Tuesday, December 16, 2008

I Think I'll Fire My Mechanic!

OK, here's the deal. I need my thermostat replaced in my '97 Ford Mustang, V6, 3.8L. Easy enough, right? Any mechanic worth his salt could whip that out in about 15 minutes (though he'd probably charge a full hour). Well, my mechanic doesn't seem to be that talented. He's a "moonlight" guy who holds down another full time job during the day. It's a good thing too, because after his performance on my car, I'd hate to see him try to make a living at auto repair. After seeing the symptoms last week, I had him take a look at it on Saturday. Beautiful day...60 something degrees...no big deal, right? Well about four hours later he had broken two bolts off into the engine block. Fortunately he was able to get them out because they broke off "above the threads" of the block. Well, by this time the parts house that he needed was closed. He assured me that the fault was in the cheap bolts he had bought from the local auto parts store and he needed to get the genuine ones from Ford. Ford is the epitome of customer service (sarcasm here) exampled by keeping their hours as close as possible to the time when "normal" people are at their day job. So, my mechanic friend wasn't able to get parts until yesterday (Monday). Last night after work, he shows up, not with Ford bolts, but with a tap to clean out the threads in my block and a couple of better quality, but still generic, bolts. He spent another 3 hours trying to get the thermostat to stay in place on the side of the engine block while he tightened the bolts. When he was "done" we cranked the car. It didn't take long to see the antifreeze start to drip. Oh, and did I mention that unlike the nice day we had on Saturday, last night's temperatures were in the teens, and it was dark? Well, his solution to the drip was to tighten it further. He cranked a few more turns, not wanting to break off these new bolts. Finally, after cranking it, the drips slowed to 1 or 2 a second. At this point, I'm thinking that I really need to fire this guy. Frustrated, I told him he was done for the night. I test drove the car and barely made it back home before it overheated to the point of damage. I popped open the hood and examined his work. The thermostat (or at least the rubber seal around it) could be seen protruding out of the bottom of the housing. So, most likely, this guy crushed my new thermostat because he didn't get it lined up right before tightening down those bolts. I normally don't like to name names, but as a courtesy to my readers I really feel I need to warn you. Whatever you do, don't let Mike Southerland repair your car! He's a programmer, not a mechanic! So, Mike, you're fired! I guess I'll have to do it myself now.

Mike Southerland

1 comment:

Robert said...

As a fellow programmer, I just want to point out that if they built cars the way we're expected to code, fixing cars would be MUCH easier! Everything would be easy to get to, color coded, and held in place via fasteners that could be loosened and tightened with your fingers.