Auto Mechanic

Auto Mechanic

Charles ~ Humble Mechanic

Raleigh, NC

Male, 32

I am one of about 200 master certified VW techs in the USA. I do everything from basic maintenance, to advanced diagnosis. I eat, sleep and breathe VWs. I also have my own website dedicated to helping everyone to understand their car, and see the behind the scenes of being an auto mechanic. You can see more at

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86 Questions


Last Answer on October 20, 2013

Best Rated

When the economy tanked, auto sales completely fell off a cliff. But did that mean auto mechanics' business INCREASED, since people were hanging on to their cars longer?

Asked by jay almost 12 years ago

Short answer, no. We actually slowed down too. Some of that was due to changes in the shop. Most was due to the "economy" The truth is, people will find anyway to cut corners and save money. The weird part is the "needs" are generally cut before the wants. People will save money on food to afford the Starbucks. I found that people would still do oil changes, but anything else preventative was put off. It is was not completely broken it didn't need to be fixed. Looking back it was strange to see. Great question Jay!

can you give some reasons why a chev 2004 epica would be burning oil...about 1litre for every 1000km...thanks

Asked by Ray about 11 years ago

Thanks for the question Ray.

That amount of oil is considered acceptable by almost every car manufactorer.

Generally oil is lost one of a few different ways:

  • external leaks. This can be just about anywere on the engine, like valve covers, oil filters, and drain plugs just to name a few.
  • Internal leaks. Oil can leak past internal seals too. I have seen many cars have engine oil in the coolant(oil presure is higher than coolant pressure most of the time). It can also leak past the seals in a turbo charger.
Then there is what we generally call "burning oil". This can be worn internal engine parts like valves, valve guides, and piston rings.

If it were my car, I would make sure there are no oil leaks. If that was good, then I would just add oil when it was low. There is no easy or cheap fix for wearing internal engine parts.

Hope that helps Ray


Do you think pricey car alarm systems are worth it? Don't good car thieves know how to get around alarm systems?

Asked by The Sid almost 12 years ago

Hey The Sid, I have mixed feelings about them, especially on newer cars. I do think that a good alarm can help. It will help with rookie thieves looking to "smash and grab". I had a fairly high dollar alarm on my Acura. It got broken into 3 times and they only got my radar detector. Most modern cars have some type of immobilizer system. This will prevent the car from being started with out a matching key. What would stop a thief from just towing the car? I do agree that a good thief will get what they want. But hopefully they will choose another car, if they see you have an alarm. It is much like a lock on your door at home. It will keep honest people, and people that are on the fence out. You will still lock your door when you leave the house. I like the alarm that I have on my Passat. I use it for the keyless entry.. ;)

I have a 2003 Ford Focus SE. 4 Cylinder.The battery light has been coming on for a few months, it will come on, and go off. I can hear a difference in the engine when the light comes on.I took it to a auto parts store and had them do a diagnosis on i

Asked by Lindsay almost 11 years ago

What did they say was wrong? Battery lights generally come on when the battery or the alternator are failing.

Are most mechanics also in the business of buying junked cars for parts?

Asked by too many lemons almost 12 years ago

Many are. At my dealer, only 2 are. They will by cars that need some work, fix them up and sell them. It is kind of frowned on by the company. They see it as a mechanic competing for customers. I have bought 2 cars like that. 1 was a 1996 VW cabrio. I got it for $450. It needed a top, a battery and an ignition coil. I had the battery and coil, so I was able to drive it home that day. The other I got was a Jetta. I bought it for my sister.

Am I supposed to tip my car mechanic?

Asked by brikhaus over 11 years ago

Only if it's me ;) Okay, I am mostly kidding. You really don't need to tip your mechanic. We get paid well for the work we do. Now, if you have a mechanic that you really like, and they do a good job for you, tip them. The best tips are cookies or beer. This is also a good tactic if you are still trying to find a good mechanic. A customer that brings us cookies does get special treatment. It may not be "right" but it happens. You want your mechanic to remember you for being awesome.

Looks like you've touched on this, but HOW do mechanics rip people off? Is it just as simple as telling customers they need unnecessary repairs?

Asked by bowlingfersoup over 11 years ago

Sorry for the delayed response. I wrote an entire post talking about this exact question. Please let me know what you think..