How to Speak With a Mechanic

Calling a mechanic should not be a frustrating or hard experience. You should feel comfortable if you know and trust your mechanic. Knowing what to tell your mechanic and how to communicate the key insights you have can make a difference in the outcome of any service call.

Even if you do not know a lot about your vehicle or have no idea what is not working the way it should, that is okay. As long as you know what and how to communicate what you do know, your mechanic will understand the steps to take to determine what is happening with your car.

Regular Maintenance Is Important

One of the foundations of success when it comes to managing your vehicle’s needs is staying on a routine maintenance schedule. This ensures your mechanic is able to maintain your vehicle well. It also means they can often spot problems sooner and resolve them at a lower cost to you. Be sure to talk to your mechanic about how often your car should come in for things like oil changes, tire rotation, and engine inspections.

Communicate the Basics Properly

Your next step is to know how to communicate the basics with your mechanic. You should have this information written down and stored in your vehicle’s glove box so you can access it. To provide you with proper service, your mechanic needs some specific information. This includes:

  • The make of your vehicle (Ford, Chevy, Jeep)
  • The model of your car (Explorer, Blazer, Cherokee)
  • The year of your vehicle
  • Your vehicle identification number, called the “VIN”

You can find all these details on your car’s title. If you do not know the VIN, you can find it on the door jamb of the driver’s side door. If you do not see it there, check the edge of the door itself or even the lower, driver’s side corner of your windshield. Stand outside your car on the driver’s side near the mirror. Look in the lower, right-hand corner – there is a small plate there with the VIN. It is 17 digits long and allows your mechanic to look up all the basic details and history of your vehicle.

Communicating What Is Wrong With Your Car

It is also important for you to communicate with your mechanic whenever you notice any change in the way your vehicle sounds or operates. You may not know what is happening, but you can describe what is different. There are some common car repairs you can help detect.

The following are some examples of sounds that can help your mechanic find what the underlying problem is and fix it quickly:

  • Is your car’s engine loud? Does it seem to make more noise than it used to?
  • Do you hear a clicking when you turn the key?
  • Are there squeals when you make a turn or apply the brake?
  • Do you hear grinding that sounds like metal-on-metal?
  • Are there knocks coming from the engine compartment?

Each one of these describes a different type of problem your vehicle may have. And, as in all cases, you need to be aggressive in determining what those sounds mean. Describe what you hear as far as what it sounds like and where it is coming from.

Alternately, do you feel like the car is operating differently? Here are some examples:

  • Is there more vibration coming from your car than before?
  • Do you feel like it is harder to step on the brake or stop?
  • Does the steering wheel just feel “off” or move more than it used to?
  • Do you have to apply the gas more to get your car up to speed?
  • Are there jerky movements?

Again, each one of these is important to the mechanic. A jerking movement may be an issue with your transmission. However, if your car seems to be rough when you drive, that could be coming from the engine.

You will also want to look at the area under and around your car for visual indicators, like puddles. It is sometimes nothing to worry about if you see this after you pull out of the driveway, but it is still good to let your mechanic know. Some key things to tell them include:

  • Any puddles of fluid under the car
  • The location of the puddle
  • Drips that seem to come from your car as you are driving
  • The color of the fluids
  • Any dampness or moisture inside of the car

Puddles may be nothing more than the air conditioning’s condensation. However, if they are green, brown, or any other color, you might have a leak. It is important to take care of all leaks as soon as you notice them, since they can lead to damage in your engine, gas lines, or other major systems.

Finally, make sure to communicate what your car is telling you. Your vehicle, especially if it is a newer model, can share a lot of important information about what is wrong through warning messages. You may notice:

  • Text-based messages on the interior display describing what is wrong
  • The check engine light illuminating
  • Sounds like consistent or intermittent beeps

Be sure to communicate any changes you notice with your mechanic. When you do, he or she can offer solutions to get it repaired faster – and that often means with less cost to you.

At Borst Automotive, we are here to help you. Find the shop closest to you and make an appointment on our website: www.borstautomotive.com

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