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Customer Detective Work

One might say the most challenging part of being an automotive service technician is diagnosing a problem so it can be fixed. Cars can be so complex these days. There usually could be a number of reasons for any given symptom and that could make it challenging to track down. It can also be frustrating for the vehicle owner because it can take time and money. If it’s not something obvious, it’s easy for the customer to focus on the fixing and not the diagnosing.

Let us introduce you to something we’ll call Customer Detective Work – that is helping your NAPA AutoCare Center technician find clues to what’s wrong.

We start with the detective basics: What, When and Where. Play along with me. You come in and your car is making a funny sound.

Where’s the sound? – Around the right front wheel.

When do you hear the sound? – When I turn and accelerate.

What kind of sound? – Kind of a clunk, clunk sound.

Forwards and back? Right and left?

You see where we’re going. You’re gathering additional information to help the NAPA AutoCare 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.

You can see how that would be more helpful than dropping the car off with a note that says “making a funny noise”.

When you think you need to bring a vehicle in, make some notes about the problem. Rather than just saying “it’s leaking” tell the tech the color of the fluid and approximately where under the car you see the puddle.

Things like the car is sputtering or stalling are often very hard to diagnose because they’re intermittent. They may not happen during a test drive. So, it is a big help for you to describe what’s happening in as much detail as possible.

Your NAPA AutoCare Technician will need to be able to duplicate the problem if possible so he needs to know details, like “It stalls after it’s been driven for about 20 minutes and I go over 50 miles an hour”.

If the tech can experience the problem personally, he’s better able to make a diagnosis and repair. And, then test to see if the repair solved the problem.

Posted March 13th, 2014

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