The funny thing about mechanics is that sometimes they can tend to be a tad mysterious. But when you put your trust in the men and women that work on your cars, there really shouldn’t be anything questionable about them. After all, they pretty much charge an arm and a leg, sometimes literally.
So anyway, sometimes your mechanic will definitely try to go ahead and charge a little more, getting much more out of you than your repairs are worth. And that’s been the case—pretty much—for as long as their profession has existed. But at the same time, there are indeed those honest mechanics, those men and women that do the work that needs doing and charge what only needs charging without any exaggerated frills.
But one thing that both types of mechanics will tend to agree on is to keep quiet about those supposed myths, urban legends, and horror stories most of us have heard about cars. Even the ones that would love to scare even the novice drivers and car owners out there stay mum, so they can charge more. Even these mechanics are reluctant to tell you that these urban legends are true.
But, dear readers, in this article we will be taking a look at quite a few of these urban legends that even the most dubious mechanic out there won’t admit to. So buckle that safety belt, you’re in for a bumpy ride.
20 THE AIRBAG DIDN'T DEPLOY
Mechanics definitely like to keep up with the status quo. They don't want their clients thinking that anything out of the norm can happen, as true fear can kick in and certain motorists would give up driving altogether if they truly knew all that could go wrong with their vehicles. Mechanics are known to keep the truths they learn on the job on the down-low. One true fact that mechanics don't like to claim is a true urban legend is that often, the airbags in a vehicle won't deploy. It's true, and it has, in fact, happened enough for the word to get around, and yet mechanics are unlikely to claim that the stories are true.
19 MISSING TRANSMISSION WIRING HARNESS
This one's a bit creepy. Okay, more than a bit, and it actually happens all the time. But don't ask your mechanic about it, as he's likely to say, "No way does that happen. Never, in fact." He'll say this with a nervous smile and then perhaps change the subject or walk away. A wiring harness for a transmission is excessively important, and if it's missing, it can lead to obvious problems, and ones that no one wants to deal with, but the truth of the matter is that so many mechanics forget to attach it when working on a transmission, letting the cars go back out there without the harness in place! So if you've ever heard this urban legend, turns out it's true.
18 SEAT BELT ANCHOR BREAKAGE
Seat belts are meant to be our security when we drive around in the vehicles we love. They are a symbol of safety and there's no one out there that wants to let on that they are actually flawed; well, especially your mechanic. As it turns out, the seat belt is made from fabric and if you have a good pair of scissors, it can be cut quite easily—but that's not the problem here. Imagine if you will, the seat belt is secured in place, but all of a sudden, the anchor breaks and the seat belt mechanism lets go! That's scary, and let's just say, the seat belt is really the last line of defense in a car.
17 WHAT CAN REALLY HAPPEN AFTER AN OIL LEAK?
We're sure you've seen your fair share of action films, where cars light up left and right, especially at the hands of your favorite heroes. They appear onscreen, muscles glistening, and they light a match while looking at the bad guy in the car in front of them. There's an apparent gas leak, and as the match flares, the star says a line like, "Tsk, tsk, no one told me there was a BBQ in town." And then, well, we're sure you've seen it a thousand times. But have you thought that it couldn't happen just because of an oil leak? Well, it can—and people who know better (like our trusted auto repair experts) will seldom admit to it.
16 NEW CAR DELIVERED WITH DAMAGE
The cars we purchase go through a lot before we drive them off the lot. And this entry goes for all those dealership mechanics that work on the cars before they get unleashed. But not many people out there know that brand new cars need to get worked on and inspected; some even need to have parts replaced because it took a long time to sell certain vehicles and they wore out or got damaged over that time. And, of course, there are those vehicles that leave the lot or the dealership with damage still present on the vehicle. Of course, your dealership mechanic won't admit any of this but we have got you covered.
15 THE TRUTH ABOUT AN INTERMITTENT IGNITION
There have been many that have dealt with this problem and the word intermittent doesn't really cover the whole deal. Cars that have this problem will generally have a hard time starting. Essentially, you turn the key and the engine doesn't ignite at first but then, after a few seconds, it does. The moment is definitely annoying, if nothing else, and when you ask your mechanic about it, he tells you to be patient because repairs can be quite costly. But what never comes up is that the car can also stop on you—and that's when it's in motion. Your mechanic may tell you to avoid highways and byways at all costs, but they probably won't divulge that extra information, if they are aware of it at all.
14 THE CAR THAT BROKE IN HALF
Now, although the image we supplied is a funny little piece we decided to add here, the reality of this issue isn't comical at all. This issue stems from the subframe of a vehicle. And, as it turns out, there are many models out there that have a subframe fabricated with low-grade metals. Now, these vehicles will do well for the first three or four years, but then that's when the rust will kick in. The rust damage that can occur with these subframes fabricated with such low-grade metal is astronomical and in a few short years, there can be actual holes and gashes within the whole thing. Well, the result of this is the complete and utter breakdown of the frame, leading a vehicle to literally break at the center!
13 FAILURE WHILE DRIVING
Now as we mentioned before, failure while driving can be a serious possibility with those vehicles with intermittent ignition issues. But there are a plethora of other reasons why a car would stop functioning and yes, even while at top speeds. The aftermath is definitely unfortunate and although this issue doesn't happen often, it does happen. The best thing to do is to be safe and try to respect speed limits, as that's why they're there. Something like this happening at top speed is scary to think about. And although we should trust our cars and our mechanics, it's good to have a bit of knowledge about our own vehicles, as well. What's that sound? Why is this happening? It's important to dig around and find out, so that when these questions come up with your mechanic, you'll know when they're being evasive.
12 SCARY SPONTANEOUS OCCURRENCES ON THE ROAD
Of course, with reports of a Tesla vehicle lighting on the road a few months back, many have wondered about this particular phenomenon. If you speak to an old-school mechanic, he or she is likely to say, "It's because it was an electric car. That never would have happened to a regular, old-school combustion engine like the ones I work on here." And although you want to trust these words, because you've been going to the same mechanic since you bought your first car, these words couldn't be further from the truth. Spontaneous occurrences like this are quite common, and yes, especially in a combustion engine.
11 SCARY SPONTANEOUS OCCURRENCES WHILE PARKED
What's interesting about this issue is that it doesn't only happen while the vehicle is in motion. Imagine a man is sitting in his favorite chair by the window. He's reading the latest article at HotCars on his tablet when, suddenly, something catches his eye from somewhere across the street. He looks and sees a vehicle parked by the curb. It's not in motion and it isn't idling. Essentially, it's parked, and a driver is nowhere to be seen. From beneath the hood, smoke has started to escape and it's dark, almost black. We're sure you know where we're going with this. This occurrence is very possible, despite what the old mechanic at your local garage says.
10 MAYBE YOU DIDN'T NEED THAT NEW CARB AFTER ALL
Of course, probably one of the biggest urban legends of all concerning mechanics is that they have a particular way of getting you to say yes to repairs that weren't really necessary in the first place. Maybe you went in for one thing and by the time your visit at the garage was over, you found yourself saying yes to a multitude of other things, in addition. Of course, this is a practice that mechanics have honed over time and believe us when we say it does take practice. But rest assured, they get good at it—even expert at it—and they can convince even the cheapest stickler to spend that extra hundred or more on something that they don't need.
Earlier we mentioned spontaneous smoking (or potentially worse occurrences of a spontaneous sort) but what we failed to mention earlier was what can come of those occurrences. When a car overheats or starts to smoke or ignite because of a mechanical issue, the potential outcome of this can actually be a lot worse than expected and yes, sometimes catastrophic. It does happen and unfortunately, not many people are aware of this possibility. Now to be clear, with all of these serious outcomes, we're positive that your mechanic isn't purposefully keeping these possibilities from you. That would be awful, but we don't doubt that they actually believe that it can't happen and thus, their denial is a possibility.
8 AC IS BAD FOR YOU BUT BETTER THAN CALMING TEA
Probably another bit of information that most mechanics will never admit to is that too much AC can be bad for you. Perhaps many out there are aware of this, but not to the point that people are putting up major warnings on social media. Many have heard the urban legend of drivers and motorists perhaps falling asleep at the wheel and mechanics such as the ones we're describing in this article would be reluctant to state that this urban legend is based on truth. But indeed, if a motorist has the windows rolled up and is taking in all that cold AC air, it's very possible that they can drift off to sleep, especially if the drive is monotonous. The same goes for the heater.
7 LOOSE BATTERY TERMINALS
This one comes down to human error. At the end of the day, a mechanic is going to want to put his or her best foot forward and showcase his or her talents and skills, putting them at the forefront. But the old urban legend about the mechanic that left his wrench under the hood—or forgot something else—is pretty true. After all, mechanics are human, aren't they? Of course they are. A pretty common error, or slipping of the mind, comes at the battery. Many mechanics often forget to reattach the battery terminals after they've replaced the battery and by the time they figure it out, they've fiddled for quite some time with other things trying to figure out the problem. Oops!
Very similar to the issue of the AC is, of course, the exhaust. Most respected mechanics will want to warn motorists of all the dangerous possibilities and we should trust them for that but as we mentioned earlier, human error does exist, so we have to watch out for ourselves and get informed, as well. But what of the novice mechanic. It's very possible that a novice mechanic won't know all of the dangers that are out there. And especially with the dawn of electric cars and the like. But with the regular combustion engine comes the necessity of exhaust, and it's very important to remember not to leave a car running in a closed space like a home garage for too long a time. Many novice mechanics wouldn't even admit to the possibility of such an occurrence, though.
5 "BUT THE BRAKES WERE JUST WORN A LITTLE"
Mechanics come in all shapes and sizes, and by this, we mean all sorts of character traits. We've clarified that there are indeed many good men and women doing the job out there, but there is also the other side to that coin. In saying so, we assume that many of you have heard of the old urban legend concerning malfunctioning brakes. This can lead to bad stuff, of course. Eventually, the brakes will break away and let go and this would fall to the fault of the consumer, but probably what is even scarier is the complete deterioration of the brake line. If this happens, it is abrupt and silent and there's no way of knowing it beforehand. One day you have brakes, the next day you don't—and that includes the parking brake.
4 "DON'T GET UNDER THE LIFT!"
It isn't just the clientele that some mechanics keep the truth from, especially concerning these urban legends we've all heard a million times. Who's heard the one about the lift that suddenly gave way? We're sure quite a number of you have. An unsuspecting mechanic goes to do his work under a car when, suddenly, things go wrong. Though many have chalked this legend up to myth, it has happened. Now, just imagine a novice mechanic, first day on the job. and he's asking questions, like: "Is that lift secure?" The answer he gets will probably sound like this: "No way kid. Don't pay any attention to those myths, kid." But we ask you to remember that Oz, the Great and Powerful was indeed behind that curtain, no matter what Dorothy and her friends were told.
3 SOME REPAIRS ARE ACTUALLY CHEAPER THAN CLAIMED
Probably one of the greatest and most important urban legends not to be ignored is the fact that mechanics definitely overcharge you for repairs. Sure they do; come on, now. Some of the prices charged are astronomical and if you dig around, we're sure you can find prices that are better and way cheaper than what you were quoted. But we are at the mercy of our mechanics, especially those that have very little knowledge of what goes on underneath the hood. So yeah, we wouldn't put it past a few mechanics to overcharge, and blatantly refuse the fact that the statements we've made here are completely false. Just watch as their eyes dart down and to the side when they say this stuff, of course.
Another common urban legend and supposed myth is the infamous couple that goes to a mechanic with a not-so-serious problem. But the mechanic exaggerates the problems that the vehicle has, making it so overwhelming, in fact, that when he says: "Way too expensive to fix, Sir and Madam, but if you like, we can have a salesman show you what we have on the lot." And they actually are convinced that this is a good idea. SWINDLED! Even the mechanic that looks innocent has swindled you into thinking that everything is wrong with your vehicle. Heck, they can probably even convince you that you need a new pair of shoes, too.
1 CHRISTINE CAN HAPPEN
We sure can't ignore this urban legend. The myth has circulated the globe, so much so that writers like Stephen King and Theodore Sturgeon have gone on to create tales about the subject of a car that comes to life and wreaks havoc all its own. Both stories were turned into films and the most successful was King's Christine. The thing is, though, where did this myth come from? Where did the legend begin? Of course, it probably comes from some truth, some moment in history where a car actually did go berserk, all on its own. In recent times, many of us would remember a certain incident in the news when the self-drive option was being tested at Tesla and the car malfunctioned. How many of you out there thought of Christine? Be honest.
Sources: Wikipedia, Popular Mechanics, and Car Complaints.