How to explain car troubles to a mechanic

If you’re experiencing a problem with your car, the motor technician will need as much information as possible to properly diagnose and hopefully repair the problem. You don’t have to diagnose the problem yourself, but no one knows your vehicle better than you do, so it’s important to know how to clearly communicate car troubles you’re experiencing.

If you haven’t seen the hilarious TikTok video of a young woman explaining her car problems to a mechanic, watch it here. It’s gone viral because so many of us can relate! Don’t worry, MotorHappy has your back. Keep reading for tips on how to explain car problems to your mechanic.

The mechanic will want to know when you first noticed the issue, as well as how often the problem occurs. Show your vehicle technician the service history and let them know of any other major problems your car has had in the past.

To elaboratively describe the car problem to your mechanic, use the senses of sight, sound, smell, and touch.

  • Sight: Describe the problem visually. For example, is there any exhaust smoke and if so, what colour was the smoke.
  • Sound: Some descriptive words to consider include knocking, clucking, squealing, grinding, thumping, clicking, rattling.
  • Smell: Did you notice any weird odours? Some odours that could be problematic include burning rubber, fumes, sweet pungent, rotten egg.
  • Touch: What does the problem feel like? There might be sluggish acceleration, excessive vibration, difficulty igniting.

It helps to explain the problem in simple language, however sometimes it is necessary to add technical terms to your description so that the mechanic would understand it better. 

Some of the common terms you can use are:

  • Wander: Car drifts on either side
  • Surge: Unexpected change in engine’s speed
  • Stall: Engine stumbling
  • Rough idle: Strong vibrations in the car when it is not in motion
  • Fast idle: Engine working faster than usual
  • Ride: Motion of car on uneven lands
  • Pull: Car drifting on the application of brakes or accelerator
  • Misfire: Delay in functioning when engine is not getting fuel properly
  • Backfire: Engine’s sound like a gunshot
  • Knocking: Fast rattling when car moves
  • Hesitation: Delay in the operation when car accelerates
  • Handling: Car’s performance on the curves
  • Bucking: Unsteady movements of car when switching gears
  • Brake grab: Excessive and abrupt reaction of brakes
  • Brake fade: Brakes require more pressure than normal
  • Brake drag: Brake pads not coming back on their position after application

Cars need regular maintenance to help keep them in good working order. When you service your car regularly, potential problems can be identified and repaired before they become major problems. This is because if one car part fails, it could impact how the whole car runs.

Other important reasons to regularly service your car:

  • Improve the lifespan of your car
  • Improve resale value
  • Keeps important safety components like cooling system, brakes, tyres, suspension, etc. working smoothly
  • Saves you money in the long run, because minor issues are addressed before they become major issues
  • Better for the environment

Many people skip essential car services for two main reasons: They can’t afford the service, or they forget. With a Service Plan through MotorHappy, these issues are addressed. Easy, fixed monthly payments enable you to budget every month for services, and you are reminded when services are to be scheduled. It takes 60 seconds to get an online quote. Click here to get started.

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