Tag Archive for: water leak

Tire Damage

Happy Wednesday folks. I hope you are all having a great week so far. Today is my first day back at work this week. That usually means a few hours to get back in the swing of things. Don’t worry, I still have some great pictures this week. For those of you that are new to the community, Shop Shots started pretty early in the blogs history. I posted a few pictures, and they got a great response. It because a great way to have some fun and share some of the behind the scenes type stuff that most folks never see. A great member of the community suggested the name, and Shop Shots was born. Thanks Brett 😉

Before we get into this weeks pictures, I have a few things to catch you all up on.

  1. My trip to for the Chicago Auto Show is all booked. I will be pretty busy but I want to set some time a side for a meet up. I will post more about that as the event gets closer. It will probably be something low key near the show.
  2. There is a giveaway coming next week. I am ironing out the details now, but it will be awesome. All I can tell you is, if you have a messy tool box, get some pictures ready.
  3. I still have the Snap-on Tool box I am looking to sell or trade. I am looking for a Caddy in good shape. If you have one or know someone, let me know

Tire DamageFirst up is a picture sent to me by my buddy. This car came in for an alignment. That is where we basically reset the suspension angles back to factory specs. When I first got this picture, I thought the tire had blown up. I was really confused. On closer inspection, the tire has debris jammed between the rim and the bead pack of the tire. The customer had been in an accident not too long ago. This must have been debris left over. I gotta say, it is not everyday you see something jammed in it like this.

VW battery failureI had lots of help from friends this week. This picture came from a fellow VW tech. This car was towed into his dealer with the following concern “Customer states vehicle still will not start after battery replacement”. If you are not familiar with VW batteries, you might not see the issue right away.

VW batteries come with a black cap on the negative terminal of the battery. This black plastic cap needs to be removed before the cable is installed on the battery. If you look just below the cable, you will see the cap is still installed. This is exactly like not hooking the battery cable up. This is one of those times where it would have been cheaper and easier to have someone do the work for you.

VW water leak Last week much of the country seen record low temperatures. The news jokers were calling it the Polar Vortex or something like that. For us mechanics, it means cars acting crazier than normal. This is ice build up on the floor board of a VW. If you look at the top of the picture, you can see the water line. That is not really a water line, but more of an ice line. I thought I left this type of weather when I moved from Illinois. I also seen my first TDI with ice build up in the charge cooler. We actually seen 5 or 6 TDIs with frozen charge coolers.

That about does it for this weeks Shop Shots. Thanks to my buddies for helping me out with the pictures this week. Like I said at the top of the post, stay tuned for the announcement on the giveaway. We have done a lot of giveaways, but this one will be huge! Don’t forget, you can sign up for all the updates here on the blog. Just sign up at the top right with your email. Don’t worry I wont sell your email or spam you. As Sweet Brown would say, “Ain’t nobody got time fo dat”!

Oh, I almost forgot, I made this MEME a few weeks ago. I am a fan of the show Futurama, and I am also a beard fan. I happened to lean down on my beard and this is what I thought.

Auto Mechanic Beard

Volkswagen sunroof water leak

Happy Wednesday everyone. Thanks for tuning in to this weeks Shop Shots. These are some of the behind the scenes pictures from a VW service department. You will see cars torn apart. The crazy way that things break, and the goofy things that customers do to their cars.

Broken Bushings on a 2003 PassatI have been asked what a damaged/worn bushing looks like many times before. I finally got a great picture of what that looks like. This is an upper control arm on a 2003 Passat. If you look right at the tip of the arrow I added, you will see a crack. That crack runs all around the bushing.

This car came in with a suspension noise. The more you turned the wheel, the worse the noise got. Broken bushings can cause a clunk, squeak, or thud. When a bushings breaks like this it puts more strain on the rest of the suspension. That can cause premature wear on the other components. This Passat got new control arms that come with new bushings.

Heater core replacement PassatLet’s keep the Passat theme rolling. This Passat came in for a water leak. After some checking, the mechanic next to me found that the heater core was leaking. The heater core is a small radiator behind the dash of your car. Coolant moves through the heater core. As air moves across the heater core it is heated. Bam, your car has heat.

In order to replace a leaking heater core, the dash must come out of the car. It’s almost like the heater core is installed, then the rest of the interior is installed around it. The job is not that bad. It’s a lot of parts to take off. The only bad thing is these cars are getting old. That means the plastic trim can be brittle, and break very easy. We generally have to tell customers there may be some breakage. Sadly it’s almost unavoidable.

Volkswagen sunfoor water leakHere is a rare shot of a water leak in action. You are looking behind the headliner of a Tiguan. This tube is the drain tube. All VW sunroofs have a channel to catch any water that makes it past the seal. Some times the tube gets clogged, and water backs up in the channel. The water will leak past the drain tube on to the headliner.

The repair for this is to add a sealant to the tube. It’s a pretty easy repair. The worst part about this job is cleaning up the water.

Engine damage from low oil pressureWe don’t see a ton of internal engine damage. When we do, it’s generally pretty cool to see. This is a bearing for the cam shaft. The cam shaft does not ride on the bearing. It actually rides on a very thin film of oil. Many times we don’t know exactly what happened here. When we pulled the oil pan down, there were little ribbons on metal in the oil. It looks like some of that metal got into the bearing.

Because we never found the exact cause of the damage, we have to quote an engine and turbo charger. If we were just to quote the top end of the engine, we might have missed the actual failure.

Well that wraps up another volume of Shop Shots. I try and say it from time to time, but this is totally my favorite posts to do. I have a few other updates for you guys. As some of you know, we put our house up for sale a few weeks ago. We sold our house in about 40 hours. We also found a new place. We will be moving in January. I am sure there will be a new blog coming. I want to catalog all the things that we do to the property.

Resealed VW headlight

It’s Shop Shots time! I hope that you are all having a great Wednesday. Today is my first day back in the shop. I spent the weekend with my wife and one of our dogs in Asheville, NC. It is really one of my favorite places to visit. If you ever have a chance to get out that way, please do it. You will not regret it.

Alright enough about me, let’s get into some of the pictures for this week.

Leaves on a VW that cause a water leakWhat you are looking at here is a water leak waiting to happen. This is a pile of leaves on the cowl panel of a VW Jetta Sport Wagon. I have posted pictures of this before, but since the leaves are falling, I wanted to remind you about it. This can cause water to no drain properly. If that happens you can have water run into the car instead of away from the car.

Be sure to pop the hood on your car and check for this type of debris build up. A few seconds to check can save on a big repair bill later on. It should come as no surprise that water leaks can get really expensive. I have seen more than one car totaled because of water damage. This is a really easy thing that anyone can check for.

Broken and wrong VW sparg plugI am all about saving money and getting good deals. I am also cool with some parts not being factory VW parts. There are times where you must have the right deal. If you put a non factory pollen filter in your car, worst thing that will happen is it will not fit perfect. No big deal. Spark plugs are one of many parts that must be the right thing.

This is a picture of an Auto-lite plug. This spark plug costs a dollar or two. Compare that to a factory VW spark plug which can be $20 or more. The dollar savings is crystal clear. However Auto-lite spark plugs don’t work in VW engines. They almost always cause the vehicle to misfire. This is the worst Auto-lite(read this an ought-a-light and in it should work but does not 🙂 ) The plug on the left broke when the tech was taking it out. He had to use an extractor to get the threaded part of the plug out of the cylinder head. Luckily he was able to remove it with no damage to the engine.

Resealed VW headlightFirst I have to tell you that I didn’t take this pictures. I got it from a fellow VW technician. I don’t have all the details of the headlight, but it was too awesome to not share. This is a headlight that someone “repaired”. They used expansion foam to make a repair. I am not sure if the clips that held the headlight together broke, or the clips that hold the headlight in place broke. Either way, it is a classic “don’t try this at home”.

Carbon build up in VW engineFinally I this for you all. This is a shot of the back of intake valves on a 2.0t engine. This car came in because it was misfiring when it was cold. We checked the maintenance and it was all up to date. With our scan tool, we can go in and look to see the conditions the car was under when the check engine light came on. Things like

  • Engine temperature
  • RPM
  • Engine load
  • Speed
  • The gear the transmission was in
  • Air temp
  • And many other readings

We could not find any other reason that the car would be misfiring. The mechanic next to me removed the intake manifold and found this. Carbon build up on the back of the intake valves. I don’t want to say that this is a common thing, but it is not the first one I have seen. We were able to clean the valves and get this customer back on the road. It is a messy job, but make a world of difference in power and fuel economy.

That does it for another round of Shop Shots. I hope that you all enjoyed the pictures this week. I know I say it all the time, but I love doing theses posts.

2003 VW passat Water leak

It’s Wednesday and you all know what that means, Shop Shots! These are the pictures that will you not see anywhere else. Maybe that is a good thing(HAHA). Who else will show you all the crazy things that happen to people’s cars? Okay, let’s do this.

Timing Chain Damage VR6 VolkswagenLast week I posted a picture of a VR6 that was taken apart. One of the bolts backed out and the timing chain came off. This is one of the covers that covers the timing chain. The bright part is where the chain was slapping against the cover. This is just the tip of the ice burg. Like I said last week there where several bent valves, among other damage.

The update is VW is buying this customer a brand new engine. The customer is paying some of the cost. I don’t know the exact numbers. I can tell you it is nowhere near the $7000+ that she was expecting to pay. I am really happy that VW stepped up and helped this customer out. It is great when a really VW helps a customer that truly loves their car. By the way, I think the engine alone was about $6500, ouch!

2003 VW passat Water leakIt has been a long time since I posted a VW water leak picture. The last one was a Touareg water leak. That is actually a good thing. Water leaks can be one of the most awful things to deal with, both for the customer and the mechanic. I have seen many cars totaled because of water damage. Plus they stink!

These are the connectors for a 2003 VW Passat convenience module. That module controls all the convenience features(D’uh?). Things like power windows and lock, and the vehicle alarm system. The connectors are covered in corrosion. That makes for very poor connections. This is something that is generally repairable. It involve replacing all 40 or so wires in the connectors. Generally replacing about 6inches of wire as well. This customer decided to no repair the vehicle. Sadly, another VW bites the dust.

Worn out VW tireThis goes into the “bad news” category. We have talked tires before. This is where the parts of the tire separate. This is very very dangerous, and begging for a tire blow out. The tire is several worn on the inner edge. If you look at the right side of the picture, you see the outer edge of the tire. It still has some tread. Granted, it not in great shape, but not as bad as the inner edge. When inspecting tires, you need to check the whole tire.  Thankfully, this customer replaced all 4 tires.

That wraps it up for this week. Another round in the books. I hope you all enjoyed the pictures this week. I am still taking your pictures for the Readers Rides. You can use the Contact me form, or just email me Charles(at)humblemechanic(dot)com.

Are you on instagram? If so, let me know. I post a few more pictures during the week. Just search humblemechanic and follow me. I also like to follow what other folks are posting.

Coolant mixing Shop Shots Auto Mechanic


Hey everyone!

First let me say that I am sorry for Shop Shots being so late today. I got hung up at work longer than I expected. It’s okay because I got some really awesome auto mechanic pictures for you guys today. Enough of my yapping, lets get to it!


GROSS! What you are looking at here is the coolant bottle of a VW Beetle. If this fluid was in good condition, it would be a nice bright pink color. As you can see here it is brown and chunky. I posted this to Facebook the other day. The comments were awesome.

Jennifer~someone poured a frappacino inside their car?
Suzanne~ Stop leak didn’t work
Stefanie~Are you brewing beer or fixing a VDub? I can’t tell!(<~ my favorite)
Jeremy~someone vomited in their coolant reservoir( <~funniest)

Joe, Chris, Alex, and Brandon all got it right! This is the result of a failed transmission cooler. In order to keep automatic transmission fluid cool, they have a cooler. This will circulate engine coolant through something like a little radiator. Normally, the coolant and transmission fluid does not mix. A failed seal in the cooler caused transmission fluid to be pumped into the coolant. I will be repairing this on Friday. I will tell you guys the super high tech secret way to fix this problem next week. HINT: think Dawn 😉


Okay, this one might be a little harder to see. Take note of all the “rust” around the battery. What causes rust class? That’s right WATER! This is the battery of a Mini. The Mini’s battery is located in the trunk where most cars have the spare tire. Due to a water leak, the battery compartment had about 4 inches of water in it. Now, I am not sure who long the battery was under water, but it did make the car not start. If you look just to the right of the big red square you can just barely see a yellow box. The yellow box has some type of fuse assembly inside. The assembly is totally rusted. I am not sure how much of the cables, and fuses will need to be replaced. My guess is this repair will not be cheap. Oh, this was on our used car lot. We don’t service those cars.

Funny story about a Mini. The very first one I worked on was about 6 years ago. It took be 30 minutes to find the hood release. I had to bust out the owners manual. HAHA, what type of mechanic has to read an owners manual to figure out how to open the hood??  Turns out, that Mini’s hood release is on the passenger side! HAHA


Remember a while back when we talked about Cam Shafts? Well, here is a close up of a cam shaft. The 4 lumps you are looking at are called lobes. They basically turn a rotation into an up and down motion. Ultimately, they open the valves and let air into and out of the engine. But for this picture, look at the lobe on the left. Now, check out the lobe all the way on the right. They should be the same. Now look back at the left lobe. See how there is a “U” shape that was cut into the lobe. This made a heck of a noise. Ok, now check out the next picture.


No, you have not traveled back in time. Those are push rods. 😉 This picture goes along with the one of the cam shaft above. The long tubes are push rods. The fat tube with the wheel on the bottom is a lifter. All those little metal rods are part of a bearing set. The lifter somehow got stuck. That is what caused the cam shaft above to be damaged.

I made a little joke about traveling back in time. This type of engine design is REALLY old. VW have not used it in, well I am not really sure. This engine is from a 2009 VW Routan. AKA a Chrysler Town and Country. So does it count as a VW. I guess technically, but to me, it is NO VW! 🙂

Well, that wraps up this weeks auto mechanic pictures. We had some really messed up stuff this week. Hopefully next week I can post some more fun pictures. 🙂

Don’t forget you can also connect with me on Facebook, YouTube and Twitter. Quick note on YouTube, if you are subscribed to the my YouTube Channel, you get to see the videos BEFORE they are posted on the site. Just Sayin ;P Use one of the boxes just to the right ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~>>>>


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. 😉

I wrote a post last week about what happens when an aftermarket breathalyzer is installed poorly. It is HERE if you missed it.

Well, as promised, Here is the follow up to what happened.

When I published that post, the repair was in a limbo state. The customer didn’t want to pay the bill, and the company that installed it didn’t want to pay the bill. I noticed yesterday that the Touareg was still at the shop, but it did not have license plates on it. It had been days since we had heard anything, so my service adviser called the customer. He said that they actually bought his car from him!

I don’t have the juicy details about how much they gave him, but honestly, I don’t think that he cared.  It probably worked out the best way that it could have.

I am sure it was some type of insurance settlement. I don’t think that this customer will be buying another VW, but more importantly, I don’t think that he will be drinking and driving again. I HOPE ANYWAY!