Auto Repair Problems: Diagnosis Isn’t Always Easy
One of the more frustrating aspects of vehicle maintenance (but a welcomed challenge for our technicians at Lamb’s Tire & Automotive), is diagnosing those quirky, mysterious automotive problems and fixing them before they become serious auto repair issues.
Cars are made up complex systems run through a computer (yes, if you didn’t know, every car has a computer to help it operate) and there could be any number of reasons for any given symptom of faulty operation in your vehicle. In other words, pinpointing subtle, but recognizable, vehicle problems can be challenging. Most frustrating for you, the vehicle owner, is the time and expense to get to the bottom of a problem. If the problem isn’t obvious, most people overlook smaller vehicle issues. Unfortunately, those small issues can quickly turn into massive repair jobs.
How Can You Help?
We’d like to introduce our Austin-area readers to something we’ll call Automotive Customer Detective Work – that is, helping your technician to find clues about what’s wrong. We start with the grade school basics of inquisitive auto repair detective work: What, Where and When.
Play along with us. Let’s say you come in to Lamb’s Tire & Automotive and your car is making a funny sound. The conversation will go something like this:
Q: You hear a sound as you drive, where is it coming from?
A: Around the front left tire.
Q: What kind of sound?
A: A grinding, abrasive noise.
Q: When do you hear the sound?
A: When I brake or turn.
Do you see where we’re going? Lamb’s Tire & Automotive is gathering additional pertinent information to help the technician know where to start. Based on your car and the tech’s experience, he’ll know where to look and can start with the obvious suspects and other automotive diagnostics tests. You can see how that would be more helpful than dropping the car off with a note that says “making a weird noise”!
When you think you need to bring a vehicle in, make some notes about the problem. Rather than just “it’s leaking”, tell the technician approximately where under the car you see the puddle and the color of the fluid. This will help our technicians pinpoint where to begin diagnosing the problem. Things like “my car won’t always start”, or “it sputters around a lot” are often very hard to diagnose based on their infrequency — and the tech doesn’t follow you around to know how you drive and treat your vehicle. These problems may not happen every time you drive, and typically aren’t happening when you actually bring the car in. So, it is a big help for you to describe what’s happening in as much detail as possible.
If traditional diagnostics fail because the problem is not present at all times, your technician at Austin’s Lamb’s Tire & Automotive will need to replicate the problem if possible, so he needs to know as many details as possible, like “it begins to making a clinking and sputtering noise any time I go over 55 miles an hour”.
Once a Lamb’s Automotive tech can experience the problem personally, he’s better able to diagnose and repair the issue, then test the vehicle to ensure that the problem has been resolved.
For expert advice and trusted auto repair services, please visit Lamb’s Tire and Automotive in Austin or any of our other Texas locations…
Until next time!