I’ve wanted to learn a third language for a very long time, so I’ve been taking classes in Española. One of these days I might actually be able to hold a conversation in Spanish with some of my Spanish speaking customers. Did ya notice I said third language? Yes, that’s right I already know two languages rather well. English is my first language of course, and my second language is … mechanic.
If you’ve been in the business or around repair shops as long as I have you pick up on the terms and slang of the business. If you’re not familiar with the language let me introduce you to a few of the common words mechanics here at the service counter.
“Didya” - Usually associated with an overzealous customer who can’t stand to be away from his/her car for any length of time.
“Didya get my car done yet?”
Even though the mechanic has told them that changing out the heater core may take a day or two, they’re never too far away from a phone. Sometimes it’s just a few hours after the car was dropped off, and they’re already calling. “Didya” can also be in a form of a question at the time they pick up their car as well. It generally refers to something they thought you’d run across during the repair. Very rarely does it actually have anything to do with the repair that was just done, but more of a second thought they had, and either forgot to mention or they’ve been talking with someone after they left the shop and were told that they should ask the mechanic about it before they picked up their car.
“Sinchya” - An all-time favorite of mine.
“Sinchya got the car here for new wiper blades, could ya rotate the tires too?”
Let’s take a look at this example of replacing the wiper blades. As with most techs you schedule your day around what work there is to do, and you place certain cars in certain bays to do certain types of work. Since changing the wiper blades doesn’t require putting it in a bay, with a lift you save an out of the way stall for just that kind of work. In the meantime you shuffle the “lift” jobs according to their priorities or whether or not parts have arrived, and get those jobs hoisted up in the air so you can get started on them.
You know, there’s a certain type of smile a mechanic gets on his/her face when “Sinchya” comes into the conversation. Anyone in the business knows the smile. That smile isn’t really a full out smile, it’s more of a half snarl and half grin. ‘Cause, if you knew what I was thinking right about then you’d probably not ask, “Sinchya got it here”. The whole time I’m standing there I’m already trying to figure out the jigsaw puzzle of cars in the shop, and how I’m going to get this job on the lift while this customer is waiting on it.
I’m sure the customer is thinking, “You know, it’s not that big of a deal… just rotate the tires… can’t take that long can it?” If I say, “Sorry, bays are tied up right now. If you come back later I could do it.” Chances are they’ll just run down the street to the next shop, so I better make every effort I can to bend backwards and get it done for them.
Since the question of “Sinchya” usually comes up after they have written the check for the repair that brought them here in the first place, its stand to reason they expect whatever it is they would like done now as complete gratis. (I think that’s the snarl part of that half smile.)
But, I can't leave out the ultra-classic use of "Sinchya", "Sinchya worked on my car last, it does this now... and it didn't do it before." Don't even get me started on that one.
“Bidaway” – Another classic.
“Sinchya” and “Bidaway” go hand in hand.
They pretty much mean the same thing, although just like in most languages there are times when certain words that mean the same thing are more appropriate in certain instances.
Example; “Bidaway, can I get an oil change while it’s here?”
This is usually brought up after the car has been sitting up in the air on a lift waiting on some special part. The part finally comes in, you get it installed, and lower the car to the ground. You’ve kicked the lift supports out of the way, and are about to drive it out to the parking lot when someone from the front desk comes up to the car window and mentions to you that the owner would like an oil change while it’s here. You know, fifteen minutes earlier and this wouldn’t be a problem. Now, I’ve got to crawl down there and reset the lift supports, check the balance, and raise the dang thing back up. And, of course, it would be one of those cars that you have to be sure to put the lift arms in just the right places so that it will raise up level.
“I’vBinthinkin” – A very dangerous mechanic conversational word.
It has more to do with someone wanting to explain some sort of mechanical or electrical spark of brilliance they have come up with; some miracle that all the engineers in Detroit never thought of.
Such as; “I’vBinthinkin, I should run 90 weight oil in my engine, because it’s so thick it would be impossible for it to leak out. It sure would be a lot cheaper than having you change the gaskets.”
Can’t argue with that logic now, can I? Depending on how the conversation goes the mechanic may set things straight, or the question asker with their super powered knowledge will be even more determined to try it their way and not take the advice of a mere mortal mechanic.
“Ryashur” - Without a doubt the most disturbing word in the mechanic’s vocabulary.
Take a long diagnostic problem, one that required several special tools, maybe a scope, probably a scanner, and a whole lot of time going over procedures and wiring diagrams. The car in question has been to several other shops with no concrete answers from anyone. But through diligence and perseverance the mechanic has solved the problem.
The customer asks, “Ryashur?” (There’s that quirky smile popping up again.) Now I have to explain the whole thing to someone who doesn’t have a clue. But, I’ll run through each step… step by step. Even after explaining everything in detail and there is still a bewildered look on their face, it’s time to break out the hand puppets, model cars, colored flow charts, and a complete set of Encyclopedia Britannica. (It’s quite a show sometimes.)
I’ve only covered a few of the vocabulary words, but there’s plenty more out there. For the young techs, if you don’t know the words, don’t worry, it’s a learn as you go type of language.
If you’re ever at a repair shop and you ask the mechanic something, and he hesitates, stares off into the distance, then gets this half grin on his face… you’ve inadvertently used one of those “mechanic” words. Give him a minute… it’s OK, he’ll snap out of it.