Communicating with Your Mechanic

Providing clear, comprehensive information to your mechanic can save them diagnostic time, resulting in more efficient vehicle repair, ultimately saving you money.

The more specific and thorough you can be about your vehicle's performance, the more you help the technician zero in on the problem. Here are some pointers on improving communications with your auto technician:

  • Before bringing your car to a repair facility, take notes on your car's symptoms and performance. Include any observations, even if they seem silly or irrelevant.
  • Describe symptoms rather than solutions. Tell the technician what you see, smell, hear and feel. Also, tell them under what driving conditions you experience the problem and how long ago it started.
  • Be precise. For example, "I noticed a rattle under the hood at 40 mph." Refer to the driver's side and passenger side (not the left or right side) of the car.
  • Resist the temptation to use technical jargon unless you are absolutely sure what it means.
  • If your vehicle has been worked on recently, bring copies of previous repair orders or the car's maintenance log.
  • Get a written estimate. Read your repair order before authorizing any work. Look for specifics, if the repair order is vague, ask that it be rewritten.

Good two-way communication shouldn't end when you pick up your car. Arrive in enough time to talk to the technician and test-drive your car so you can bring it back immediately if the problem persists.


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