We are all familiar with the “mechanic scenario”. Your car has finally caused enough trouble you take it to the shop. You hand over your keys with a hope and a prayer that they will be able to fix your car without breaking your wallet. Yet you have no idea how to explain what is wrong.
If you are the “non-mechanical” type, here are a few things you can do with simple observations to help maintain your car. With your five senses (and a little common sense) you can get an idea of what is wrong with your car before you bring it in. And have basic knowledge to understand how to explain it to your mechanic.
Sight – Sight is probably the easiest sense to integrate. You already use this sense to tell you when your car needs gas or when one of the dash lights comes on. In addition to these simple steps, as you walk to your car, look to see if anything is hanging from the undercarriage. Plastic protective covers can easily be reattached if they are discovered in time. Is the tailpipe bent? This could be signs of an exhaust leak. Are their fluids leaking onto the pavement? Any fluid leaking enough to leave a mark on the pavement (aside from condensation from AC) needs to be looked at by a mechanic.
Hearing and Touch – Do your brakes squeak as you slow down? You might need new brake pads. Can you hear (and or feel) your steering column vibrating as you drive? Your brakes might need to be inspected or your tires might need to maintenance.
Smell and Taste – The most obvious smell that needs addressing is the smell of gas. Another smell/taste to be concerned about is coolant. If there is a coolant leak, you will be able to smell it, and you will have a sweet taste in your mouth. Either of these issues should be taken to a mechanic immediately.
Remember, the more you know about what your car is doing, the better you will be able to explain it to the mechanic.