10 Things You Never Want to Hear From a Mechanic
'She's a goner' is definitely the worst, but here are some other coronary-inducing phrases.
Average vehicle repair costs fluctuate depending on the make and model of the car and how it's driven, according to Consumer Reports. However, repair and maintenance accounts for about 4 percent of annual car-ownership cost.
Your car is in the shop. The phone rings. It's your mechanic — the call you've been dreading all day. He has discovered what is wrong with your 4-wheeled friend, plotted a course of treatment and has an estimate for how much it will cost. If luck is on your side, the fix will be so simple and obvious that it's a joy to hear from the greasy guy: "Your brakes are fine. The floor mat bunched up under the pedal a little, slightly limiting its range of motion. I straightened the mat, secured it, all's good. No charge. Come get this thing out of my garage."
Unfortunately, such good news from your mechanic is rare. More often than not, he says nothing you want to hear, prefacing the bad news with something sympathetic like, "Well, the prognosis isn't good," or a lame joke such as, "You better get your checkbook out."
Since the latter scenario is so universally loathed, and because it happens frequently, we decided to chat with some top service technicians to see what phrases their clients like to hear the least. Here are some of our favorites.
"Have you noticed that low-pitched knocking sound? Not good."
By design, engines make lots of noises. Some are perfectly normal, some imply that a minor fix or tune-up is needed, and some — well, just hope you never hear them. We call these last noises car-killers. A low-pitched "tock tock tock" usually falls into this category. Though it might only be something that has come loose and is getting tossed around under the hood, the sound is more likely rod knock, which is caused by damaged or misshapen connecting-rod bearings banging together. An engine with rod knock can last a long time when driven gently. But under hard acceleration, like on a highway, the problem can get very bad, very quickly, usually resulting in a thrown rod, which is when the connecting rod breaks and the broken end crashes through the side of the engine. Unless you plan to power your car "Flintstones" style, you'll want to get those bearings fixed fast, because a thrown rod means you'll have to replace the engine, and a new engine for a late-model vehicle can cost well over $10,000 in parts and labor.
"Did you see all this rust when you bought the car?"
A surprisingly common horror story is one that happens after you've bought a used car: the so-called post-purchase inspection. It's the Bizarro World version of the pre-purchase inspection that you were supposed to have performed before handing over money to the vehicle's previous owner. Remember, once you purchase a used vehicle, any problems that arise thereafter are yours. In this case, the mechanic discovers rust practically everywhere, in the suspension, subframe, shock mounts, etc., and those parts are now all on the verge of crumbling. A simple look-see would have alerted you to the problem. Now you can either sell the car for scrap iron, or consider it a lesson learned and pay your mechanic thousands of dollars to fix the problem.
"Looks like your cat has gone bad."
No, your friendly neighborhood mechanic isn't suggesting your pet tabby has joined a gang. He's referring to your vehicle's catalytic converter. Located between the engine and exhaust system, a catalytic converter essentially transforms three noxious exhaust compounds — hydrocarbons, carbon monoxide and nitrogen oxides — into relatively benign ones. A broken or failing catalytic converter won't hurt your car, but you can't drive the car without one; catalytic converters are required by federal emissions laws. According to CarMD's Vehicle Health Index, catalytic-converter prices range from $363 to $3,047, and the average time it will take a mechanic to replace it is 1.3 hours.
"You have a short somewhere in your electrical system."
There's nothing particularly scary about a dead battery, right? Sure, it can be a hassle if it happens at an inopportune time, but it's still a common issue, and one that's cheap and easy to remedy. However, when a brand-new battery goes dead and you're certain you didn't leave the headlights or some other electrical accessory on overnight, that's much different. It means there is a short somewhere in the car's electrical system. While most shorts are simple enough to fix, these pesky buggers can be infuriatingly difficult to locate. Be prepared to watch the labor hours rack up with this one. CarMD says the average national labor rate for a mechanic is just under $80 an hour. And finding a short can take days.
"The coolant level is fine. Your engine is cracked."
When your car's temperature gauge began creeping up toward that ominous red "H," you knew enough to pull over and let it cool down. After all, this usually just means the vehicle is running low on coolant and you need to get it to the nearest gas station to add some. In your mind, you're thinking the worst-case scenario is a coolant leak or perhaps a faulty temperature sensor. However, overheating can also be caused by a crack in the engine head. The fix? If you're talking about the cylinder-head assembly, the average cost is $945 for parts, and average labor is 11.2 hours, which means the cost is prohibitive.
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I have been a technician for several years now. I have watched many mechanics so far out of their league now a days with all the new technology. Mechanics just keep throwing money and parts at problems until they get lucky. Technicians figure out the problem not just keep guessing at the problem. I do lots of work of just fixing other people's screw-ups. That can some of the worse jobs.
I don't know where they get these prices the estimates are way off most of my bills don't come anywhere near them $10,000 for late model engine??? more like 1500-3000.
Alignment pull probably struts or a arm bushings not frame. Again a mechanic can perform alignment, but every alignment machine out there can print a paper with all the measurements on it only the technicians can read it mechanics just think the colors are cool.
I think this article just breeds fear with their over pricing but car failures are a reality. Just stop treating your mechanic like he's the bad guy.
If God Created It, It Will Die....
If Man Made It, It Will Break........