Sign In | Create an Account | Welcome, . My Account | Logout | Subscribe | Submit News | Home RSS

That dog won’t hunt

June 24, 2015
By Larry DeHays , Fort Myers Beach Bulletin, Fort Myers Beach Observer

We live in a free society, with freedom of speech being one of our most cherished freedoms. We can say almost anything we want, except to threaten the president, which will get you a visit from the Secret Service, or to holler "fire" in a crowded theater, which will get someone trampled. Phoning in bomb threats is frowned on also.

But there's more to it than being legal or illegal. There's a thing known as: "is it helpful, or is it harmful to the situation?" If it's not helpful, and especially if it's harmful, a redneck will tell you, "That dog won't hunt." It means, (to you city slickers), that what was said was useless or wouldn't work. Basically, "That ain't gonna happen."

An example might be if a customer at an auto shop, upon picking up his car says: "Now do you guarantee that nothing else is going to go wrong on my car during the trip I have planned?" The short answer might be: "Nope." The work that was just completed would be guaranteed and serious effort was made to inspect for future failures, because repairing problems is what the business is all about. But, with the future being, well, in the future, and us being, not in the future, we cannot guarantee what might happen in that future. If he really wanted his car thoroughly inspected for possible future breakage, he could have had it disassembled and spread out in a laboratory like in the CSI movies, with every piece x-rayed. That could probably be done for $20,000 or so. Failing that, his demand for a guarantee on work that wasn't done, is a "Dog that won't hunt."

Then there's the similar situation, where an oil leak is repaired, or a "check engine" light is diagnosed and the appropriate repair made to cause it to turn off. "It's leaking oil again and the "check engine" light goes on and off occasionally. You've got to fix it without charging me any more money." The answer is: there are at least 50 places from where an engine can leak oil and usually a leaking engine will be leaking from more than one of them. Standard procedure would be to go after the larger leaks first. Fixing every possible leak would involve removing, disassembling and reassembling the engine, out of the car, on the work bench. Also, there are possibly 50 different failures that can light that "check engine" light. Fixing the one that is causing it now does not mean that another failure won't happen, not related to the first failure. Coincidences do happen, cars continue to fail one thing at a time, or sometimes many things at a time. Trying to blame someone for causing it is a "won't hunt" deal.

I recently had a friend with a leaking radiator. It had to be replaced. We did it for him and, when he picked up the car, it was running more poorly than when he brought it in. The radiator had been spraying water over the engine, soaking the 20-year-old ignition coils and wires, and they were failing. We tried to dry them off for him. It helped a little. He couldn't afford to replace them, the radiator job had drained him. Then, the air conditioning blower motor shorted out from the same previous spray. His attitude was that since it started running worse while it was in our shop, we should fix it for free. That dog won't hunt, even for a friend. Then again, maybe a friend wouldn't try it.

--Larry DeHays is the author of the book "The Car Care World", a compilation of his most popular columns. It is available now through Amazon, Barnes and Noble,, or at the DeHays Automotive office, 17617 Broadway Ave., Fort Myers Beach. He has been an ASE Certified Technician for 37 years and an arbitrator for the Florida Lemon Law for 16 years. For more information go to or



I am looking for:
News, Blogs & Events Web