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Booking a car in .. what you need to say ...


21 Mar 2015
Information is key in my job .. i literally get a job card with my instructions on it .. if it says rattle from rear ill drive the car approx 5 miles on country roads .. if i can't hear a noise i can't do anything .. i'll put the car on a ramp and check for play in the suspension but that's about all i can do .

Job card back to service advisor with NFF .. No Fault Found .

I then get on with my next job .. service advisor phones customer .. might take several attempts but an hour later im told .. yup when pulling away on a full left lock i get this rattle ..

Back to me but im on another job now so it has to wait .. it's a one day job .. it still has to wait ... i'm on another job now .

Info like this at the beginning and i know what to do to replicate the noise .. it helps me a huge amount ..

If it helps me find a fault then it helps you guys .. it's cheaper as i spent less time diagnosing something like this .

In short .. explain a fault in detail .. war and peace please .. if you are happy to do so in these difficult times then go for a drive with a mechanic ( all garages should be happy to do this ) and point out the noise and how you get it to happen to the mechanic ..

It's often i will also say .. ok you have a noise from the diag arms and point that out .. say thats the top mount strut on the n/s but the noise you are hearing will either be this .. at X amount or it's going to take me a while so will cost you ..

A simple drive with a mechanic will tell you a huge amount about your car .

Excellent stuff .. info .. its key to a cheaper bill .

Now then .. if you have worked on your car and perhaps done something wrong .. not telling us due to possible embarrassment just means the bill is going to be higher .. i'll work out the fault in the end but induced faults are one of the hardest to find .. i know the normal things that fail on a car .. induced faults and not so ..

Soooo ... if you have reverse jump started a battery .. tell us ..

We really don't care about what you have done but we know exactly what to look for damage wise if you do .. don't tell us and we have to work it out the hard way .. i guarantee you that's at least 2 hours of my time to figure out something like this ....

You Will be paying the £200 labour cost .

Trust me when i say .. i don't care What you have done .. my job is to fix a car and that's it ..

I've seen cars jump started from a bus which has a 24 volt system .. i've seen batterys reverse charged causing an opposite battery charge which is a constant reverse jump start basically .. and of course i've seen reverse jump started cars ..

Lets face it .. X2 black leads on the battery at night .. it's not exactly hard is it !!

Certain break down companies have also made this mistake ..

On here i often answer a post .. it goes back and forth a bit and then the OP might say .. btw .. it's nothing really to do with the issue but ..

Its at that point i and everyone else that's been trying to figure out the fault have the final piece of the puzzle that we have been struggling with for an answer as to the fault you have .

The more info the better again .

A running fault .. a drive fault .. its all the same .. explain in detail what the issue is ..

I currently have a car that has a fault for 30 seconds once every 3 days to fix ..

Hence if i have war and peace info i have half a chance at finding it .. and this started out as a totally separate fault i might add so its back in the workshop after 2 weeks for this " new bit of info "

I could literally go on for pages about things i've ended up finding after hours of work when a bit more info would have helped ..

No info .. big bill .. it's common sense really and i'm posting this as we are at the point of putting a huge sign in the office stating just this due to the recent rush of jobs like this .

very last point .. a noise .. like here if you can do a video recording of it .. bloody brilliant .. email it and we get to diagnose before the car even gets to us .. bear in mind every mechanic will have a listen and pool info ..

Best way ever !!!!

Contentious post .. possibly .. will it save you money .. of course .

Will owners do it .. probably not but i can only say the issues i see on a daily basis .. the rest is upto you lot .
A useful post I'm sure most of us will appreciate. As you say it may well help save some ££££'s

My poor old s2000 is going up for quite a few issues (two of which are random noises!!!) so I'll make sure to take your advice!
Great post. I get the same issues all the time in my line of work.
I feel that out of all the posts i've done here to help out ...

This is probably the best one to help people save money.

Alex gets the same issues so it stands to reason to use this advice regardless of the type of company .

Email a video or go for a drive with a mechanic .. trust me when i say a mechanic driving your cars is actually the best part of a service !!
Same with my work (automotive data loggers) The vague description of 'it doesn't work properly' is not as useful as 'the rpm input doesn't work over 3k rpm, please see this data file and video to see the problem'. The more info the better.

I love small garages that are owner operated. You talk directly to the person that is going to work on your car.

Just get a passenger to video on their phone. Records the noise, engine rpm etc and you can add a commentary to explain other conditions ie gear selected, braking etc.

That's just so true, the more information you provide the more chance of finding the problem. I do find the camera on the phone is super helpful. I've had a boiler problem which is intermittent, so I've waited for it to happen again and taken a video including sound and sent it to the heating engineer. Straight away he now knows the problem. It had previously thrown up a daily code but they can be so generic and misleading so the video has helped to pin it down.

Caveat :
He's too busy to come back for at least a week so still no boiler 😀
But at least I know what's wrong with it.
Agree to a point, however i have seen many times where the customer has given chapter & verse explanation of the issue/fault & the service advisor has simply written "Rattle from N/S" on the job card.

My point is, whilst i think we all appreciate all you contribute on here & the wealth of knowledge you so generously share with us, sometimes on this particular subject those on the other side of the desk don't help... (please note i refer to service advisors rather than techs)

In my own humble experience, the suggestion of taking a drive with a tech at a main dealer is met with astonishment and 67945 reasons why that cant happen, at independents less so but still is dealt with as a bit of an inconvenience.

It would be fair for main dealers with a labour charge of £200 per hour to recognise that some/many customers time is equally valuable.

Real life personal example:

My car is sluggish to start, i book an appointment, and suggest it will be either battery, starter motor or alternator, please have all 3 in stock for the booking. Yes sir will do we can do that without issue or penalty.

I take the car in & a battery is diagnosed. No problem says i, please go ahead, you have one here....

err, no we dont.


We didn't order one.

So now i have a car i know will fail, no alternative transport & a service advisor who really doesnt give a 5hit, this means a repeat visit for me once they have the battery.

Do i feel like invoicing them £200 per hour for my time? Yes.

Will i buy or use that dealer again? No.
I Totally get what you are saying .. i've worked for an OPC for over 10 years and now at an INDY for the last 7 ...

My old OPC and they weren't too bad .. you could drive the car with a tech if needed but times move on and all OPC,s are indeed different ..

For a service advisor to listen to your description then write rattle from rear is unforgivable and not an OPC i would suggest using again .

I've lost count of the number of times i've had a similar description on a job card .. i don't really have a chance in hell of finding the issue to be honest .. many a time i've gone No Fault Found after a road test .. talk to customer and then later i find out its at 3 mph on a left lock for example ... i then test again and have a chance ..

Hence the more info at the beginning and the quicker i can identify the issue ..

If a service advisor won't write that down when told though .. back to my .. don't use them as they are useless im afraid .

I treat all INDYS as working like mine does .. i've learnt from here that we are not all the same but i can only advise what i can advise and hope it helps .

That's basically what this post is about .. if the correct info can be gotten to the mechanic then it will be cheaper .

As for having parts in stock but not actually .. sigh .. at times i weep for my trade and feel sorry trying to stick up for them .. it's not deserved .

Not long till i retire from this trade .. kinda looking forward to it :D
Asking for a mate here, but he's got a rash..... where best to send the vid please? :lol:
DeMort, if all in the service industry were as professional as you and had the same attitude life would be much better!

Thank you for your posting this, and for your continued help to us on here, I think I speak for all when I say we really do appreciate it. :thumbs:
You have my utmost empathy Iain (deMort), which is why I always try to give as much info as possible but cliffbase does have a point, about SA's not always writing down the salient points.

For the past 10 years or so, I've taken to preparing my own 'job card', which I pass on to the SA, with the work I'd like completed, any fault related background for the Technician and what I'm expecting to pay (based off my own preliminary investigations) - which prompts an early discussion, should any clarification be needed.

It may take a small amount of my time up front but as I live 3 hours from my preferred dealer, the aim is to prevent a return trip for the same work, if at all possible.

Sometimes you can't anticipate whether a part will be needed (or in stock) but most times that sheet of A4 helps no end.
Mark you have just made a great point .. i occasionally have customer notes left on the passenger seat or in the job card .. also emails printed out at times ..

I think the written note is the best idea and either give it to the service advisor or leave it on the passenger seat .. a box of beers on the passenger seat wouldn't go amiss either :D

Strongbow in my case !!!

Indys and the SA would certainly put this note in the job card for the mechanic .. OPC and i can't say but i would expect they would .. saves the lazy b$&^$&ds writing anything down !

Either way .. war and peace for the mechanic and we have a decent chance of finding a fault and far quicker .
Excellent point, I had the same thing in the heating industry. Customer has a go at a bit of pipework or does not tell the full story of the issues etc. Doesn't hold their hand up to having a go and an hour or two later you come across the issue !!

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