From a country mechanic…


A dropped socket can run uphill.

7/16ths wrenches have legs.

Measure 3 times; the first two measurements are always different.

Any bolt bin always has one less of the size and length needed to complete the job.

The ratchet is always headed in the wrong direction.

The battery charger unplugs itself.

The first extension cord will always be two feet too short.

The chance of an inappropriate cut is directly proportional to the cost of the piece.

When you think it will take longer to get out the tools than to complete the job, you’re probably wrong.

Dropped screws instantly turn to camouflage.

The odds of dropping a small item is a direct relationship to the cleanliness of the floor.

You will always incorrectly cut the last remaining piece.

All engine compartments have nut, bolt, and washer hiding areas included at no extra cost.

The battery is situated on the side requiring a longer set of jumper cables.

A broken air wrench has little or no impact.

Grease guns are even greasy when they are new.

Freshly welded items always stay warm longer than necessary.

There is a reason that the closest tool is always the hammer.

10 millimeter sockets are the all time “Hide and Seek” champions.

A misplaced tool will always be located once the need has passed.

I’ll agree, EVERY @#@% one of these is true…


Truth… — 38 Comments

  1. Lay three cables on the ground next to each other. Turn around and find they’re tangled into a knot

  2. Generally, after misplacing a tool or something , it will show up shortly after one has run to town and gotten a replacement . That has been my experiance

  3. All true and some machinery is inimical and requires a blood sacrifice from the mechanic!

    • John: Absolutely! This explains my many scars. I’ve told many of my customers this, and they always look at me oddly for a moment. Woe be unto those unbelievers for their time of enlightenment shall be painful.

      • When my wife to be and I started dating, she had an Audi Fox and that car absolutely hated me.
        No repair would succeed until I bled.

  4. A corollary is that as soon as I get to the toolbox, I forget what tool I need and have to go back to where I’m working to remind myself what it is. Funny how this phenomenon happens more frequently as I get older!

  5. The odds of missing or deforming the rivet are directly proportional to the cost and complexity of the materials involved.

    When working on large pieces of equipment, any dropped item will hit the most expensive, most fragile thing as it falls. A dropped feather will shatter a radar assembly.

    • Amen. Drilling out said deformed rivets will inevitably result in oversized, oddly shaped holes, but only in the non-removable structure.

      • p2: I wish I could say you are a pessimist, but sadly, you’re a realist. The hole in the easily replaced structure will be friggin’ perfect.

    • RE: “dropped feather”
      “Atomic-blast-proof” windows on USN aircraft carriers are not “lightly-tapped-with-a-ball-peen-hammer-proof”. Yes, I was sometimes on the bridge. No, I wasn’t involved. Really.

  6. Bolt, nut, and washer hiding areas are in appliances, basements, walls, and almost everywhere something breaks.

    • There’s a door-closing sensor switch inside my clothes dryer, under the drum. It was cheaper, easier, and less likely to require an ER visit to just buy another one than try to retrieve the last…

      Proving that when it comes to replacement parts, two is one, and one is none!

  7. Thanks for the post. All this time I thought it was just me.

    And to the list may I suggest adding that a spare tool is not spare for very long.

  8. All true. I’ve also found wrenches, or sockets, that are not the right size, multiply like rats, and then scamper away before they are actually needed. Screwdrivers are not quite as bad, but mysteriously become damaged beyond use when left unattended.

  9. All- Can’t disagree with anyone! And TXRed, not EVEN going to do one on acft maintenance… Nopity, nope!!! I will just say if your credit cards suddenly stopped working, there was a waveguide leak… sigh

    • Which means it is time for some ivory tower asshole to spout off about not using wave guides anymore, that there is some sort of new transmission line alternative that breaks in a different way.

      It may well be that new tech will mostly replace the wave guide, but I would not count on entirely.

      I can assure you that the academic engineers working on the new tech do not know how to design something so that maintenance and repair won’t be horrible at times.

      I’m pretty sure that whenever an engineer discovers how to design something so that maintenance or repair is /never/ a hassle, they take the secret with them to the grave.

      • “how to design something so that maintenance and repair won’t be horrible at times”

        Design Engineer: For ten cents more per module, we can put an access hole here that will shave off half an hour’s time needed to adjust that solenoid.
        Bean Counter: Nope!
        Service Guy Me: Dammit! Why didn’t they put a hole right there? (I drilled all the modules myself later and saved HOURS of labor)
        Other Service Guy: How’d you adjust that so quickly?
        Me: Heh. Observe and learn, Grasshopper!

        • Engineers (any designer in fact) and Managers should have to turn a wrench and dirty their hands periodically to enlighten themselves on the need for applying ease of use requests.

          My experience has been that the engineers are as guilty of ignoring ease of use as the aforementioned bean counter.
          “New software feature has some cases where it causes worse performance in operation.”
          “Do we have a tool to see when we are in one of these cases?”
          “Yes, but I have to put the module in debug. (i.e. NO).”

  10. Any project requiring a trip to the hardware store will in fact require three trips. One to get the needed part or tool. Two, to pick up something you forgot the first time. Three, to exchange the wrong sized part for the correct part.

    Corollary: any project worth doing will require a trip to the hardware store.

  11. When on the ground working underneath a machine, the tool you need is just out of reach, requiring you to slide out from under to go get it.

    A polarized plug will always be the wrong way around the first time you try to plug it in. (…a USB plug is the same.)

    A tool dropped from the top of the engine compartment will fall through and strike the ground. It will then seek the point of least accessibility.

    Somewhere under that car is a portal into another dimension. Certain tools – 10mm, 1/2 inch or 7/16 sockets or boxed in wrenches – all have an unnatural attraction to that portal.

    After the job is done and you spend the time to clean up and put away all the tools, after you have closed and latched the toolbox, you will find one more tool that you missed.

    An itchy nose is directly proportional to the amount of grease on your hands.

    Murphy’s law, article 10, section 4 states: If you are missing one tool out of a set, no matter how obscure and uncommon, that is the tool you will need for this job.

  12. The last screw holding the water pump to the engine will be the one that shears off!

    The 1/2″ wrench that fell into your engine compartment and didn’t come out the bottom will dislodge on the freeway and find my windshield…

    …Did you ever get the feeling that God is trying to tell us “What; the legs I gave you to get around with weren’t good enough?”

  13. That whole list just makes me happy to know that I’m not the only one…

  14. Yup, should be cast in bronze an enshrined in the National Sears Roebuck Museum Hall of Mechanics (as opposed to the Hall of Appliance Repair).

  15. Farenheit and Celsius scales cross over at about -40.

    Metric and Unified National threads cross over at about M5x0.8 = 10-32.

  16. Funny.

    I am a stickler for NOT having extra tools in a drawer. One set of each is sufficient. I have a full set in my shop trailer and a full set in my garage. The only exceptions I make are tools where sometimes two are needed at once (Two 1/2 inch box end wrenches needed to adjust Harley performance pushrods)

    I also have seven 10mm box end wrenches. I have no idea why.

    • Heresolong: You’d hate my toolbox. At one point I had standard, metric, and Whitworth, IIRC. Lemme tell ya, ‘Merican, German, and Brit engineers do not think alike.

  17. These comments tell me I have found my people!

    This is a no-s#!tter: I’m sitting cross-legged on the non-pitching, not-moving, totally stationary deck. I set down my tweaker (tiny screwdriver for you unfortunate non-tool users). Reach for it 15 seconds later… No one else is around and I haven’t moved. Sigh. Round trip time to the tool crib for a replacement is 15 minutes. I get back and it’s precisely where I set it. Aargh. I understand why every culture has stories of mischievous trolls, imps, sprites, and bogeys.

  18. And don’t trap the working car in the one car garage while you do a quick repair to the other car.
    Now the other car is dead, and you cannot use the working car to get the part your need.

  19. All- Ouch and concur with all! Especially blocking the car, and starting a ‘quick’ repair project on Sunday.

    • The etymology of “quick” says it’s from Latin for “quit now and get a beer- you ain’t gonna get done today”

  20. Sounds like working on a submarine, except it’s a 5/32 Allen wrench, 7/16 socket or combination wrench. Or a “special fastener

    Which end up ina bilge pocket, and none of the parts are magnetic so you can’t fiish with a magnet.

  21. Hoyt’s corollary to Murphy’s Law – the tool or part you drop working on the car will roll to the exact center of the undercarriage. Unless it’s a bell housing bolt – in that case, it will stop on TOP of the transmission.

    Hoyt was the proprietor of Hoyt’s Auto Repair…