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July 25th, 1999 Article
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I would like to touch on a problem that a lot of people have in dealing with their Mechanic's and that is LACK OF INFORMATION.

I don't know how many times I have got to the shop in the morning and there is a key and a note in the drop box for a vehicle parked on the lot. But things get interesting when the note reads something like this: "I am getting some kind of funny noise from the vehicle, can you have it ready by noon?" Signed Jim Smith and no phone number. I hop into the vehicle, take it for a test drive and I don't hear anything unusual. Ok, now is where the guessing game begins. Where is this noise heard from, inside, outside, underneath, or under the hood? When does it occur, slow speed, high speed, hot, cold, rough road, hitting light bumps or whatever.

If you really what to save yourself time and money, don't just drop off your vehicle and think that the Mechanic can just figure it out. Remember that we charge by the hours we work and the more time you spend explaining as much as possible about your problem, the better the chance of a quicker repair. I have already told you about the Woman that brought me a car that she said was making a noise like ice cubes in a blended. Don't be embarrassed by what you think it takes to explain a problem because it will help a lot. Noises are always the worst so before leaving your vehicle for repair, spend as much time as it takes driving with the Mechanic until they can hear the noise that you are hearing. Until they hear the noise, they don't know what you are hearing. Many years ago I had a fellow come into my shop with a problem that he had become totally exasperated with and he said that three Dealers and Four private shops had looked at it and couldn't find anything wrong. I started asking questions and he told me that he only heard this noise after driving for awhile and then turning a corner. He also said that one of the shop managers had driven the car for five days but could not get it to make this noise he was hearing. So, I asked him when was the last time he had heard this noise. He told me that he was heading for Edmonton, pulled into a Restaurant for coffee and that is when he heard the noise. I said OK, what did you have planned for this morning? He looked a little puzzled and I told him that I wanted to redo the same drive but that I wanted him to go with me because I needed to be sure that I was hearing the same noise that he was concerned with. It took a couple of phone calls to reprogram his day but we were soon ready to leave.

We had a very nice drive and in a little over an hour and a half, we were approaching the same restaurant he had visited before. I started to pay attention and as soon as he pulled into the parking lot, there came his growling noise that he was referring to and as he had said, it was a terrible noise. He immediately asked if I knew what would make that kind of noise and if I could fix it, to which I replied "NO PROBLEM". After we drove back to town and the shop, the vehicle was repaired in less time than we had spent going for the three-hour drive. Because I wanted him to be sure the vehicle had been repaired, I told him that I was not going to make him a invoice until he had driven the car for a month. He came back a month later and was happy to pay his bill, with a big tip. He was more than happy to pay for my time spent because it was a lot less than what he had already spent, without getting it fixed. Nobody can fix what they can't find and the owner must spend as much time as possible making sure that the Mechanic that is trying to fix it, hears the noise in question. If one of the other shops had taken the time to do what I did, they could have fixed it too. It was a relatively easy fix and drop me an E-mail if you really what to know what it was.

"TOOT" Rick "The Wrench" - July 25th,1999
Copyright of Rick The Wrench, 1999

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