15 Crazy Things Car Mechanics Have Seen on the Job

Most mechanics have a tale or two to tell.

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Strangest things mechanics have found in cars - cat on engine block
Photo: Shutterstock

Curiosity didn’t kill this kitty

When Reddit contributor JDela13 saw the mechanic working on his truck jump back about a foot in surprise, he went over to investigate. The last thing he expected to see was a small pair of eyes staring back at him. A tiny kitten was hiding out in the groove of the engine block. Luckily, the animal was unharmed.

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close up crumpled aluminum foil texture background, abstract pattern of tinfoil, paper for wrapping food while cooking
Photo: andy0man/Shutterstock

Don’t bug her

Reddit user Yellow Toad had heard of stories of people wearing tin foil hats, but he never thought he’d see a car in which the engine, wires, battery, and hoses were wrapped completely in foil. Turned out the customer owed a lot in back taxes and was certain the government was attempting to track her via her car. She figured since tin foil apparently works to keep the government from tapping into your brain, it must work with cars equally as well…

On the other hand, here are 40 aluminum foil hacks that actually work.

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Crotalus molossus is a venomous pit viper species found in the southwestern United States and Mexico. Common names: black-tailed rattlesnake, green rattler, Northern black-tailed rattlesnake.
Photo: Viktor Loki/Shutterstock

Hiss worst nightmare

Quora contributor Mark Shaggy Wertheim probably wishes it was a kitten he found under the hood of the late model Nissan he was working on at a dealership in Arizona. Instead, he was treated to the sight of a Western diamondback rattlesnake giving birth to six babies. The customer, who blamed herself for having left her car parked for several weeks while she was away on business, tipped Wertheim generously. Who knew being a mechanic came with hazard pay?

Read the terrifying true story of a man who was bitten by a rattlesnake—after it had been decapitated!

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Photo: RITESH KARELIA/Shutterstock

Now that’s hiss-terical

Wertheim’s customer turned out to be a real card: “The next time she came in, she requested me. When I popped the hood, I was greeted by ANOTHER SNAKE!!”

This one was rubber, thank goodness. And it had a $20 bill taped to it along with a note: “Sorry, I couldn’t help myself!”

It doesn’t have to be April Fool’s to pull these clever pranks on your family!

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Bucket of caught tropical fish
Photo: stormcab/Shutterstock

Something fishy

Quora contributor Brian Glastetter, who works for Tesla Motors, recalls facing the “most horrendous punch-you-in-the-face smell you could ever imagine” while performing a transmission repair. “I rolled every window down with little relief,” he says. Turns out the source was a “large pile of fish heads in the back seat baking in 100-degree summer heat.” Glastetter never found out why they were there.

(Here are 15 more things you should never leave in your car.)

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car trunk
Photo: wellphoto/Shutterstock

Of corpse, it could have been worse

A pile of fish heads isn’t the worst thing Glastetter’s ever seen in the course of his career. That honour might go to the corpse he discovered in the trunk of a car that had been dropped off for service. “Oops, meant to take that out?” Glastetter wondered. In other cars, he’s also found a brick of drugs, several adult “toys,” an arsenal of guns and ammo, bottles of liquor, dirty diapers, and a live snake.

These funny work jokes will brighten your day.

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Canadian money
Photo: CarpathianPrince/Shutterstock

His lucky day?

Glastetter also recalls the time that a brown paper bag with $60,000 turned up wedged behind the glove box of a car that was in for service. He returned it to the customer—no questions asked.

You won’t believe the prices these celebrity cars fetched at auction!

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Close-up of a kid hand playing with a racing car
Photo: pjcross/Shutterstock

Honey, you shrunk the vehicle

Glastetter’s strangest story, in his opinion, was the time when an extremely overweight woman picked up her car after having it serviced. She was there with her daughter, who was also extremely overweight. After the women squeezed into the car, Glastetter began to hear a commotion. A minute later, he says, they stomped out of the car, fists clenched and red-faced. “You shrunk my car,” the woman insisted. “Now put it back to the size it was when we dropped it off, or you’ll hear from my lawyer.”

These funny tweets about driving are sure to make you smile.

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Hand open glove compartment box inside modern car
Photo: GBALLGIGGSPHOTO/Shutterstock

A lesson in cause and effect

A lady came in and said that her car would pull to the right, recalls Reddit mechanic Cheima15. After driving it for 10 minutes, he could find nothing wrong with it. Perhaps, the lady suggested, if Cheima came for a ride with her, he’d see it with his own two eyes. Sure enough, the car did pull dramatically to the right—anytime the driver reached over to open the glove box. The mechanic saved his customer some money by recommending she not open the glove box while steering.

Here’s what it could mean if your steering wheel really does shake.

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Two colored bowling balls of number 14 and 13
Photo: AS photo studio/Shutterstock

Roll with it

Reddit user FartKilometre tells a story of a customer who came in complaining of hearing a heavy clunking noise whenever he stopped his car and a similar heavy clunking whenever he was pulling away from a stop. The problem, FK discovered, was the loose bowling ball rolling around in the trunk.

Find out the surprising things your car says about your personality.

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lock button to prevent children from opening car doors
Photo: navee sangvitoon/Shutterstock

Who wouldn’t check there first?

Reddit mechanic Rebel County recalls a customer coming to him, complaining that he couldn’t open the rear doors of his car. Sure enough, the doors would not open, and Rebel County was as baffled as his customer. It finally occurred to him that… no, could it be something as simple as the child safety lock being on? And so it was. It was just too bad that this occurred to him only after he had pretty much taken the door apart.

Here are 13 weird car features you might not realize you had.

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Woman pouring blue antifreeze liquid into dirty car.
Photo: Lubo Ivanko/Shutterstock

The mouse that had a drinking problem

Upon opening the hood of a customer’s car, mechanic Val M. Smith was startled to see a mouse holding the upper radiator hose in a death grip. It was literally a death grip—the mouse was dead. “Only thing we could figure was it had acquired a taste for the antifreeze leaking from the hose and died gripping the hose when drinking. Strangest thing I have seen!”

Don’t miss this roundup of the most Canadian headlines of all time.

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flat tire
Photo: Photographee.eu/Shutterstock

Flat chance

Reddit user judyduty heard this story from her mechanic boyfriend about a guy coming in and explaining that “the bottom of his tire was flat.”

“You need a new tire,” replied the mechanic. “No, it’s just the bottom that’s flat.” The customer pointed out that the rest of the tire looked fine. The mechanic had to give a brief physics lesson to help the customer understand that when the bottom of a tire is flat, the tire is flat.

Psst—here’s how to change a flat tire, step by step.

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speedometer with rpm and km meter
Photo: Ba dins/Shutterstock

What does a speedometer measure?

Quora contributor Delmer Dueck, who owned an automotive repair shop for a few years, recalls the time a customer brought in his car, thinking the speedometer was broken: It didn’t work when the car wasn’t moving.

You won’t believe these incredible true stories of classic cars found abandoned in barns.

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air conditioner vent in car
Photo: LuckView/Shutterstock

Don’t laugh

Reddit user and mechanic fatalalala recalls the time a customer complained he heard a man laughing whenever he started the car. After some digging, the mechanic discovered it was a flapping business card that was stuck in the passenger side AC vent.

Find out what these strange car noises probably mean.

Reader's Digest
Originally Published on Reader's Digest