How to Help Your Mechanic Help You

How to Help Your Mechanic Help You

| By: Scooter Owens, Christian Brothers Automotive Energy Corridor

Giving your mechanic a detailed description of your problems can save you time and money.

In many ways, a car mechanic is a lot like a medical doctor. – Both doctors and mechanics must listen to people explain their problems in order to diagnose and fix the situation.

When you drive, your car should travel quietly in a smooth, straight line, unless you are turning, of course. Over time, wear and tear will cause various items to eventually fail. Sometimes, those wear-and-tear items will give you telltale signs of eventual failure.

You can help your mechanic diagnose and repair your car when you know how to explain the problems you are experiencing and help your mechanic to narrow down the potential problems. The following are some more common symptoms of pending car trouble and how you can help your mechanic diagnose and fix the problem.

Shimmies and shakes

If your car starts to shimmy and shake while driving, the problem often arises from the wheels, suspension, front-end components, or a combination of the three. If your tires are unevenly worn or damaged, your tie rods worn down, or your struts played out, for example, your car often times will shake and shimmy.

Squealing while stopping

If you keep hearing metallic scraping, scratching or squealing from the front, rear, or both ends of your car when you slow down or stop, you likely have brake problems. You will potentially need new brake pads, and possibly one or more calipers or brake rotors repaired or replaced to fix it.


If you drive and start to hear a rhythmic thumping sound from your car, there is a good chance you have a bad tire. Worn tie rod ends and other suspension components also could cause thumping. The fix might be simple and cheap, or it might be costly, but it must be done for safety.

Ticking or knocking

Most of the time, your engine will run smoothly and quietly. Over time, worn parts can cause common noises to occur from within your engine compartment. You need to listen and let your mechanic know what you hear.

Ticking sounds could be issues with your valves and might be a relatively easy and inexpensive fix. A knocking sound often heralds worse problems, like a bad camshaft or other important engine component that has worn too much and no longer works properly.

It pays to pay attention

When you know how to listen to the sounds your car makes and interpret what you are feeling while driving, you can communicate more effectively with your mechanic. That will help him or her to more quickly diagnose the problem and fix your car.

Bring these or any other symptoms to the team at Christian Brother Automotive Energy Corridor to have your vehicle properly diagnosed by our ASE Certified mechanics. Our team will help you get back on the road smoothly and safely.

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