Quantcast
Jump to content


    • You can post now and register later. Already registered? sign in now to post with your account.
    • ×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

        Only 75 emoji are allowed.

      ×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

      ×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

      ×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.


      Once you submit your question, a new topic will be created for you in our forums. Our moderators may move your topic to a more suitable forum category if one exists. Members will see your topic and be able to respond to your question.

    • This will not be shown to other users.
Gonzo

Article: Bugs In The Rugs - - - What have you encountered from the insect world while working on a car?

Recommended Posts

Bugs In The Rugs

         Ants, moths, bees, flies, wasps, spiders, scorpions, roaches, yellow jackets, fireflies, centipedes, silver fish, lady bugs, katydids, mosquitos, termites, fleas, mites, and fly larvae (maggots).

         No, that’s not a list of insects on the back of a can of insecticide.  That’s just about every type of creepy, crawly nasty little bug I have encountered in a car at one time or another.  It’s enough to make your skin crawl. 

         Sometimes it’s not so much what you run into, but where.  For instance, I was working on a little foreign car, checking out a faulty turn signal.  I diagnosed a bad lead on the front turn signal socket, and had already pulled the lens off and supplied a ground to the bulb, so I knew what I needed to do.  Just sling under the car and reattach the ground lead that was hanging there.  The car was low to the ground, but I managed to wedge myself under there just enough to make the repair.  As I managed to turn my head to see the turn signal housing, there… just a ¼” from my nose was a large nest of red wasps.  They were all darting around working on their nest totally oblivious to me.  I didn’t stick around long enough to introduce myself. 

         Something I’ve learned after being at this for a few years: If you get one of those carpet cleaning trucks in the shop for repair, make sure you have plenty of roach spray handy.  It’s not uncommon to pop the lid off of the fuse box to find hundreds of those nasty little critters trying to find a new hiding place. I’ve even seen a few behind the lens of the instrument cluster just minding their own business as they walked over the gauge needles. They tend to eat wires, leave their acidic droppings on circuit boards, and their dead relatives laying in the vents. Nothings worse than getting “bug sprayed”… with bugs when you turn on the blower motor.  

         Now when you’re trying to find an odor, or some reeking smell that has literally chased the owners out of their car, don’t be surprised if you’ll eventually find a dead mouse or some other strange varmint carcass in the duct work, trunk, or under the carpet.  The worst is when the flies have found it and started laying eggs on it.  For the investigative type mechanic, the fly larvae is a good way to determine how long whatever it was has been decomposing in the customer’s car.  You see, a fly can lay more than 100 eggs on a warm moist body and in 8 to 24 hours the larvae will begin to hatch. Those wormy, wriggly, crawly little ugly, nasty things stick around for about 5 days and then start to pupate into an adult fly.  A capital “G” for gross.  Knowing all of that will allow you to inform your customer when their little friend became post mortem in their cabin filter or wherever it was you found it, although at this point they’re too grossed out to really care about your CSI skills!

         Spiders can bring out the heebeegeebees in the biggest, baddest mechanic on the planet.  I once worked with a guy who was completely petrified of spiders.  We were tearing down an old car that was in for restoration when he removed the door panel and a large tarantula came crawling out from the bottom corner of this old rusted door.  Honestly, I’ve never seen or heard such a big fella scream like a little girl.  He not only came up with his own high pitched language that only he could understand, but managed to dart across the shop and up onto the top of his tool box so fast he didn’t have time to let go of the door panel. He stayed up there perched on his tool box talking some sort of gibberish only he could understand, as he was kicking tools out of the open drawers.  The tarantula had to go, or he wasn’t coming down.  I got elected to shoo the little critter out the door. We literally had to pry the door panel out of his hands and coax him down with a cup of coffee and a cigarette. His tool box needed a bit of straightening after all was said and done.

         Ants for the most part are pretty harmless. I’ve never ran across fire ants in a car, but I can only imagine what that would have been like.  The ones I’ve run across are just the busy little ant type doing busy little ant things. Sometimes the hardest part is finding where they’re coming from.  Half the time you’ll see these little guys marching along one after another in single file heading to another part of the car.  If it’s a car that’s been sitting in one spot for a long time chances are they’ve built an elaborate home somewhere in the car and it’s your job to find out where.  Good luck with that.

         Sometimes you wonder how some of these insects find their way into a car in the first place.  Like pulling a spare tire out of an old car and find a scorpion staring at you.  Or mud dauber wasp nests all over the engine compartment.  They sure do find some of the oddest places to build their little nests.  One time I’ve even found them on the carburetor choke plate on a car that was only sitting for a few days.  The owner tried to start it, but had no luck with it.  He then had it dragged into the shop to have the no start problem checked out.  After a bit of carburetor spray to dissolve the mud it started right up.

The owner being the kind of a jokester he was, now had a new story to tell about his old car.  He started his little tale with, “Guess wasp up with my car?” 

         Whether it is a family of arachnids or any other family of insects invading your car, somewhere some mechanic has probably already experienced it.  As they say, “There are more bugs in the world than there are people.” So there’s a good chance you’ll run across a bug in a rug or one in the trunk of that very car you’re working on.  Just work on some fast reflexes, a few nerves of steel, and it wouldn’t hurt to keep a can of bug spray handy either.   

        


View full article

  • Like 1
  • Sad 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

We allow visitors to read the first post of each topic. To read this post, please login or register for a membership. 

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

We allow visitors to read the first post of each topic. To read this post, please login or register for a membership. 

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

We allow visitors to read the first post of each topic. To read this post, please login or register for a membership. 

  • Like 1
  • Thanks 1
  • Haha 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

We allow visitors to read the first post of each topic. To read this post, please login or register for a membership. 

  • Haha 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

  • Similar Topics

    • By Truett
      Just wondering everyones opinion on yellow page advertising.
      Worth it or just basic listing?
      Richard
    • By Ron Ipach
      You might be thinking I'm going crazy, right? Talking about advertising in the Yellow Pages in this day and age, but for some shops, advertising in the Yellow Page still makes sense. Now, bear with me. Don't stop and think I've gone off my rockers. Let me explain what I'm talking about:
      Everybody's clientele is different. What is the average age of your clientele, of your better clientele? You want the people that are coming in and spending money with you. If you're finding that you have an older clientele, chances are, most likely, they're still using the Yellow Pages. Admittedly, I had to go over mom and dad's house to get a Yellow Pages because I don't have one at my home, but look, I'm not of the age demographic that is off of the internet.
      A lot of people are on the internet but quite a few people are still intimidated by the internet, and they're more likely to grab a Yellow Pages and search for a business to do business with. We don't want to alienate them, and if you're staying out of the Yellow Pages, you have a 0% chance of them ever calling your shop. This isn't for everybody. I mean, All I've been doing recently is broadcasting the importance of getting found online and getting referrals. Look, I get it, and I can't wait to hear the comments down below the post after this. For some, as a matter fact, for a lot of auto repair shops, advertising in the Yellow Pages still makes sense.
      If you recall, if you go way back depending on how long you've been in business, when I first started working with auto repair shops about 20 years ago, Yellow Pages was the dominant place where everybody advertised. If you remember what it was, it was very expensive and there was just page after page after page after page of display ads, and your chances of getting noticed amongst all that noise were pretty slim and none.
      Everybody hated the Yellow Pages because it was so expensive, but I found a way, and a lot of my clients found a great way to put in a really good ad and get a lot of business from the Yellow Pages. If you've been with me for a while, you know my style of advertising is a lot different than what most other people will do. The ads that we put in the Yellow Pages actually got a ton, and I do mean a ton, of phone calls, from perspective clients. If you put together a kick-butt ad now you could get the same results.
      I currently have a Greater Cincinnati Yellow Pages book here with me. I'm in a suburb just north of Cincinnati. There is an entire auto repair section. It starts on one page and it ends on the very next page, and that's it. A front and back of one page is all it is. Remember, this used to be pages and pages and pages of display ads. Right now, display ads, this one has one, two, three, four, five. Five display ads on this side, and we've got a small ad right here and an even smaller little in-column ad, a couple over there, and that's it.
      That's for all the auto repair shops that are in this area, and there are quite a few of them, by the way. Everybody else has decided to stay out of the Yellow Pages. Remember the problems with the Yellow Pages before. They were busy. There were too many, too much competition. They were expensive. Right now, that's not the case, so that's the reason why I would encourage shop owners to maybe look at using the Yellow Pages if you're trying to attract an older clientele.
      Again, if you find your older clientele are not the demographic that you're going for, then the Yellow Pages is the wrong idea, but if you're in a retirement community, if there's a lot of elderly people around you and you want to attract them to your shop, this could be a really good place because they still use this. They're not walking around with their mobile phones looking for a shop to do business with. They're actually still using the Yellow Pages.
      There's a lot less competition. The ads have gotten extremely cheap compared to what they used to be. The Yellow Page reps, the reality is since everybody's shying away from the Yellow Pages, they're giving great deals. I mean, they're giving away everything possible to get you to advertise in the Yellow Pages.
      Leave no stone unturned. Investigate the possibility. Look at the clientele that you have. You might even start asking people, "Hey, do you still use the Yellow Page, Pages?" and if a lot of them do, that might be a really good place for you to start advertising again.
      -- Ron Ipach (a.k.a Captain Car Count)
      President/Founder of Repair Shop Coach More articles and content like this and originated through Ron Ipach's Car Count Daily campaign Auto Repair Shop Owners, Managers, and Automotive Industry Professionals are invited to join 'Car Count Daily Boosters' LinkedIn group to provide resources and gain insight on boosting car count DAILY and filling up the bays in their shops.
    • By Gonzo
      A Tisket A Tasket
               Every mechanic worth his salt loves a good challenge when it comes to something mechanical.  Tearing engines and transmissions apart and putting them back together is kind of like “automotive therapy” for most professional wrenchers. These “therapy” jobs come in all sizes, big and small, and even in green and yellow baskets. They all start out as recognizable pieces of machinery but are now a disemboweled mechanical nightmare, haphazardly strewn into a motionless collection of parts at the bottom of a cardboard box. Yes, I’m talking about the proverbial basket case.
               They really do come in baskets, but cardboard boxes, shopping bags, burlap sacks, pillow cases, milk crates and the occasional pickup bed loaded down with what can only be described as pure chaos will suffice for a good old fashion basket case. True to form, the owner of these discombobulated ancient relics will always tell the mechanic the same thing, “Everything is there.”  Yep, everything is there alright. Everything you took apart is probably there, but what about all the parts that were missing before you started?  You know, those parts that probably set this whole thing in motion, and why it ended up in these assorted parts boxes.  And, I believe you when you tell me, you haven’t lost a bolt, a nut, or that specially shaped washer that is rarer than hen’s teeth to find. (Not!) 
               What makes matters worse is not so much what they took apart, but how they took it apart.  There are numerous components that seasoned mechanic knows better than to try and separate, even though there might be some obvious screws or fasteners or a sealed cap. However, to the weekend nut spinner it looks no different than any other part. Somehow, someway, they manage to take that sealed cap off of a spring loaded diaphragm, and the next thing you know … zip, zoom, zing, sproing… the internal pieces fling into the next county. I can only imagine how much time and effort went into removing that sealed cap!
               From window tracks to engine components, nothing is sacred when it comes to how or what someone will tear apart and then give up on.  Sooner or later the quest and the ambition to put it back together dwindles down to another feeble attempt they can mark off of their bucket list.  They’ve lost hope of ever putting it back together again.  Then, it’s time to toss all the pieces in the nearest basket or container. Someday, they’ll finish it, sell it, or maybe take it to a real mechanic.
      For the mechanic, the real challenge is trying to figure out what in the world is in the basket, what can be reused, and what has to be replaced.  Sometimes the person who brought this basket case to the mechanic just purchased it at some ridiculously cheap price, thinking it can’t be that bad to put back together.  Other times, even before they’ve bought these jumbled together crates of parts, they’re already working on how to spring this on their favorite mechanic. Once the mechanic gets his eyes on their latest flea market find the first thing he’s usually is wondering about is why in the world it was torn down this far apart in the first place.  Sometimes it’s obvious, other times it only becomes apparent when you start pulling things out of the boxes and assembling what’s there.
               A perfect example of this was the time an old rare motorcycle came to the shop in bushel baskets. Since it was an old regular customer, and I’m always up for a good challenge, I thought, heck, why not, I’ll give it a go.  Turned out the baskets contained enough for about one and a half engines, and as usual several parts were missing.  Once I sourced all the missing pieces I could come up with, I managed to get it back together. I was in for a big surprise when I fired it up though.  On the very bottom of the engine block there was a slight crack that only could be detected after the engine was warmed up. I really think this was one of those basket cases that should have remained in the basket.  And, wouldn’t ya know it, the only part that wasn’t in the baskets and impossible to find… the engine block. 
       
               It’s simply amazing the extent that some people will go to when tearing down a piece of machinery.  I’ve done countless restoration projects where the entire car, bolts and all, end up in little plastic bags, as well as cardboard boxes.  I usually mark each box or bag with a number, starting with the first part I take off in a bag labeled #1.  Then, using a log sheet I work my way from the last number back to number #1 when reassembling. Seldom do I lose track of the components that way. But, to see these haphazard collections of wires, bolts, brackets, and grease covered components in the same box, all twisted together makes this anal retentive mechanic with a touch of OCD cringe every time.
               I’ve got to admit the hours spent sorting through the boxes brings out that “kid in the candy store” reaction from me. It adds to the experience of trying to bring life back to an old forgotten piece of machinery, and there’s no telling how long some of these basket cases have been abandoned back in the corner of some old garage.  Whether it’s a hundred year old oil pull motor or a rare foreign car with no source of replacement parts, the challenge and the stories you can tell afterwards are priceless.
       None of these basket cases ever pay nearly what they should, but is it really about the money on these projects? For me, it’s more about the achievements and the chance to say, “I did it.”  Yes, these basket cases can be a real challenge sometimes, but honestly, after you’ve put the last bolt on, turned the last screw, and got it to fire up, you can look back on the whole experience and tell everyone how you brought one more forgotten relic back to life, as well as emptying a few peach baskets.  That’s when it’s time to flip that peach basket over and sit down and take in all that you’ve accomplished. Believe me, it’s great therapy, and you’ll be smiling from ear to ear when that hunk of iron is up and running again.


      View full article
    • By Gonzo
      This next story is dedicated to my two lovely daughters. Amanda Sue and Katrina Lee ... They reminded me about this lady sometime ago and told me I should write this story for them... enjoy...

      The Bird Lady

      This lady was weird. Hmm, not a great way to start a story now is it.

      But, it’s true. This lady was a weird as it gets. The name “bird lady” was actually from my daughters. They nicknamed this gal after a couple of trips to the shop to see what old dad was up too.

      On many occasions that the girls would come to visit good old dad during working hours, this car would be at the shop. There were always bird cages in the back seat, feathers everywhere, and bird droppings all over the place. Turns out, that the lady owned an exotic pet store somewhere in town. She never carried a purse it was always a “Wal-Mart” plastic shopping bag. She dressed like a bag lady, most of the time in a funky 80’s style coat with a frumpy crochet hat with kaleidoscope colors. To talk to this lady made you wonder if she wasn’t coo-coo herself, always off in her own little world, all by her lonesome.

      She would come in on a regular basis to have general maintenance done. Oil change one day; check the tire pressure on another trip, so on and so on. One particular time in the shop she was there to have a leaking valve cover gasket replaced. She waited up front in the lobby while we finished the job in the shop. Most of the time she was too nervous to just sit and wait for the work to be done. She would wander around the lobby looking at things or pop in and out of the door checking on her car... this time she just sat there.

      As I walked through the front office for something I noticed her sitting there in the lobby reading a book while crunching down on pieces of raw spaghetti noodles. You could hear the crunch from a block away. Crunch, crunch, crunch, went the noodles, as if it was an automatic reflex with her. She would start off with a full length piece and then would quickly munch it down to nothing. Over and over again she would do this.

      I just shook my head and went back to the business at hand. Soon we had the work completed and I went up front to finish out the invoice.

      You know, it’s impolite to ask people what they are doing munching on noodles like that. I’m no doctor or chef… but this can’t be good for you.

      I just had to ask, “What’s with the noodles, you seem to like them.”

      “Oh, I’m on a diet,” she said, “It keeps my mind off of eating and I feel full all the time then. Works great, I haven’t put on a pound since I started this.”

      Had to ask, “So when did you start this diet?”

      “Today.” She answered.

      OK then, ....I’ll just finish this invoice and send this lady back to her little nest. I really don’t want to ask her anymore questions. Oh, I’ve got plenty, but, I ain’t asking.

      “Would you like to try it?” She asked me.

      “No,… no, that’s OK,” I told her, “I’m fine, wife and I are having spaghetti tonight. Thanks for asking though.”

      I told this story to my wife when I got home. She couldn’t place the lady’s face until I mentioned that this is the lady the girls called the bird lady.

      I think the nickname fits. If you could have seen this spaghetti eating champ at work… you would have thought she had gone to the birds too.
       
      Click here to view the article
    • By Gonzo
      The bird lady
       
      This lady was weird. Hmm, not a great way to start a story now is it. But, it’s true.
       
      This lady was a weird as it gets. The name “bird lady” was actually from my daughters. They nicknamed this gal after a couple of trips to the shop to see what old dad was up too.
       
      On many occasions that the girls would come by to visit good old dad during working hours, this car would be at the shop. There were always bird cages in the back seat, feathers everywhere, and bird droppings in the back seat. Turns out, that the lady owned an exotic pet store somewhere in town.
       
      She never carried a purse, instead she used a “Wal-Mart” plastic shopping bag. Most of the time she would be dressed in some funky 80’s style coat with a frumpy crochet hat with kaleidoscope colors. To talk to this lady made you wonder if she wasn’t coo-coo herself, always off in her own little world. Always seemed a bit nervous and preoccupied with her own immediate situation.
       
      She would come in on a regular basis most of the time for general maintenance. Oil change one day; check the tire pressure before she would go on a trip out of town, so on and so on. One particular time in the shop she was there to have the leaking valve cover gaskets replaced. She was waiting in the front lobby while we finished the job in the shop.
       
      As I walked through the front office for something I noticed her sitting there in the lobby reading a book while crunching down on pieces of raw spaghetti noodles. You could hear the crunch from a block away. Crunch, crunch, crunch, went the noodles, as if it was an automatic reflex with her. She would start off with a full length piece and then would quickly munch it down to nothing. Over and over again she would do this. I just shook my head and went back to the business at hand. Soon we had the work completed and I went up front to finish out the invoice.
       
      You know, it’s impolite to ask people what they are doing munching on noodles like that. I’m no doctor or chef… but this can’t be good for you.
       
      I just had to ask, “What’s with the noodles, you seem to like them.”
       
      “Oh, I’m on a diet,” she said, “It keeps my mind off of eating and I feel full all the time then. Works great, I haven’t put on a pound since I started this.”
       
      To keep this friendly conversation going I had to ask the next obvious question, “So when did you start this diet?”
       
      “Today.”
       
      Ok then, I’ll just finish this invoice and send this lady back to her little nest. I really don’t want to ask her anymore questions. Oh, I’ve got plenty, but, I ain’t asking.
       
      “Would you like to try it?” She asked me.
       
      “No,… no, that’s ok,” I told her, “I’m fine, wife and I are having spaghetti tonight. Thanks for asking though.”
       
      I told this story to my wife when I got home. She couldn’t place the lady’s face until I mentioned that this is the lady the girls called the bird lady.
       
      I think the nickname fits. If you could have seen this spaghetti eating champ at work… you would have thought she had gone to the birds too.
       
       


  • AutoShopOwner Sponsors



×
×
  • Create New...