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This is a question Professions I Hate

Broken Arrow says: Bankers, recruitment consultants, politicians. What professions do you hate and why?

(, Thu 27 May 2010, 12:26)
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Let us be very precise...
Auto-electrical repair technicians.

For those of you for whom "a quick furtle under the bonnet" is a chucklesome euphemism, there are essentially two systems within every car.

There are the sensible bits that mix air, petrol and a spark together in appropriate quantities, turn stuff round and pump the waste out of the back. Sometimes tricky, but with a Haynes manual and a decently equipped workshop, mostly manageable by your average grown up. And mechanics who deal with these bits are generally reasonable, helpful and will gladly explain everything to you if you like. If this is not the case walk outside your main dealer or KwikFit and ask a random old man washing his car on a Sunday where he goes.

Then there are the electrical bits that make lights come on, music play, the battery recharge and get the spark to the bit where it mixes. These aren't straightforward. They are fucking voodoo. Even the best built modern car has a collection of random wires, components and fuses that look like that tower PC you built in 1989. And have mostly been put together about as well. Auto electricians combine the "this'll do" cack-handedness of your worst ATS trainee mechanic with the purse-pilfering lip-pursing smugness of your most irritating household electrician.

If you have an electrical fault in your car either it can be found quickly and repaired with a new component/wire and a couple of blobs of solder. Or your car is fucked.

There is no middle ground. It's either a piece of piss or your electric mandolin fund is gone and lost to a guy spending an afternoon holding a multimeter in various points around the front of your car as if he was trying to get HeartFM on your Dad's bakelite Hunter.

These guys think nothing of handing you back a car with most of it's dashboard in a box and instructing you to source an out-of-production circuit-board from a scrapyard. And charging you for it. Any car they judge "safe to drive" will most likely die in an instant at 70 on the M4 outside Swansea. Any sage words of wisdom like "oh, no, it's not the alternator" will result in an AA patrolman peering cautiously at a wisp of smoke coming from an alternator dripping with melted plastic.

They deserve their own circle in Hell. And will never be paid by me, for anything, ever again.
(, Sat 29 May 2010, 20:09, 11 replies)
True dat
If you own a Fiat with aircon, sooner or later it WILL stop working. The dealer will try and flog you a £600 module, and it still won't work. The real problem lies in a multiplug in the passenger footwell that is so badly designed that it melts. All you do is cut the wires, one pair at a time, and crimp them up. The plug? Oh that's just a bit of shit the factory used from the non-aircon model: the one that runs at 20 amps less.
(, Sat 29 May 2010, 20:22, closed)
'So what was wrong?'
'Multiflowvoodoofuck sensor'
'So there was nothing actually wrong with the car?'
'Nah, just the sensor'
'So how much will that be?"
'£450 for the sensor, £200 labour. They're a bitch to get to'
(, Sat 29 May 2010, 21:04, closed)
and for this reason, never buy a Renault - the rain gets into the wiring loom and the wiring goes rotten
(, Sat 29 May 2010, 22:34, closed)
Electrical systems I can now deal with ok. I conquered my fear by making a full custom wiring loom for a project car. Its just wires and relays and stuff and I surprised myself with how easy it turned out to be. Electronic systems however are another matter entirely....
Having to programs replacement parts and the main ECU so they will talk to each other and therefore work?

WTF? This shite is the reason I only drive cars from the early nineties or older. Preferably lots older. If it breaks, I can fix it with a welder, some spanners and a hammer rather than having to pay some child to plug it into a fucking laptop then tell me the xyz module is "out of range" and needs to be replaced at a cost of several weeks wages.
(, Sat 29 May 2010, 23:42, closed)
I am...
... impressed.

My experiences have led me to wish to take a greater understanding in these areas. Any book recommendations - or do I need a course?
(, Tue 1 Jun 2010, 13:27, closed)
I, uh...
...just bought an electric mandolin. For this, I click 'like'.
(, Sat 29 May 2010, 23:44, closed)
which one *mandolin-lusts*
(, Tue 1 Jun 2010, 13:25, closed)
Dave with the cheese is right
the electrical part of your car is not difficult to understand,if you take a little time to learn the basics, electronics is somewhat more difficult. But you can save yourself thousands and avoid said tradesmen by taking the same approach with your electrical system as your mechanical system.A good approach is to look at every wire as if it were a hose with electrons running down it, & switches are taps.
(, Sun 30 May 2010, 8:13, closed)
Oh yes,
A Renault garage tried to charge me £120 for a replacement oxygen sensor (part and labour) after charging me £40 to run the diagnostics program (bloody rip-off in itself for what they do).
Instead I bought the part from them for a tenner and fixed myself within half an hour in their car park. It took me a little while as it was a bit difficult to find.
As I gave the mechanic a cheery wave on the way out I could swear he was willing the car to explode under his death stare.
(, Sun 30 May 2010, 13:59, closed)
Doing the same...
... sourced part for 25 quid. Will fit myself - it's literally a couple of plugs and some screws. Then putting the dashboard back on - but I haz Haynes so I don't feel too blue about that.

Then get the alternator that the fault that the electro-fucks couldn't find blew up and probably get my local banger-doctor to fiddle with the various belts that this would need to fit.
(, Tue 1 Jun 2010, 13:30, closed)
Buy the tools!
Everybody who's interested - or skint - enough will already have spanners, screwdrivers, hammer, etc. Lots of people have laptops so go to sunny eBay and buy a connector interface for about £30. It comes with basic software which will read fault codes and thus tell you what's wrong in a lot of cases.

Or just moan a lot, go to your main dealer, hold out your wallet and say, loudly and clearly, "HELP YOURSELF".
(, Mon 31 May 2010, 11:44, closed)

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