I am no stranger to the woes of the dreaded Prior Owner, and try to do my best to consider that there is always the possibility that I may pass along my ham- handedness to some other unsuspecting car fanatic. That person could likely use language to describe me that I now use to describe the last person who messed with the brakes of my new project car. So, I really TRY to do a good job, the right thing, and my best to make sure my work could at least be considered forward progress.
I’m deep into refreshing a set of calipers on my old Lotus Elan, and am using all the language my mother told me not to, because somebody used a rattle can to spray the entire brake assembly silver. Pads, springs, pins, the works. Effectively, they glued the whole things together, and also forgot to change the brake fluid, so the pistons are frozen solid.
I don’t think it was the previous owner, an elderly gentleman who I believe loved the car but couldn’t work on it himself. Rather, I suspect it was a “specialty shop” he had the misfortune of taking it to, spending good money on a “brake job” and returning home with the hot mess I’m now trying to clean up.
To that shop, that technician who shook the can ‘till the BB stopped rattling and sprayed the entire contents on my calipers, Shame On You. I hope, no, I KNOW that car Karma will catch up to you.
Please don’t be That Guy. I promise I will do my best for you, Next Caretaker, whoever you may be.
I feel the same way, as I have been the recipient of a car with bad repair jobs, and I have botched work myself on cars I have sold to others. Luckily I can sleep at night because I make it clear to all interested buyers of what I know is wrong with a car, and I have a decent record of fixing OPM (other people's mistakes).
I just realized that I wrote my last post without even considering what I found yesterday: the source of my graphic equalizer and (rear mounted) stereo amplifier's inability to turn on was because some genius decided to cut the power trigger wire, attempt to splice it into something else, and then just throw both ends back under the carpet when the intended result wasn't achieved.
Sometimes I really, really wonder about people.
I agree, it does happen a lot, though with old cars you have to expect some of it going in. Usually, I’m scratching my head about them, but I felt really bad this time for the last owner getting taken on a job as important as brakes.
Like you, I try to be as forward as I can when selling. Getting to know a ‘New to You’ car includes finding all the little surprises like cut wires. It’s just part of the discovery phase, but I’ll bet there are some entertaining examples out there.
People should expect this, as you mentioned, but I am dumbfounded at how many people I speak to would never even consider these issues and are surprised when I tell them stories like this. I normally tell them that if you don't want to learn to DIY or don't want to pour thousands (at least) into an older vehicle with no service history and no feedback from the seller, they should stick to buying 0-5 year old vehicles sold with clean Carfax reports. Some people understand and want to dig deeper into the details of classic/older car ownership, but most do not.