Top 20 Signs You Should Avoid a Garage

Ever walked into a mechanic's garage and caught a glimpse of something that made you want to turn tail and flee, even if every light on your dashboard were flashing and the nearest alternative was 50 miles down a dark, lonely highway? Based on the looks we see on our customers, it happens a lot.

It could be worse, though. In fact, it could be much, much worse. Which brings us to our new Top 10 list.

What's the absolutely worst thing you could imagine seeing when you bring your car in for service? Here are our deepest fears. There are so many, in fact, the Top 10 list grew to twice that size.

Mind you, our tongues are firmly planted in our cheeks. We've yet to see a butler running a lift. But should that day arrive … at least we'll be ready!

What's on your list? Let us know!

Tom and Ray Magliozzi

Click and Clack, the Tappet Brothers

P.S. Do you really need to know about that dealership or garage down the street? Check out dealer reviews at Cars.com or Car Talk's Mechanics Files.

  • 20. When you ask him if he test-drove your car, he sheepishly says, "Can't,"… and he points to his ankle bracelet.
  • 19. His toolbox says Fisher-Price on it.
  • 18. You tell him you have a Toyota, and he says, "I hate German cars!"
  • 17. His waiting room is filled with old copies of Swindler magazine.
  • 16. He's oddly fascinated by repeatedly opening and closing your car's sunroof.
  • 15. Instead of a girlie tool calendar, his features bond traders from Goldman Sachs.
  • 14. The shop bathroom has an attendant who offers towels and mouthwash.
  • 13. Before giving you an estimate, he checks the price of first-class airfare to Cabo San Lucas.
  • 12. Two of his three repair bays have been cordoned off with crime-scene tape.
  • 11. When you ask if he can take care of an irritating squeal, he says, "Sure, where do I find the guy?"
  • 10. When he gives you change, the ink on the $20 bills is still damp.
  • 9. His office is a small trailer attached to a constantly idling pickup truck.
  • 8. When you ask to see the boss, you're asked if you're his parole officer.
  • 7. Singed eyebrows, hinting at frequent garage explosions.
  • 6. You notice a sign for employees that reads, "Remember to clean out change cup before returning car to customers."
  • 5. There's a pawn shop next door, under the same ownership.
  • 4. You go to use the bathroom and notice copies of "Auto Repair for Dummies" and "Auto Repair for Complete Dummies." The "Auto Repair for Dummies" hasn't been touched, and "Auto Repair for Complete Dummies" is dog-eared.
  • 3. He has a butler to work the lift.
  • 2. Mailing labels on the older magazines in his waiting room are addressed to a block and cell number.
  • 1. He keeps walking around, mumbling to himself, "Righty tighty, lefty loosey."
© Cars.com 04/30/2013