Tiff’s Top Tips On Understanding Garage Speak

Posted on 23 January 2015 by CarTakeBack

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Fifth Gear presenter and racing driver, Tiff Needell, is here to help us with his top tips on understanding garage speak.

Advice on understanding a mechanic

Tip 1: Don’t be afraid to ask

You’re not a mechanic (or you’d be doing the work yourself!) so no-one expects you to understand all of the terminology used to explain the inner workings of a car.

“In a survey conducted by CarTakeBack.com almost half of Brits surveyed feel they may have lost money through being unable to ask the right questions in the garage”

And you certainly shouldn’t feel pressured into having work carried out on your car that you don’t fully understand. Ask for a full explanation of what needs doing and why – a good mechanic will be happy to help.

Tip 2: Take note

When a mechanic tells you there’s a problem with an indicator light, do they mean a light on your dashboard indicating a fault that could cost a small fortune just to diagnose, or do they mean a 99p direction indicator bulb needs to be replaced?!

“Over a quarter of respondents said that they had been confused by the terminology used when getting a garage to quote for work on their car.”

If you’re not absolutely certain what you’re being told, write it down or ask for a written quote detailing both the faults and the work that needs to be done.

Tip 3: Do your research

With phrases like “We need to do a pressure test” or “Your tracking is out” being thrown around, it’s easy to get confused.

“63% of people misunderstand the phrase "We need to do a pressure test" ”

Don’t be afraid to tell the mechanic you need time to think. Then, armed with the information you’ve been given, take your time to do a quick search on Google. There are some great glossaries available which explain what the terms used by mechanics actually mean.

Tip 4: Get a second opinion

If you’re still unsure about the work that you’ve been told your car needs, ask that friend or relative who knows a bit about cars. Failing that, feel free to ask another garage. As long as complicated diagnostics aren’t involved, most won’t charge for pricing up a repair.

“Less than half of people surveyed were not confident to look in and around their car if it broke down to get an idea of what went wrong“

Tip 5: Know when to say goodbye

Once you know exactly what’s wrong and how much it will cost to put it right, you’ll be back in the driving seat (but maybe not for long!). Sometimes the cost of repairs just doesn’t make sense when weighed up against the value of your car.

CarTakeback.com will give you an instant quote for your old car which is valid for seven days, giving you time to compare this with the cost of repairs. All you need is your registration and postcode. And if it’s time to say goodbye, we’ll offer free collection from home or even from the garage.

More of Tiff's Top Tips

Tiff's tips on buying and selling cars 

Top tips from Tiff on minimising the cost of car ownership