What - Whether we are tracking down a leak, a noise, or a sensation (like a shake), it has to be conveyed to the repair shop in a clear, complete and concise manner so it can make its way through the facility's food chain to resolution. Think about how you are going to express your concerns prior to your arrival.
Where - Location, location, location the repair shop needs to know where you are seeing the leak, hearing the groan and feeling the shake. If the steering wheel is shaking it means one thing and if you think the wheels are vibrating it means something else, so be specific. If you are tracking down a fluid leak, try to describe its location in relationship to other parts of the car. A clear liquid back by the rear wheel and an oily red fluid up by the car's radiator could lead the technician to a quick discovery of leaks of brake fluid or transmission fluid respectively.
When - Think cold, hot, long trip, or a short stop at the store! Maybe you only smell the fuel odor the day after filling up or possibly the noise is only heard when you press on the gas pedal. How long had your car sat before you experienced difficulty starting? In the case of rattles, are they heard when hitting bumps in the road or only when first starting up and then they mysteriously go away after accelerating? How about that screeching noise, did you notice that it's only the first start in the morning? Sometimes diagnosis is all about the timing on the symptoms.
TV's most bland detective Jack Friday of Dragnet used to say "just the facts ... just the facts" and even the newest reporter knows the first rule of writing news is to cram into the first paragraph as much as you can of the 3 W's, just like auto repair.
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