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What Happens When An Auto Mechanic Gets Stuck

Published on October 1, 2012 under Humble Mechanic

Hey everyone.Today I want to talk about the strange things auto mechanics do to find issues with a car. This video is one of my all time favorite automotive sketches.


Thanks to Kids In The Hall for such a funny video!

In all reality this type of thing happens a lot. Granted we don’t paint a car to try and figure out why it doesn’t start. Mechanics do get stuck and sometimes “trying it now” is the only thing you can do.

What a mechanic does when they get stuck really defines what type of mechanic they really are. From my experience, there are only a few things that mechanics do when they get stuck.

  1. Whine
    This seems to be the most common thing to happen when a mechanic gets stuck. It is really easy to get caught up in “whine mode”. It gets you no where.
  2. Ask around until you find the answer you want
    This is what generally follows whining. This one drives me insane. I worked with a guy years ago. He was not a very good mechanic. That is not a huge deal. We can fix that with training. However it got to the point that no one would help him. If he got stuck, he would ask everyone in the shop what they thought he should do. He would ask until someone either helped him, or told him what he wanted to hear.
  3. Quit
    Thankfully this is something that does not happen that often. In fact I have only seen it happen 1 time. One of the guys in the shop was putting cam adjusters in a W8 Passat. I don’t remember the exact circumstance, but he just up and quit. In the middle of the job. That left one of the other team leaders in the shop to finish the job. Not cool!
  4. Try it now
    This is what seasoned mechanics do. When you are stuck on fixing a car, you have to do something. There is no possible way to fix a car by doing nothing. That could be anything from rechecking something you already checked. It could be whacking something with a hammer, and everything in between. Some times you are a luck auto mechanic, and sometimes you are not. But powering through the problems is really what makes a top level diagnostic mechanic.

Getting stuck on weird problems is part of the job. It will never go away, no matter how cars are built. It doesn’t matter what year, make or model. It does not have to be a VW to have crazy electrical issues.

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3 Comments

  1. Pat McCloud

    I see the same ways to fix things in computer networking. I think has more to do with the person than the job.

    Just remember, it is already broken, so unless you are going to make it more broke, just try it. And if it works, either write it down, or make sure you remember what to do next time.

  2. Charles

    @Pat,
    It is funny how a repair business is so similar no matter what you are repairing.

    I like to say “what’s the worst that will happen”.

    I never understood being afraid of just trying something. Like you said, it is already broken

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