Experiencing issues with your vehicle (big or small) can be so frustrating. They can also be difficult to explain. With that in mind, we put together some guidelines on how best to discuss these issues with your mechanic, so we can help get you back on the road more quickly.
What details do we need?
- When does it happen?
Being aware of a timeline for when your issues began (or when they occur), can give us important clues as to what is going wrong with your vehicle.
Did they begin after some event, like a fender bender or driving over a large pothole? After your battery died? After you got gas?
It is also important to pay attention to when the issues occur. Does it only happen right when you start your car or after you have driven for a while? Does it occur when it is hot or cold? When it is raining? After you’ve been parked for five minutes?
How long has your car been exhibiting these issues?
- What else is/was happening?
In addition to the timeline, we need to know if other abnormalities or anomalies were present when your issues began. For example, did other lights come on (or go off) around the same time? Have there been any changes with the electronic components of your vehicle? What about your A/C or heater?
- What sounds is it making?
When your vehicle starts having problems, the strange sounds it is making can be an owner’s first and most obvious clue that something is not quite right. However, it often seems like those sounds stop once you bring it into the shop for diagnosis and repair.
If this occurs, being able to describe those sounds to your mechanic is important (and often humorous).
If you are unaware of any sounds, but you know something is wrong, be sure to turn your radio down and listen for unusual sounds.
- What other work has been done on your vehicle?
Did you bring your vehicle to another shop before coming to us? What repairs did they do? What other repairs has it had in the past?
Did you buy your vehicle used? What do you know about its history?
Why do we need these details?
Diagnosing (and repairing) a vehicle is a lot like solving a mystery. The more clues we are given, the closer we are to solving that mystery. The more information we are given, the easier it is to diagnose and repair your vehicle.
Additionally, be wary of self-diagnosing your vehicle. We know that there is a ton of information available online, but that does not mean it is necessarily accurate. If you come in stating what the problem is, rather than the symptoms your vehicle is exhibiting, it can cause a mechanic to look for confirmation of that problem instead of exploring alternate issues. This can lead to the true issue being missed initially, adding to the cost and length of repairs in the long run.
To sum it up…
We know you are frustrated, but we are here to help. The more information you can give us on when your vehicle’s issues began and what symptoms it is exhibiting, the faster we can get you back on the road!