(The axe wielding lunatic you see at the bottom of the page is an actual parts counter guy at an actual large chain parts store. For obvious reasons, he’s writing under the guise of anonymity. He’s a car guy like you. He’s also a funny bastard that has to deal with an amazing array of customers and situations on a daily basis. He hates asking if your 1969 Chevelle has air conditioning when you’re buying spark plugs, this guy gets it. We’re going to run an ongoing series, written by said axe wielding lunatic called “Unknown Parts Counter Guy”. You’ll see life through his eyes when he’s not wearing a paper bag. This should be an enlightening experience for all of us. – Brian)
1. OPEN MEMORANDUM TO ALL AUTOMOTIVE DESIGNERS:
Stop putting the (expletives deleted) OBD-II port in places that require yoga to get to!
I don’t know what these sick bastards are thinking when they do interior layout design. For the most part it’s straightforward: Seats, steering wheel, controls, gauges, outward visibility, comfort. And to varying degrees of success, they pretty much get it. But when it comes to the OBD-II port, someone dropped the damn ball. It’s not one particular car or model that is on my list. Some are better than others, but others are designed to break my back and still others are built like the port is Waldo, and I have to find his candy-striped xenophobic ass. It’s not amusing. Nobody wants to see me fold into Position 278 from the Karma Sutra to read an O2 sensor code.
2: A locking gas cap is a great investment, especially with gas prices creeping upwards. Prudent thinking suggests that losing the keys to said gas cap would be a major inconvenience. Even more horrifying is that to get the cap off of your car, I have to go grab two great tools: the big effin’ flathead screwdriver and the big effin’ hammer. I bet that won’t make you nervous.
3. Just because you know your car very well does not mean you get to berate me as I try to help you.
Yes, I completely understand how having the right wheel cylinder for a ’68 Cutlass is important. I will search high and low to find you one that will do the job. But if you are expecting date coded, perfect shade of gold-ish metal on your wheel cylinder, I’m gonna suggest that you jam the sucker so far up your ass that the only way your Olds is going to stop is by doing a kegel.
4. Try to get certain basic maintenance items out of the way before the weather report simply calls for “cloudy with a chance of Acts of God”. While I’m glad to help anyone in need who asks, nothing sucks worse than a downpour and flooding while I’m replacing the foglight in your Sienna. Nothing. And your thanks, while I’m sure it’s sincere at the time, sounds so sarcastic that I’m thinking of electrifying the standing water with the open socket.
5. For you Ford Truck owners: There is officially NO 1998 Super Duty. Due to a strike, the model year is essentially skipped as far as parts go. This is a personal pet peeve right now…do your parts guy a favor and find out what date your Super Duty was built. That will greatly aid in reducing the times you realize the damn hub bearings won’t fit.
6. For all that is holy…how hard is it to clean your damn car out?! I’m not bothered if you’ve got a soda in the cupholder or the mail scattered across the seat. I’m bothered when I don’t know if that’s mud, the remains of a chocolate milkshake or little Timmy’s “Uh-Oh!” on the floor. Judging by the smell, I’m picking Option #3. Petrified French fries, an ash tray that hasn’t been emptied since 1994 and spit bottles almost guarantee that I’m gonna send the semi-retarded counter girl out instead.
6. Speaking of…don’t hit on the counter girl at your parts store. You’re dealing with one of three types:
A: Married with children. Lots of them.
C: She’s more of a man than you’ll ever be.
I got to see this recently as a young dude tried to sweet-talk his way to a date with our Special-Ed over a K&N cold air intake. So romantic…made me wanna puke. At least she didn’t go for it…I sold the guy the intake. On the box, in large Sharpie, was “Nice Try, but NO. :)”
7. For you truckers: find your long-term worker and make a business relationship with them. This way you’ll have an easier time getting the remainder of the workers to understand what the hell you’re asking for. Also understand that we aren’t exactly the best source of parts for you. We’ll try; some places are better than others, but just go in knowing. 10-4, good buddy.
8. Ford Focus owners…oh, do I have some bad news for you. To replace your cabin air filter system requires (wait for it…) $197. This number might vary slightly from store to store, but the gist of it is that you have to replace the entire housing assembly in order to replace the filter. Insert your other names for the Focus here…
9. Adult temper tantrums. Look, I’m sorry the warranty on your battery is finally up. It sucks. I get it. So will you quit bitching at me like I have the power to do something? I don’t give a flying rat’s ass if your Camaro won’t start. Nor do I care that you hand-sewed the leather into your seats or changed your dash lighting to blue LED’s on a red car. All I know is that your history shows that you’ve bought alternators and batteries at such a pace that I’m shocked you didn’t get a Christmas card from ACDelco this year. Stomp your feet, yell “I’m never shopping here again!” You wanna know what it sounds like to me? “I HATE YOU! I WANT TRANSFORMER!” I HATE YOU!” Give me a break.
10. I’m fine if you are unsure of what you need. I know that 99% of the population doesn’t have the near-neurotic automotive focus that I have. But give me something! The old lady who had a steering noise in her Sebring could at least tell me when the noise was happening and offered to repeat it in person. The woman who followed her with the RAV4 with the wiper arms tangled (no kidding…) just shrugged and said that the wiper blades she had bought the night prior must’ve been defective. (Loose mounting nut on the driver’s side arm caused that.)