Swimming Through Garbage - What Would You Say?

Samantha Manager California Posted   Latest  

Hi all, 

I have a question for the service advisers, shop owners, and whomever else has had to deal with this:

How do you handle a tech needing to access the inside of a hoarders car? 

I'm not talking about the average Joe who has some Mickey D's wrappers and a coke bottle on the floor board. I'm talking about the stacked-to-the-ceiling, moldy, I-think-that-bag-just-moved, smell it from a mile away cars. 

What do you say, and how do you say it, when the tech needs to access something? Do you say anything at all? Maybe just put it in a trash bag and place it back in the seat when done? Do you give the techs any extra PPE? 

Is this commonly seen? 

As always - I put the disclaimer that I am not a tech and have no experience. But I saw one of these cars pulling into a jiffy lube this week as I was driving home and that got me thinkin'....

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Jeff Diagnostician
California
Jeff Default
 

The first car I saw like that I told the service writer NO I'm not working on that after a discussion with the shop owner we now have turned away several cars like that , one lady got offended and called us the clean police , the shop owner just told her he couldn't ask his techs to work in those conditions.

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Brian Owner/Technician
Oregon
Brian Default
 

We see this from time to time and my techs safety and well being is high on the priority list. if this is known at write up, then you can simply inform the customer that it will need to be cleaned before allowing anyone in the vehicle. If the shop take it on to clean it then it will be likely to be accused of “moving or loosing” a piece of garbage or something else. It will be a never ending…

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Samantha Manager
California
Samantha Default
 

I would think "honesty is the best policy". But then I think that some people take something like, "There are too many hazards in the front seat," as a personal attack rather than a concern for worker safety. How often do tech's get blamed for things going missing (read: the customer losing/misplacing their belongings)?

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Chris Diagnostician
Maryland
Chris Default
 

Our shop does see this from time to time. If it is a car that is just pack full of stuff I will advise the customer that they will need to clean the vehicle out before we can gain access to where ever we need get to to complete the job. Last summer someone brought up a farm van that I think they were keeping pigs in or something. There must have been a hundred or so fly in this car and they…

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Samantha Manager
California
Samantha Default
 

Yeah.... I don't think anyone would fault you for not wanting to be elbow deep in dirty drawers. Yikes.

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Ralph Technician
Georgia
Ralph Default
 

I've refused to work on filthy cars had a lady puke in her Mercedes shorted out the shifter we had to draw straws to see who had to work on that wasn't me I can tell you that

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Don Owner/Technician
Indiana
Don Default
 

Ask yourself: Would I work on/drive this vehicle? If the answer is no than politely let the customer know they need to clean out the car before you can proceed. If they are offended then perhaps they need to seek out a less professional shop for repairs.

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Timothy Diagnostician
Ontario
Timothy Default
 

Had a theft recovery once that was covered in cocaine from the junky who stole it. Made the body shop get the car cleaned befor work was done

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Patrick Diagnostician
Michigan
Patrick Default
 

We don't have to fix everyone's car. I tell them to take it and get professionally cleaned before any of my techs can work on it. This has only happened twice in my 30 year career. Don't sweat loosing a customer, the next customers car to work on will be clean.

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Nick Manager
California
Nick Default
 

We see cars like this from time to time. We had one a few weeks back. We kindly, and privately, let the client know that we were unable to work on her vehicle due to the smell and trash inside the car.

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Andrew Technician
New York
Andrew Default
 

I worked on one that had a small cockroach infestation... You didn't really find that out until you started taking things apart and they scurried out. Small ones, big ones, popping up everywhere. Floor mat, center console, back seat, shifter, underdash... Should have upsold a can or two of RAID at a shop rate of $40/bottle.

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Phillip Diagnostician
Alaska
Phillip Default
 

Personally as a tech for a shop and a mobile guy for myself I been dealing with it this way. I politely talk to the customer privately and tell them they need to clean it out or have it detailed depending on how bad it is. If they refuse or get offended. Well then I just fire them as a customer. I don't say "I'm firing you" but you get the point. If its for the shop I work for I tell the owner I…

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Andrew Technician
New York
Andrew Default
 

Now if someone offered me a shit ton of money to detail it, I would probably would... ...pay someone else a buck to clean the car :-)

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Phillip Diagnostician
Alaska
Phillip Default
 

hahahaha

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Jeff Diagnostician
California
Jeff Default
 

I found a pic of one we had last month , customer complained the passenger window was inop.

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Samantha Manager
California
Samantha Default
 

Goodness! How could they even see the window not working?! Lol. That must have been a fun one to work with.

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Kent Owner/Technician
Tennessee
Kent Default
 

I have refused to work on a couple of cars loaded so full of crap that there was only a drivers space. One car had the entire drivers floorboard covered in brass ammo casings! If a car needs to be accessible for whatever work we are doing, I call the customer and tell them they need to clean the car out.

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Samantha Manager
California
Samantha Default
 

I was going to ask what part of the south you were in, then saw "Tennessee". Must have been rifle season! :D

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Matt Technician
Missouri
Matt Default
 

at the dealership I currently work at, our service writers are prompted to tell the customer on any inside work, that the car must be cleaned by the customer and brought back. We don't work on them when they are a pigsty.

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Martin Instructor
British Columbia
Martin Default
 

It's really simple. Vehicles with interiors that are dirty and packed full of garbage can present a significant health risk that is unacceptable for any person to be required to work on. Service writers should not write a repair order on any vehicle without first doing a walk around and inspection of the vehicle interior, trunk and other areas that need to be accessed. During many years as a…

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Andrew Technician
New York
Andrew Default
 

Hey Martin! I wonder if that was an older vehicle as most modern ones have modules all around the floor and can make for an expensive wash. I saw a Jag sunroof leak do over ten grand. Ad although there is a warning on the MB sprinter vans, people occasionally power wash the module electronics / fuse blocks underneath the driver's seat. Those vehicles don't really need help breaking, the…

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Sam Mobile Technician
Michigan
Sam Default
 

1st one I ever saw was full to the roof on every seat except drivers and it was getting crowded. Tow truck brought it in for a broken tie rod. I explained to the lady that there is no way me or one of my employees is working on it in that condition. She left very embarrassed and I felt bad. She returned a few days later still having a broken tie rod. To my amazement the car was clean. I mean…

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Geoff Diagnostician
Hawaii
Geoff Default
   

As a tech, I refused to get in a car that had the entire console and floorboards covered in cigarette butts once. The service writer ranted at raved at me for several minutes then told everyone else I was a baby. Glad that guy is long gone. Most cars here are pretty filthy, people don't own homes and just aren't in the habit of washing their car. I have a few towels and sheets to cover the…

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Michael Owner/Technician
New Jersey
Michael Default
 

If it's really that bad, we don't work on it.

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Robert Diagnostician
Pennsylvania
Robert Default
 

We have charged extra for the amount of time it takes to move stuff out of the way and put it back. We have also refused to work on cars that were health hazard.

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