1. Sleep

    Sleep New Member

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    Vehicle repair garage questions?

    Discussion in 'Research' started by Sleep, Sep 4, 2017.

    I am currently writing a short story during which my characters spend a decent amount of time hiding in a vehicle repair garage (that typically repairs SUVs) shortly after it has been abandoned in the middle of a work day. I like the idea of using background noise to create tension in a specific scene but I have no clue what sort of machinery would give off any kind of sound whilst unattended.

    My specific questions are,
    what sort of machinery is typically present in this environment?
    What sort of machinery could potentially be left switched on if everyone was forced to flee abruptly?
    And what other sorts of sounds could be expected in this environment with no people around?

    I don't intend to use specific machine and electronic names within the story, but they would be helpful in giving me an idea of the ambience of the place. If anyone has any resources or experience relating to this your help would be much appreciated!
     
  2. Wreybies

    Wreybies Thrice Retired Supporter Contributor

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    Pneumatic wrenches (spanners?) (a.k.a. air impact wrenches) are the mainstay of any repair garage. They are the main sound one hears. Also, the compressors that drive them. But they would need to actually be in use to make noise. The hydraulic lifts for the vehicles also have a distinct pff--psh, pff--psh, pff--psh sound they make as the hydraulic fluid drives them, but again, they need to actually be in motion to make that noise.

    A repair garage with no one in it is a silent place.

     
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  3. Sleep

    Sleep New Member

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    Thanks for such an indepth reply. I'm back to square one I guess, haha.
    Perhaps there could be a car idling or some other person there making noise. Either way I'll have to look for a new angle.
    Glad I asked though!
     
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  4. Wreybies

    Wreybies Thrice Retired Supporter Contributor

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    Different angle: A repair garage smells of gasoline and lubricant and old oil. Behind and underneath that smell is a faint sweetness in the air like burnt ice cream. This comes from antifreeze/coolant that's overheated. The ethylene glycol in antifreeze is sweet (though poisonous, so please don't be tempted to taste it).
     
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  5. The Dapper Hooligan

    The Dapper Hooligan (V) ( ;,,;) (v) Contributor

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    If there's no work being done in a garage, there wouldn't be much noise going on. Maybe a radio, rumble of an air conditioner, the hiss of air escaping from pneumatic lines, or the hum of fluorescent lights . Much equipment in shops take a lot of energy to run. So most of the shops I've been in, when people are clearing out they literally just walk over to the breaker panel and throw the switches to everything they can. If your shop has a dynamometer (used to test wheel/engine torque and calibrate speedometers) there might be a car left on test there during a break, but there'd generally be a mechanic around to make sure nothing goes wrong. Other than that. running cars are generally left outside. Ventilation is easier that way.
     
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  6. ddavidv

    ddavidv Senior Member

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    I've worked in auto shops. Typical noises would be:
    1) Air compressor. Some shops will leave these on and they can be quite noisy while pumping up. When the hit the maximum pressure they shut off automatically. The air will bleed down over time so they will start up unexpectedly, which can be useful in a story.
    2) Hissing from leaks in air lines or tools left attached to the hoses.
    3) Large fans in shops without air conditioning. Some hang from the ceiling and generally don't make a lot of noise. Others are in windows or free standing and can sound like a small aircraft -- they move a lot of air.
    4) Furnace kicking on and air rushing if it is cold weather. Most shops are heated by hot air systems and these will also rely on fans.
    5) Some shops also have gas fired heaters that hang from the ceiling. These can make a tic-tic-tic sound before they ignite, then will have metallic heat expansion noises as they heat up.
    6) And in every shop I've been in there has been a radio playing. Actually, several. Each mechanic will have his own. It can create an annoying din of competing music. These would not usually be left on however.
    Hope that helps.
     
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