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Geek With Attitude - - - - Your attitude doesn't match your intelligence.


Gonzo

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Geek With Attitude

 

 

 

Now I realize I'm only a mechanic, and not an Ivy League scholar, and I may not qualify as the next inductee into MENSA, but I'm still a pretty smart guy. Oh, I may not know all there is to know about every single make and model out there, but I have enough background and technical ability to solve just about anything that goes wrong with the modern car. But, for some people the mere thought that a mechanic might actually have a few brain cells just baffles them to no end.

 

A few weeks ago I got a call from a guy, who (to the best of my dim witted abilities could tell), was having a problem with his truck. He told me that he pulled all the fuses, and was still having a battery drain issue he couldn't find. He even took it to another shop and wasn't happy with their results, so he was going to give me a chance at it based on a friend's recommendation.

 

 

 

"Bring it in tomorrow, and I'll get it checked out for you," I told him.

 

 

 

The next day a 98 Nissan pickup with 150,000 miles on the odometer was waiting for me. After getting the owner's information, I went over what he wanted me to do. Little did I know this guy had all the answers already. Not only the answers, but several ideas as to what was causing his problem. This particular guy was a full-fledged computer geek with more than a little attitude to go along with it. Not only did he think he was dead right about everything, but that every mechanic out there was nothing more than a knuckle dragging grease monkey with the IQ of a walnut. The more he told me about the problem the more I knew I was in for a long afternoon. Seems everything that was ever wrong with the car from the day he bought it was leading up to the moment the battery went dead. But, of course, it's not dead now... that takes a month before it would happen.

 

"A month?" I asked.

 

Oh, he had an answer for that too. It all started with the front crankshaft seal. The seal was leaking, and it leaked all over the alternator, so he had the seal changed along with a new alternator and battery. (Both the alternator and the battery came from one of those cheapo depot places; imagine where the seal came from.) A month went by before the car wouldn't start again. The seal was leaking too, but not nearly as bad.

 

"Hmm," I said, sitting at the service counter thinking this whole thing through, "You say it takes a month before it won't start? Are you driving it much?"

 

"Yes," he said, "Every day."

 

This didn't add up, something else is wrong with the car. As I tried to explain to him that if a car is driven every day, and starts perfectly fine,but then all of a sudden it goes "click-click" it tells me there is something else wrong, and it's probably not a battery drain issue.

 

"Leave it with me, and I'll check it out," I told him,

 

Apparently, Mr. Geekdumb doesn't have a clue how a car works, other than where to put the gas and which way the key turns. Not that I'd hold that against him, a lot of people don't know a thing about their transportation. It's just that most people don't try to sound like they do, especially while standing in front of somebody that just might.

 

Once I had the truck in the shop it turned out to be a classic problem; the battery bolts were tightened down as far as they could go, but I could easily pull the cables off the battery without any effort at all. The charge output and parasitic draw tests showed no signs of any problems. As for the seal leak. Well, if you've been around cars with high miles and poor maintenance you've probably seen this before. The PCV valve was clogged. Without that, no ventilation for the lower end, and of course, a back pressure builds up and that pressure has to go somewhere... usually out a seal, and the front seal is one of the usual places for it to go.

 

Explaining all this to the computer nerd turned out to be a whole lot tougher than I thought possible. How one person can act and think that they are so smart, but can't see the logic behind the explanation is beyond me. The more I tried to explain, the more this guy asked even more bizarre questions.

 

I gave him the run down on the battery clamp issues, "Yes, a loose battery clamp can make the car not start. Sometimes you'll get one quick turn of the starter then nothing, not even a dome light. Other times you'll get a "click" which is what your car sounds like. This can also stop or restrict the alternator charge output from entering the battery."

 

"So, that's why my dash lights don't work?"he asked.

 

"There's no relationship between the charge output and the dash lights. That's a separate problem. Most likely the rheostat," I said.

 

"Well, what about the switch on my dome light, it doesn't work. I'm positive that is due to the front seal and the PVC you mentioned."

 

"Sir, it's a PCV not PVC, "Positive Crankcase Ventilation" is what it stands for, and no, it has nothing to do with your dome light."

 

"So I have two PCV's in the car?"

 

"No, just one."

 

"So where's the PVC?"

 

"That would be in your house most likely. Most homes have PVC plastic piping."

 

"So, now you're telling me I don't have two PCV's?"

 

"I never said you had two."

 

This went on, and on. My frustration level was getting to my MAX level, and I'm about to tell this guy just where he can put his PCV and his PVC. But, after lengthy deliberations he eventually decided to have me at least fix something...one thing…change the battery clamps. He had the solution for the dash lights, dome light, PCV, and the front seal. I apparently don't understand,or fail to comprehend how all his other problems are related to the dead battery.

 

He showed up later that day to pay for the clamp replacement, and it wasn't hard to tell this guy had an ego driven "micro"chip on his shoulder. He wasn't about to have some lowlife mechanic explain the physics of the internal combustion engine to such an astute individual as himself.

 

 

 

His parting comments as he walked out the door said it all.

 

"I work on highly technical and advanced systems on home and business computers that are far above the complexities of anything you'll ever see. I'm better off fixing my own car, because I have a degree, and my intelligence level is far superior than any mechanic."

 

Really? That's the best you got?

 

Better luck insulting me next time, fella…leaving is probably the smartest thing you've done so far… don't let the door hit ya on the way out.


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Don't just love it how these guys tell you what is wrong before you have even looked at it because they read about such and such on the internet and it comes that their solution is a million miles from what is actually going on.

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These high and mighty types can be the biggest pain. There so busy telling you how, that a tech can get side tracked and never find the how or why.

 

The best thing is just to tell the tech, "I have to jump start it", or "It's not charging" something like that. But some people just can't make life simple you know.

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You can never forget about some guy fixing the car. I think he's one of them. LOL One of my favorite stories... "Some Guy" LOL

 

I used to work at a Dodge dealership that was near a Pratt & Whittney ( rocket science ) facility. Used to love it when these guys brought their cars in. Manuals all flagged and nots in the side bars. They already knew what was wrong with the vehicle but just wanted it confirmed with our "computers". Yea all in a days work! I think a lot of them were buddies with Some Guy (remember him? )

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  • Have you checked out Joe's Latest Blog?

         5 comments
      I recently spoke with a friend of mine who owns a large general repair shop in the Midwest. His father founded the business in 1975. He was telling me that although he’s busy, he’s also very frustrated. When I probed him more about his frustrations, he said that it’s hard to find qualified technicians. My friend employs four technicians and is looking to hire two more. I then asked him, “How long does a technician last working for you.” He looked puzzled and replied, “I never really thought about that, but I can tell that except for one tech, most technicians don’t last working for me longer than a few years.”
      Judging from personal experience as a shop owner and from what I know about the auto repair industry, I can tell you that other than a few exceptions, the turnover rate for technicians in our industry is too high. This makes me think, do we have a technician shortage or a retention problem? Have we done the best we can over the decades to provide great pay plans, benefits packages, great work environments, and the right culture to ensure that the techs we have stay with us?
      Finding and hiring qualified automotive technicians is not a new phenomenon. This problem has been around for as long as I can remember. While we do need to attract people to our industry and provide the necessary training and mentorship, we also need to focus on retention. Having a revolving door and needing to hire techs every few years or so costs your company money. Big money! And that revolving door may be a sign of an even bigger issue: poor leadership, and poor employee management skills.
      Here’s one more thing to consider, for the most part, technicians don’t leave one job to start a new career, they leave one shop as a technician to become a technician at another shop. The reasons why they leave can be debated, but there is one fact that we cannot deny, people don’t quit the company they work for, they usually leave because of the boss or manager they work for.
      Put yourselves in the shoes of your employees. Do you have a workplace that communicates, “We appreciate you and want you to stay!”
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