Auto Mechanic

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Part 1: Listen and Read: Listen about auto mechanics and car repairs, answer the questions, and then read along with the audio recording.

My car was acting up recently and wasn’t running right, so I took it to a mechanic to have it checked. Everytime I tried to start the car, the engine would turn over for a second or two and then die. The mechanic pulled the car into his garage to look things over. The mechanic popped the hood, checked to see if all the hoses and belts were in working order, and then tested the car battery and battery cables. After taking a look at things for a few minutes and trying to get the car going, the mechanic diagnosed the problem as a bad alternator. He said he could fix the problem by replacing the alternator with a new ($130) or a rebuilt alternator ($80). Just diagnosing the problem cost $65, and the labor was $50. I asked the mechanic to go ahead and do the repairs, and he said that there was a 30-day warranty on parts and labor. Some mechanics might overcharge you for repairs, but the mechanic I go to is fair and does great work.

Part 2Discussion

What are some common problems people have with their cars that require a professional mechanic to fix? If you had a problem with your car, would you rather take it to a friend who fixes cars or a professional auto mechanic? Explain your reasons.

Part 3: Role Play

Your car breaks down on a lonely road, and while you’re trying to figure out the problem, a man from a repair shop appears from nowhere and offers to tow your car to his shop and fix it . . . for a “price.” However, to your surprise, the job cost you more than $2,000! Now, tell a friend your story and what the man did to your car and what he promised you.

Part 4: Online Investigation

Suppose your car needs a tune-up to make it run better. Check online to find out how much this service would cost. Compare two or more auto mechanics to determine the price of the service and years in business. Do you notice any claims by the auto service that might question, including bias?

Online Listening Practice (from