dodgy mechanics – trust your senses!

27 09 2011

about a year ago I need to have the catalytic converter in my car replaced, a not uncommon scenario for a car of its 13+ years age.  they’re expensive buggers, many hundreds of dollars at least, potentially a lot more if you buy (VW) genuine spares.  so i went with the non-genuine.

a new catalytic converter – or at least the one i got – had a very distinctive chemical smell for at least several weeks after it was fitted.

for the last couple of months, i’ve noticed the exhaust getting progressively noisier – that airy hole-in-the-exhaust sound, and in the last couple of weeks a mechanical rattling of something that had presumably come loose.

so last week i booked the car in for a service & also to investigate what was wrong with the exhaust.  at the end of the day the mechanic reported that “the cat had to be replaced, under warranty” (because it was less than a year old, i guess).  beauty, i thought, fixed for nix!

but on the drive home from the shop (and several drives to/from work the rest of the week), it was obvious this supposedly new ‘cat’ was just as airy-noisy as the old one, just without the mechanical rattle.

and there didn’t seem to be the unmistakable smell of the previous replacement cat.

being preoccupied with life, i didn’t think too much about it, and just resigned myself to having them look at it again when it was scheduled to get 4 new tyres this week.

well it would seem i ACTUALLY have a new cat – it’s quiet, AND it smells like a new cat.

i’d previous judged my now-former mechanic to be fairly honest.  their prices have always seemed reasonable (unless spare part prices dictated otherwise).  sometimes they’ve been a bit flaky, but not discernibly dishonest.

this morning when i dropped the car off, the owner/manager was clearly having a heated disagreement with what appeared to be an insurance assessor, assessing a claim seemingly involving an accident in the manager/owner’s now-former business-partner’s car.  he was trying to bulldoze his way past the assessor’s job of working out if the insurer was liable or not, and doing what seemed like a pisspoor job of it – it was like watching a train wreck in slow motion.

every now and again you get little glimpses into other people’s lives, and sometimes get the impression that their life’s walls are crumbling down before your eyes.


p.s. i AM moving to Sydney!