(NUI) - You know the computer age is here to stay when the average automobile has more computing power than the early Apollo rockets that sent astronauts into outer space. |
Yet despite on-board computers, computerized diagnostic equipment, hand-held engine analyzers and other high-tech marvels, getting good automotive repair and service depends, in part, on old-fashioned communication between technician and customer.
Here are some tips from the nonprofit National Institute for Automotive Service Excellence (ASE) on ways to communicate effectively with repair shops:
Do Your Homework
Do your homework before taking your vehicle in for repairs or service:
* Read the owner's manual to learn about the vehicle's systems and components.
* Follow the recommended service schedules; keep a log of all repairs and service.
Inspect Your Car
Use all of your senses to inspect your car for:
* Unusual sounds, odors, drips, leaks, smoke, warning lights, gauge readings; worn tires, belts, hoses.
* Changes in acceleration, engine performance, gas mileage or fluid levels.
* Problems in handling, braking, steering, vibrations.
Note when the problem occurs:
* When did the problem first start? Is it constant or periodic? When the vehicle is cold or after the engine has warmed up?
* At all speeds? Under acceleration? During braking? When shifting?
At the Shop
Once you are at the repair establishment:
* Be prepared to describe the symptoms; but do not suggest a specific course of repair.
* Do not be embarrassed to ask questions. Ask that technical terms be explained.
* Don't expect an on-the-spot diagnosis, but ask to be apprised of the problem, course of action and costs before work begins.
* Be sure you understand policies regarding diagnostic fees, labor rates, return of old parts, guarantees, etc.
For a copy of ASE's brochure, "How to Communicate for Better Automotive Service," please send a self-addressed, stamped business envelope to: ASE, Communication Brochure, Dept. NU-698, 13505 Dulles Technology Drive, Suite 2, Herndon, VA 20171-3421.
ASE was founded in 1972 as a nonprofit, independent organization dedicated to improving the quality of automotive service and repair through the voluntary testing and certification of automotive technicians.
ASE-certified technicians wear blue-and-white ASE shoulder insignia and carry credentials listing their exact area(s) of certification. Their employers often display the blue-and-white ASE sign. More than 420,000 technicians hold ASE credentials.
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