Monday Jun 04 2012
Is mechanic responsible for critter eviction?
By: Tom and Ray Magliozzi
Click and Clack column
Dear Tom and Ray, I took my van in for an oil change, wiper blades and general inspection. When the hood was raised, I discovered that some animal, probably a squirrel, had built a large nest next to the engine. Dried leaves, weeds, grass and stems sat next to the pulleys and belts. The mechanic completed the service and suggested that the brake and transmission fluids also should be changed and that I needed a new battery and tires. I opted to wait until a later time. When I got the van home, I saw that all of the nesting material was still there. I would think that a decent mechanic would have taken the two minutes necessary to remove the foreign materials! Am I mistaken in expecting that much help? ? Sam TOM: No, you?re not mistaken, Sam. He should have removed the nest. We put on a pair of gloves or get out the Shop-Vac and do it all the time for our customers. RAY: I suppose he may have been afraid to remove it. He may fear contracting hantavirus. Or he may have been opposed to removing it on humane grounds. He may believe that it?s inappropriate to foreclose on a mouse?s house without due process of law. TOM: But even in that case, it would have been decent of him to let you know that he didn?t remove it. Because someone should remove it. After all, twigs can get wedged between a drive belt and a pulley, and knock off a belt or get caught in your fan blower. Or, in a worst-case scenario, dried leaves and grasses can catch fire. RAY: Of course, since you saw it there, too, you could simply have asked him if he would mind removing it for you, rather than assuming he would. And then you could have thanked him for it and everybody would have been happy. TOM: After all, you did pay for an oil and filter change, not an oil and filter change, plus vermin removal. RAY: It?s something we do for customers, Sam. But since this guy didn?t do it for you, you need to remove it yourself or find someone who will. And by the way, if you can see nesting materials in the engine, there?s probably more inside the air-filter housing so be sure to clean that out, too.