|I. Pre-Listening Exercises [Top]|
What are some common car problems that require special maintenance or repair?
HELPFUL TIP: Not all mechanics are the same, so shop around for a reputable company that can repair your car. Asking friends about the places they take their cars can be a good place to start.
|II. Listening Exercises [Top]|
Listen to the conversation by pressing the “Play Audio” button and answer the questions. Press the “Final Score” button to check your quiz.
Mechanic: What can we do for you today?
Car Owner: Uh, hi. Yes, I’m having a problem with my car, and it doesn’t seem to run right. I mean every time I start it up, the engine runs for a minute or so, sputters like it isn’t getting enough gas, and then dies.
Mechanic: Hmmm. Okay. Let’s open the hood, and let’s take a look . . . Okay, start her up.
[Engine starting . . .]
Okay, Okay. Shut her off. Hmmm. [So . . .] Let me look at the book here . . . [It] sounds like a possible clogged fuel line, a dirty carburetor, bad alternator, or even a weak battery.
Car Owner: So, which one is it?
Mechanic: Uhh. Difficult to say. Let me try this . . . Uh, alright . . . You need to talk to the mechanic.
Car Owner: The mechanic! So, who are you?
Mechanic: Well, I’m the assistant, and I’ve only been here on the job for two days.
Car Owner: So, why didn’t you tell me that in the first place? I mean, I wouldn’t have wasted all this time!
Mechanic: You didn’t ask.
Car Owner: Okay, so how much is it going to cost?
Mechanic: Ah. Difficult to say. [That’s what you said about the last thing!] Are you a local or from out of town?
Car Owner: I’m just passing through, and this is the only place for miles. [Yeah, that’s right.] Man, can’t you see my license plate? [Sure did!]
Mechanic: Okay. The out-of-town rate. Let’s see. Okay, here we go. If it’s a fuel line, that’ll be $100 . . . No, no, That’s the local rate. Here, $200 for the pre-screening check, $150 for parts, plus or minus $100, and $75 an hour for labor. Oh, oh yeah. Today’s a holiday, so labor is actually $50 more per hour.
Car Owner: Huh? Those prices are outrageous, and what holiday is it today?
Mechanic: Oh, it’s the local pumpkin festival.
Car Owner: Ah, come on. I can’t believe this. Of all my luck, my car breaks down in an out-of-the-way town [That’s right.], and it’ll cost an arm and a leg to get my car fixed.
Mechanic: Ah, we’ll take care of you. Just bring the car back on Tuesday so Mike, our mechanic, can take a look at your car.
Car Owner: Why not today? It’s only 11:00 a.m.!
Mechanic: Ahh, we close at 11:30 a.m. on holidays, and we’re closed tomorrow and Sunday, and we’re closed the following day as well.
Car Owner: I can’t wait that long! I need my car repaired now.
Mechanic: Well, next week is the best we can do, but you can talk to Mike at the Pumpkin Festival.This town will grow on you. [Ah, man!].
|Key Vocabulary [Top]|
- sputter (verb): make consecutive explosive noises
– My car tends to sputter a lot in cold weather when I start it up.
- be clogged (verb): be stopped up
– The car’s air filter is probably so clogged with dirt that it doesn’t run right.
- carburetor (noun): part of the engine that mixes air with gasoline vapor before combustion
– The carburetor needs to be fixed or replaced.
- alternator (noun): a generator that produces electrical current
– There must be a problem with the alternator in my old truck.
- outrageous (adjective): very expensive
– The cost of repairing the old car would have been outrageous, so that I decided to buy a new one instead.
- out-of-the-way (adjective): remote or far from populated areas
– We took a trip to an out-of-the-way ghost town during our vacation.
- cost an arm and a leg (idiom): be very expensive, outrageous
– It cost me an arm and a leg to fix the damage to my sports car.