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Car Repairs

II. Listening Exercises
Listen to the conversation again by pressing the Play Audio button and read along with the conversation. Review the Key Vocabulary and the sample sentences.

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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 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 it.

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.

  • 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.

Vocabulary Activities [Top]

Now, do these exercises to review the vocabulary. Then, return back to the Post-Listening Exercise to use the vocabulary in real conversations.

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