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EDITION 11 - October 2000

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Communicating for Better Service

Today's vehicles am high-tech marvels with digital dashboards, oxygen sensors, electronic computers, uni-body construction and more. They run better, longer and more efficiently than models of years past

But when it comes to repairs, some things stay the same. Good communication between the customer and the shop is vital. The following tips should help you along the way -

- Read the owners manual to learn about the vehicles systems and components
- Follow the recommended service schedules
- Keep a log of all repairs and service

Don't ignore warning signals.

Use all your senses to inspect your vehicle frequently. Check for:

  • Unusual sounds, odours, drips, leaks, smoke, warning lights, gauge readings
  • Changes in acceleration, engine performance, gas mileage, fluid levels
  • Worn tires, belts, hoses
  • Problems in handling, braking, steering, vibrations
  • Note when the problem occurs
  • Is it constant or periodic?
  • When the vehicle is cold or after the engine has warmed up?
  • At all speeds? Only under acceleration? During braking? When shifting?
  • When did the problem first start?

Use all your senses to inspect your vehicle frequently. Check for:

Communicate your findings

  • Be prepared to describe the symptoms
  • Write the symptoms down so you can dearly inform the technician
  • Resist the temptation to suggest a specific course of repair. Just as you would with your physician, tell where it hurts and how long its been that way, but let the technician diagnose and recommend a remedy
  • Ask as many questions as you need. Don't be embarrassed to request lay definitions Don't rush the technician to make an on-the-spot diagnosis.
  • Ask to be called and apprised of the problem, course of action, and costs before the work begins
  • Leave a telephone- number where you can be reached

A young man once asked God how long a million years was to him. God replied "A million years to me is just like a second in your time.' Then the young man asked God what a million dollars was to him. God replied "A million dollars to me is just like a single penny to you." Then the young man got his courage up and asked "God, could 1 have one of your pennies?" God smiled and replied "Certainly, just a second!"