The first problem had been looked at many times by a dealer in Florida where the owner had a second home and where he stored the car for those times he would be there. The car sat around a lot and the owner was getting very upset that it wouldn’t start when he would show up at his vacation place to drive his car around.
Apparently not much was solved but like most other electrical problems if it’s intermittent and you can’t duplicate, read a history code or at least see the problem… most anything you do is just a guess. The lucky guy to actually see the problem looks like the genius and in the customers mind all others that have tried have reached some level of stupidity… or worse. Someone tried a new starter, another battery, a little of this and some of that. None of which fixed the problem. Luckily for me, the Vette went through its death rolls right there in the shop for me. It turned out that the thin wires that make up the security system which are attached to the ignition switch tumbler had broken. As you turn the ignition switch the wires must twist with the switch and like anything else that moves, it will wear out—it did. I replaced the unit and all is well. The second problem required a little more effort and a whole lot of waiting. The driver’s side shock had gone bad. On top of the shock is an electronic sensor that had broken its little gear and the shock had “locked-up” which is probably why the sensor failed. But, the only place that still had parts for it was in Florida. Imagine that. Drive the car halfway across the country to Oklahoma, to my shop, and find out the only replacement parts are right where you were to start with. Go figure.
It was about a week or more before the replacement parts showed up. The car was finished and sent home with the owner. All parties are paid up, car is starting with no problem, and the suspension is working as it should. What could be wrong?
A few days later my daughter Mandy got a phone call: “Yes, I remember the car…. really? I wonder how that happened. Are you sure about that? Hmmm, I’ll check with the shop. I can’t think of any way that could happen… OK, I’ll call you back when I know something. Thanks for letting me know, Good-bye.”
I was standing nearby a little puzzled as to who and what the call was about. Mandy turned to me. “Dad, you’re not going to believe this. That Vette you just finished the other day. The guy’s wife insists that there is human hand print in the windshield. I don’t mean ‘on’ the windshield. She says it’s permanently “etched” into the glass.”
“You’re kidding,” I answered, wondering how this miraculous event could occur.
“Nope, she’s dead serious. She told me that she took the car to a glass shop and they couldn’t get it out. They tried all kinds of chemical cleaners and it’s there as plain as day.” Mandy recounted.
“Oh come on, this is ridiculous. Let me guess, it’s my hand print right? How in the world would I have done that? Anything that would carve a hand in a windshield would have carved whosever hand did it,” I said in a fit of confusing reactions.
“Have her bring the car back and let me take a look at it,” I told Mandy.
“Ok, but I don’t think that’s going to happen, they’re pretty upset with you.”
Upset or not, to me there is only one way to resolve things like this. “Bring the car back to the shop that has done the work so they can see what’s going on, or I’m coming up to see it.” But, do you think that happened… nooooo. Not a chance.
A few weeks later I ran into the husband at a meeting I was attending. It was a meeting of some of the top businesses in town, some of the largest but also some of the best. I wouldn’t think there was anybody in this room that would have any misunderstandings about any service work done for them since we all are basically in private business and deal with people, parts and things like this every day. I asked him why he didn’t bring the car back to me to have it looked at. There again, I was surprised at the answer.
“You obviously have no idea of the concern that my wife is having over this issue. The trauma caused her to go to a rehab in Denver for a nervous condition. I had to take the car into a glass shop and have the windshield replaced with a new one. That finally made things right with my wife. So I don’t think I’ll be bringing anymore work to you. She’s still very upset but, she is on medication for it now.”
In all my years of working with the general public, nothing surprises me anymore. You think you’ve seen it all then some crackpot, off the wall lady like this comes along. I’m not the type of person who wants to think that I’ve done something wrong and caused someone to have to go to rehab, but then I’m thinking… You’ve got the time and money to go to rehab over a magical defect in a friggin’ windshield? The problem here ain’t the windshield. People and their emotional states can be the hardest automotive diagnostics you’ll ever run across and if they could be left out of the equation things would go a lot smoother. There’s one thing I can say about cars that I can’t say about their owners. Cars are never crazy, wacky, or just plain nuts in the need of counseling. They’re just a car. I’d like to have a ‘professional’ opinion on these people but, I’m no shrink. I’m only the mechanic. I’ll leave the emotional evaluations to a doctor.