bad driver in front of me basically cut me off. I had to slam on the brakes. The guy behind us didn’t stop. He hit my poor Passat. We pulled over and the guy that hit us took off. No one got a ticket, even though the lady that cut me off should have.

Maybe I should do a post on what to do if you are in an accident. Odds are, the bumper will need to be replaced. Ugh!

Well, thanks for checking out another round of Shop Shots. I will be out of town the rest of this week, and into early next week. Be sure to stay tuned. I will be doing some fun posts from the road!

Auto mechanic Shop pictures new VW wheels

It’s time again for Shop Shots! The behind the scenes look at automotive service. As an auto mechanic, I see some crazy things from time to time. This is your chance to see the crazy things too. Okay, let’s get down to business.

Auto mechanic Shop pictures broken VW oil panYou are looking at the bottom of an oil pan on a VW Beetle. The customer came in for an oil change. They had mentioned that there “might” be an oil leak. When I got the car up in the air, I found this. Yep, there was an oil leak, not doubt about it. It was pretty obvious that someone had attempted to fix the leak. There was some type of sealer on the pan. It looked like a rock popped up and hit the pan. This is actually a really common thing on MK4 cars. This is one reason that VW went to a steel oil pan. Luckily we had the pan in stock, and I was able to get the customer taken care of that day!

Auto mechanic Shop pictures new VW wheelsOne thing that I try really hard NOT to do, is judge what people do to their cars. It can be really hard sometimes because I see some dumb stuff. 😛 All that being said, I have not been a huge fan of wheels on the newer GTIs. That was until this wheel came out. I LOVE LOVE LOVE this wheel. It has a slight gunmetal finish. It is an 18″ wheel with 225/40/18 tires, or Tyres since we are talking about a VW. If you want to learn more about tires, check out, Understanding Your Vehicle’s Tires.

Auto mechanic Shop pictures car out of gasHAHA, sometimes things happen that make me shake my head. This customer came in for a service on their car. When I get in the car and start it, the “Low Fuel” warning started dinging. I looked down and found that the range was “0 miles”. That means you probably have about 10 actual driving miles. (don’t blame me if you run out of gas because of that) I also noticed that the gauge didn’t even move.

The good thing is, I didn’t have to take the car on a long test drive. So free tech tip, make sure you bring your car in for service with some gas in it. If you have a good service department, you wont have to worry about them driving your car all over town.


Auto mechanic Shop pictures Readers Rides Last week we talked about adding a “Readers Rides” section. Well, the first person to submit was Joe. This is Joe’s 2004 Audi S4. Here is what Joe says about his car.

2004 B6 S4 imola yellow (ly1c paint code) I’m a loser. 4.2 liter chain driven v8 (350 hp) 6 speed trans couple to Audi’s Quattro system. All leather Recaro seats. Love the non flashiness (beside the color of course) of the s4 platform. The sheer “get up and go” of a v8 keeps me smiling every time I drive it. Having a car that I’ve always drooled and dreamed over in my driveway is like a lil gear heads dream come true. Being that it’s a very intricate design maintenance is very very important. The right oil and the right parts (Oem) are very critical to me and most importantly the car!!! Plans include a nice free flow exhaust from Labree and cat-less down pipes from JHM, some altitude adjustment is needed for those that have seen my previous vehicles. 😉

I have to tell you all that I LOVE this car. I also want to point out that Joe and his wife have a Cabby, a GTI, and a Rabbit. Total VW Love in that house 😉 Thanks for submitting Joe.

If you would like to submit your car just shoot me an email Charles(AT)humblemechanic(DOT)com. Send me some pics, and some information about your car. Also, don’t forget you can follow the site on so many of the cool places like Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest. All you have to do is click one of the pictures to the right. 🙂

Failed VW Gas Cap automotive service

I can’t think of a better way to spend a Wednesday, and checking out some behind the scenes action of an automotive service department. This week, I actually have 2 reader submitted Shop Shots. If you want to submit a picture of your car, or some other cool car shot you have, just email it to me Charles(at)humblemechanic(dot)com. Okay, let’s do this!

Failed VW Gas Cap automotive service

Okay, you might be thinking that nothing is wrong with this picture. If you look closely at the fuel filler neck, you can see a white cap. If you drive a VW, then you know that is not the right cap. This was actually sent to me by a reader who works at another VW shop. The customer came in saying that the MIL was on. It turns out, a foam coffee cup will not properly seal the fuel system. I know it is hard to believe. 😛

Poor Amp Install Autotive ServiceThis is a car audio amplifier, installed in a Mustang. The person that installed it used shrink rap to hold it in place. My guess is that this is a temporary fix. I hope so anyway. The best part about this picture is the guy that installed this is a professional car audio guy. He does some really top notch work. This is his personal car, so I wont give him too much of a hard time. To be honest, this is still a pretty good install. I have seen worse, much much worse.

Paint work on a VW Beetle automotive service

At first glance you might not find anything wrong with this beetle. Take a really close look. In the middle of the picture, you can see red. The left side of the picture is white. Hum, strange isn’t it? The outside of this car is white. When we opened the hood, we found that the hood, and firewall is red. Since the car came from a body shop, it was a dead giveaway as to what happened. The body shop basically “cut and pasted” a red Beetle onto a white Beetle. Then they painted the outside white. Also, those screws on the far left should be black. This is one of the worst “repair” jobs I have ever seen done by a professional shop.

The sad part is, someone will buy this car. They will feel like they got a great deal. Then they will have problem after problem, and blame the car, the mechanic, or VW. This is why you NEED to have a car checked out by a professional BEFORE you buy it..

Take care of your mechanic with donuts

Donuts? I know it seems really random to have a “Shop Shot” of Donuts, but hang in there. A customer brought these for me last week. I have been working on her car since early 2004. She is a really awesome customer, and totally hooked up the donuts for us. I know I said it before, but bribery will get you everywhere. So never hesitate to bring a treat for your mechanic. Or anyone else really! 😉

Do you have an idea for a post? Is there a car question burning a hole in your brain? You can fill out the Contact ME form and ask away. Or, just post it in the comments below. Otherwise, you have to read what is going on in my mind. That might be a scary thing 😉

Passat Engine Mount Auto Mechanic

We missed last week’s Shop Shots, but we are back today! This is your behind the scenes pictures of Volkswagen service. The good, the bad, and the crazy! Okay lets get to it!

Melted Volkswagen Fuse Auto MechanicThis is a fuse. Well, it is what is left of a fuse. This fuse came out of a Tiguan. We have seen a few Tiguans burning up fuses for part of the exterior lighting circuit. My buddy actually sent me this one. I think my dealer has seen 3 of them. I can honestly tell you all that I have never seen a fuse melted this bad.

Missing Intake Auto MechanicHAHA, I do actually laugh about 60% of the time when I put these pictures up. This Beetle came in this week. The car was towed in for another shop. The complaint was, “Brake pedal is hard to push”. I drove it into the shop, and sure enough they pedal was almost impossible to push the brake pedal. I also noticed that the MIL was on. when I pulled the car into the shop. This is what I found. The air filter housing, and intake pipe was MISSING. I laughed for a minute, then called a few guys over to take a look. When ever something like this happens, we all try to share the fun.

It turns out another shop put a brake booster in the car. They used a non-factory part, and it was worse than the bad one. The shop towed the car back to their shop to be repaired. HAHA

Passat Engine Mount Auto MechanicI posted this on Instagram a few days ago. Here is more information about these 2 parts. These are front engine mounts for a B5.5 Passat think 2001.5-2005. I refer to them as jounce bumpers. Most aftermarket places refer to them a snub nose mounts. Either way is cool by me. The entire engine was slamming up and down due to the condition of the mount. Oddly enough, the one on the left is the bad one 😉 Hard to believe that the part on the left and the part on the right are the same part. After I replaced the mount, the car was 100x smoother.

Smoking Volkswage Auto mechanicJust something fun to rap up Shop Shots. I noticed this just as I was about to lift the car off the ground. A cigarette got caught in the slot for the lower front spoiler. It stuck in perfect. Now the car looks like it is smoking. We brought the customer back to show her she had a broken CV boot. (btw I practice what I preach. Read “How to tell if a mechanic is ripping you off“) She noticed it, and asked me if I put that there. We all shared a good laugh at it.

Well, that pretty does it for another volume of Shop Shots! I think that I want to start taking your submitted photos for Shop Shots. What do you guys think? Post it up the comments below. I am sure some of you have some awesome car pics that you can share.

Dead Snake in a VW belly Pan Shop Shots

Time to get over “hump day” with some Shop Shots. All right, it’s time to get rollin~GTI button on a VW GTI


Check out the button on the far right. It says “GTI”. As you can imagine, that is not a normal button on a GTI. In this case, that “GTI” button was a push button start. Kinda cool right? I didn’t have a chance yo talk to the customer and see how he wired it up. It might have been a kit or something, I am not really sure. The part that I didn’t like was, you still had to put the key in the ignition. To me, it seems silly to have the push buttons start work that way. But hey, it is his car. I really do dig the button.

Dead Snake in a VW belly Pan Shop Shots


I was doing a service on a TDI this week. I started to take the belly pan off and a little tail peaking out. I could tell that whatever it was, was dead. Around the shop we were making bets on what it was. I am not an expert in creatures, so my guess was a gecko. When I took the pan all the way off, I found this little guy. Yep, that is dead snake. It looks like he was about a foot and a half when he was alive. That is the very first snake I have found in a car. As long as I don’t find any live snakes, I am good to go. 🙂

Damaged Engine Mount Shop Shots


Check out that picture framing. 😉 Lets start at the top left and more clockwise. The top left picture is a bolt hole in an engine mount. If you look carefully, you can see that all the top treads are missing. Compare that to the picture on the right. That is what a proper bolt hole looks like. Now check out the bottom picture. That is the bolt that came out. Here you can see some of the threads. When the mechanic removed the bolt some of the threads came with it. He didn’t do anything wrong. The threads were fatigued and failed. The bad part is, it cost the customer another $180, to buy a new mount.

I felt bad for the customer until I heard what she said about this. She told the service advisor that we were incompetent, and that other shops would have known this would happen. Well, here is the truth, NO other shops would not have found that before it happened. A bad shop would have rigged it up and never told her. We did the right thing, and I will stand behind that 100%.

CLick and Clack from Car Talk Shop Shots


When I heard the news that Click and Clack were not doing new shows I was pretty bummed. I love listening to these guys. The show is obviously less about car advise, and more about entertainment, but it had me listening for years and years. In 2008 my wife and I took a vacation to Boston. As luck would have it, Click and Clack were Emceeing a street fest in Harvard Square. We went to the festival and got a great spot. After the fest, I was able to sneak around the stage and chat with them for a minute. I am not really one to geek out over meeting people, but I was pretty dang excited.

Well, that wraps up the 20th edition of Shop Shots. I hope it helps everyone get through the mid-week blues. I know it does for me. Don’t forget to sign up for email updates. Just fill out the little box on the right side of the page. EASY! Oh, don’t worry about spam or any junk like that. I don’t do that crap.

2.0t VW cylinder head removed due to oil consumption

Ah Wednesday, I can’t think of a better day to post some really cool auto mechanic pictures! Let me also say that I am really sorry about missing yesterday’s post. I don’t like leaving you guys with out some content. Should that happen, you can always go back in the archives and see some of my early “work”. Some of it is just awful. It might be worth a read just for that. 😉  Okay, enough of that lets get into some Shop Shots!


First up is a picture that make me sick! This is the guts of a Routan transmission. I posted a picture of the inside of the case last week. Here you are looking at the stack of clutch packs, snap rings, seals, and plates. The parts all disassembled belong to the input clutch assembly. That one of many parts that make the engine power transfer to the transmission. I spent so much time trying to put the trans back together it is not even funny. Long story short, 1 guy took out the trans, 1 guy disassembled the trans, and I got to put it back together. This is round 2 of trying to put it back together. The whole story is kinda interesting. I think it deserves it own post. Maybe tomorrow..


It is crazy what a car looks like with a bumper isn’t it? Here you are looking at a newer, 09 I think, Jetta TDI. The car came in for an A/C problem. The mechanic working on it found that the compressor was bad. As part of the repair, he replaced the compressor, replaced the condenser, the drier, and the expansion valve. The key part of this repair is cleaning the lines of the system. If debris stays in the lines, it can cause failure of any A/C parts down the road. This is another reason that have only qualified people work on your car’s A/C system!



As bad as the transmission is, this is not much better. One of the guys a few bays down from me is doing some internal engine work. You are looking at the top end of a 2.0t from a GTI. The customers concern was it was burning oil. The mechanic verified and now it is time to find out why. He removed the cylinder head in order to remove the pistons and check the rings. This is a whole lot of parts just to inspect a few rings.

We have seen this issue on a few of the early 2.0t engines. It is not as big of an epidemic as you might read about, but we have repaired a few. Just a reminder to check your oil!

Failed VW tireThis picture didn’t come out as good as I thought it did. What you are looking at here another failed tire. The “cut” you see in the tire is actually a defect in the tire. If you look close, you can see the cords of the tire coming out.

When I took the tire off, I snagged my glove on the sharp metal cord. At first, I could not tell if there was just something in the tire. A little tug with some pliers and I found the cords were pulling. It was ripping the sidewall of the tire open. I could not find any damage to the tire or the rim. So outside influence was not an option. This is just a simple manufacturer defect in the tire. I see a lot of issues with tires, but I can say, this is among the strangest.

I think that will wrap up this weeks Shop Shots! What do you guys think might be worse to take apart and put back together, ENGINES or TRANSMISSION? Post it up 😀

If you dig the Shop Shots, consider sharing them. It is really easy, just click one of the buttons below. Or you can just “Pin It” to Pintrest.

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.


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.



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?


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


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 😉