The following stories are true. Names have been changed to protect the innocent, and to avoid embarrassing myself.
Mr. Jones leaves his car with the instruction to "tune it up." The un-named garage proceeds to do a routine tune-up, although no particular problems are encountered. The engine seems to run fine and the car is delivered. On the next day the un-named service manager is confronted by the angry Mr. Jones, who complains loudly that the car is still missing. The service manager goes to the car, and detects no miss as it sits there idling.
"No, you have to be driving it!" insists Mr. Jones.
The two of them take it out on the road, and Mr. Jones insists that they go faster and faster until at about 55 miles per hour a vibration develops, shaking the whole car.
"There it is. I told you it had a miss!" says Mr. Jones.
"You have a tire out of balance," says the service manager. "That's what's making your car vibrate, not an engine miss."
"Well then, why did you do a tune-up on it?"
"Because you told us to."
"But it didn't help my problem, so I think you should give my money back. I'm not a mechanic. I didn't know what I needed. That's your job, not mine."
The thoughts going through the un-named service manager's head after this exchange cannot be printed in a family newspaper. However, he was magnificent as he diplomatically explained that perhaps the customer should have given us, (I mean them), an idea of what his complaint was, rather than diagnosing it himself as an engine miss. (After all, he did admit that he was not a mechanic).
I am not making this up. It is all true, (except for the "magnificent" part). We (they) need symptoms to guide us toward a diagnosis or we go off on wild goose chases. A simple complaint like "problem with the brakes" sounds easy enough, but the problem could be either a noise, or a vibration, or a sinking pedal, or a warning light on the dash. A noise would require the pulling of the wheels, a vibration would require a road test, and a sinking pedal or warning light would require neither of the above, so we don't know which goose to chase without more information. That information has to come from you, the driver, and you prepare for that by using your five senses. (Six, if you're female).
To review my seventh grade science, the senses are as follows:
1Touch. You feel something. Hot, cold, vibrating sensations, sinking pedals etc.
2Sight. You see something. Smoke, steam, dragging pieces, gauges, warning lights etc.
3Hearing. You hear a noise. Squeak, squeal, knocking, clicking, grinding, roaring etc.
4Smell. You smell something. Smoke, steam, chemicals like gasoline etc., but not heat. Don't say you smell something hot. Hot is a touch sensation, but you can smell hot rubber etc.
5Taste. There is no car problem that requires a taste test. Don't do that. It all tastes bad.
6ESP. Usually resides in the fairer gender. They don't know what's wrong but they know it is not good, and they just know the car is haunted by vindictive spirits. "It doesn't like me."
7There is a seventh sense. A sense of humor. Lighten up. It makes the day more pleasant. Don't be a Mr. Jones. (No offense to people named Jones).