Car owners often develop a good relationship with the mechanics in their local repair shop. Vehicles are always going to break down, and while some of the easier repairs can be carried out at home, it is always best to get an expert to take a look at more complicated problems.
Sometimes those DIY car repairs can go horribly wrong, making the initial fault ten times worse – and ten times more expensive. Mechanics often have to deal with botched repairs, as well as fixing the initial problem, so that their client can get their car back on the road as soon as possible.
The car repair industry is a pretty lucrative lie of work to get into. Cars may be becoming more and more reliable, but they are still going to experience breakdowns or be involved in accidents, and mechanics will always be needed to fix those faults. The US auto repair industry was worth an estimated $63 billion in 2016, and there are almost 700,000 people employed in the auto repair industry, either working at large dealerships or smaller independent repair shops.
But even though mechanics don’t want their clients making amateur attempts at complicated repairs, they do prefer it when customers clean out their vehicles a little – or at least remove anything embarrassing, dirty or downright dangerous, like the crazy items on this list which mechanics have come across in vehicles they were fixing.
18 Moldy Watermelon
One auto repair shop got more than they bargained for when a customer dropped their car off on a Friday evening, ready for the mechanics to start work first thing Monday morning.
The vehicle sat in an open courtyard throughout the hot, sunny weekend, and when workers opened the car doors, they were immediately assailed by a foul sweet odor.
After airing the vehicle for a little while, they started to search the inside of the car for the source of the smell and found moldy watermelon in the trunk, which had started to rot away inside its cellophane wrap.
17 Diamond Ring
While installing a backup video camera system in a high-end sports car, a mechanic in Los Angeles discovered a very expensive-looking diamond ring, which had clearly fallen onto the floor of the vehicle and worked its way underneath the carpet. Being a trustworthy guy, the mechanic immediately informed the client. He revealed that his wife had lost her beloved engagement ring two weeks previously, but she had been so worried about her husband’s reaction to her losing such a pricey piece of jewelry, that she had only actually told him about the loss the day before it was found in the car!
16 Collection Of Nuts
Mechanics often make house-calls, if the job requires it and the money is right! One repair shop worker was visiting an older client to install a new alarm system in a car which had spent most of the last year parked on his driveway.
Upon removing the bumper, the mechanic was astonished to see a pile of acorns fall out of the bodywork – and was even more surprised to spot a squirrel standing on the grass and watching his progress.
Squirrels will often store their nuts in cars, in both the bodywork and the engine, which can cause some serious damage.
15 Exploding Can Of Hairspray
Mechanics often don’t know what customers may have left behind in their vehicles when they bring them into the shop, and so they can’t take precautions if they’re needed. For example, one female driver who brought her car for in repairs left a can of hairspray in a bag on the back seat. After the can was exposed to direct sunlight for several hours, it heated up to such an extent that it exploded, shattering the windscreen and causing even more damage for the mechanics to repair. Pressurized containers should be removed when you drop your car off in the shop, or at least placed out of direct sunlight.
14 Fish Heads
If the smell of a moldy and rotting watermelon isn’t bad enough, how about rotting fish? Workers at one repair shop went to start working on a car’s transmission, only to be stopped in their tracks by a fishy odor.
Even leaving the doors wide open made little difference to the stench, which apparently came from a pile of decomposing fish heads which were lying on the back seat.
Why any car owner would leave something so gross on the upholstery of their car is a mystery, but the mechanics battled through the smell to get their work done.
13 Bag Of Cash
A bag stuffed full with cash must have been a very tempting find for the mechanics working on one car, but in the end, they decided it was better, to be honest with the owner – who amazingly had forgotten that they had left $60,000 in their glove compartment! Mechanics will quite often find cash in cars, though not often as much as $60,000, including coins and notes which have worked their way under the carpet or even into the bodywork. Most are honest and return the money to the owner but some may decide to pocket the cash for themselves.
At first, it may seem strange that so many mechanics have found snakes hidden away in the vehicles they are working on; but actually, cold-blooded snakes seem to enjoy slithering their way under the hood, where they can curl up, sleep, and make the most of the warmth from car engines. Most of the time they do no harm to the engine, and so while the mechanics may get a shock from finding a snake where they expect just to find car parts, it is probably just a coincidence that the reptiles have ended up in cars that need repairs.
11 Cat Litter Box
Animal lovers will do everything they can to ensure that their beloved pets are as comfortable as possible when they are traveling in the car. Cats, in particular, are usually very bad travelers, so it is hardly surprising that owners will make adjustments for their feline friends. The only problem is that one of these cat lovers decided that they were going to have a kitty litter box in their car for their pet to use, but forgot to remove it when they took the car into the repair shop, giving the mechanics working on their vehicle a rather unpleasant surprise.
10 Live Bomb
Finding a portable kitty toilet is child’s play compared to what some mechanics have gone through when working on clients’ cars. There have been a number of cases around the world where mechanics have actually managed to save the life of their customer by finding car bombs attached to the engine, and calling in the police to deal with the explosive device before anyone could get hurt. This is far from a modern phenomenon either. The first time this happened was way back in 1929 when a mechanic in Ohio found a primitive bomb on the engine of a local publisher.
9 Fifty Nails In Tire
Getting a slow puncture from a nail in your tire is an annoyingly common occurrence, and usually results in the tire either needing to be patched up or in some cases, replaced completely.
When one motorist drove into his local repair shop, saying that he thought one of his tires had a puncture, mechanics were astonished to find not just one nail in the tire, but fifty!
Fifty nails in one tire is not the sort of thing that happens by accident, so either the client was the innocent victim of a very expensive prank, or someone was out to get them.
Just when you think the general public can’t get more ridiculous, you have the case of the car owner who brought his vehicle into a repair shop because he had dropped his burrito into the engine, and hadn’t been able to retrieve it himself. The mechanic was a little skeptical about the story of the “dropped” burrito, thinking it was more likely that the motorist had instead thought that the warm engine cavity was the perfect place to keep a burrito warm on the way home from the store. However, he retrieved the burrito as asked, but advised that the customer would probably be safer throwing it into the trash.
7 Cowbell Under The Car
Mechanics have probably seen just about every car modification going, from cheap custom paint jobs to badly fitted aftermarket exhaust systems. One of the less hi-tech mods which some mechanics have come across is the hanging of a cowbell from the car’s rear fender. This may seem like something which is designed to warn pedestrians of the car’s approach, but actually the unusual appendage can serve a useful purpose, especially if the driver enjoys taking their vehicle off-road, as the cowbell is an easy way for the driver to hear if their undercarriage is getting a little close to the rocks.
6 Rodent Nest
Snakes aren’t the only animals which seem to enjoy the warm, dark spaces in and around a car’s engine. Rodents like rats and mice are also attracted to this area, and they can do a lot more damage than a snake if they get settled and create themselves a nest. There are lots of tempting wires in there for rodents to nibble on, as well as the unpleasant smell that a nest will create. Some people don’t even know that they have rodents living in their engine space until the poor mechanic opens the hood and sends them all scattering.
5 Baby Squirrels
Sometimes mechanics have also come across much cuter animals than snakes and rodents when they are examining cars in need of repair. Baby bunnies have been found tucked away in engine nooks and crannies, including one in the UK which was stuck in the engine of a moving car for a heart-stopping 12 miles, while a repair shop in the US discovered a family of baby squirrels huddled in the air filter of a Toyota 4 Runner. The owners simply had a new air filter fitted, and lifted the old one, squirrels and all, out of the engine so that the mother squirrel could retrieve her offspring.
4 Padlock On Shift Stick
A lot of customers develop a very good relationship with their local mechanic, preferring to take their car to a smaller independent repair shop than the larger dealerships when their motors need some work.
However, there are plenty of clients who don’t really trust mechanics with their vehicles, and some have even taken precautions to ensure that staff at the repair shop don’t take their precious car for an unauthorized drive.
One customer brought his car into the shop for repairs and promptly snapped a padlock onto the shift stick of his vehicle, making it impossible for anyone else to drive the car.
Mechanics have to get used to dealing with a certain amount of trash in most cars which come into their shops. Occasionally, however, they will come across a car that is so full of trash that it seems impossible that anyone could even drive the vehicle safely – and the poor workers at the garage have to move all that horrible trash aside to gain access to things like the pedals, the floor or even the dashboard. It can’t be much fun to have to tidy other people’s old food wrappers and soda cans – and should mechanics throw away the trash they have cleared from the car or put it back where they found it?
2 Cardboard Wrapped Around Exhaust
It is fair to say that not all DIY car repairs are a resounding success. Most people know how to change a flat tire these days, and there are plenty of instructions online that can help even the most inexperienced drivers to learn how to replace sparks plugs or change the oil. However, sometimes people try and make repairs to their cars that are not just ineffective, but also could be downright dangerous. One mechanic was more than a little surprised to find that the owner of a car brought into his shop had tried to patch up an issue with his exhaust by wrapping the whole unit in cardboard and duct tape.
1 DIY Steering Wheel
It’s one thing to try and carry out DIY repairs on your vehicle, quite another to do nothing to try and fix a problem with a car for days or even weeks before seeking professional help from a mechanic.
Staff at a repair shop were horrified to see a customer driving a vehicle that had lost its steering wheel.
Instead, they had taped a wrench across the steering column, and they were using that to turn the car. Even if they had only driven from home to the garage using such a contraption, that was still a very unsafe thing to do.
Sources: autodub.com, digitaltrends.com, wptv.com, consumerreports.org, carsdirect.com