following tips should help you along the way:
homework before taking your vehicle in for repairs or
technician must understand thousands of pages of technical
text. Fortunately, your required reading is much less.
- Read the owner's manual
to learn about the vehicle's systems and components.
- Follow the recommended
- Keep a log of all
repairs and service.
think about it, you know your car better than anyone else.
You drive it every day and know how it feels and sounds
when everything is right. So don't ignore its warning
Use all of your senses to inspect your car frequently.
- Unusual sounds, odors,
drips, leaks, smoke, warning lights, gauge readings.
- Changes in
acceleration, engine performance, gas mileage, fluid
- Worn tires, belts,
- Problems in handling,
- Note when the problem
- Is it constant or
- When the vehicle is
cold or after the engine has warmed up?
- At all speeds? Only
under acceleration? During braking? When shifting?
- When did the problem
Professionally run repair establishments have always
recognized the importance of communications in automotive
Once you you are
at the repair establishment, communicate your findings.
Be prepared to describe the
symptoms. (In larger shops you'll probably speak with a
service writer/service manager rather than with the
written list of the symptoms that you can give to the
technician or service manager.
temptation to suggest a specific course of repair. Just as
you would with your physician, tell where it hurts and how
long it's been that way, but let the technician diagnose
and recommend a remedy.
Stay involved. .
. Ask questions.
Ask as many
questions as you need. Do not be embarrassed to request
simple definitions of technical terms.
the service writer or technician to make an on-the-spot
diagnosis. Ask to be called and apprised of the problem,
course of action, and costs before work begins.
leave, be sure you understand all shop policies regarding
labor rates, guarantees, and acceptable methods of
telephone number where you can be called.
National Institute for
Automotive Service Excellence
101 Blue Seal Drive, S.E. Suite 101
Leesburg, Virginia 20175