Mechanics have heard it all when it comes to car troubles — literally. Don’t be afraid to make some silly noises for them.
Photo by Seattle Municipal Archives.
In the US, AAMCO used to run “we hear you” commercials where people would walk up to a mechanic and explain their car problems with silly sounds. Well, that’s actually not a bad idea. Mechanics from independent auto shops and dealerships told Jake Rossen at Mental Floss that they usually prefer you making the sound than trying to explain it. Ryan M., a mechanic in Winnipeg, explains:
I’d rather hear a funny noise come out of you than waste time trying to figure out what you mean by ‘buzzing, but it’s like squishy if that makes sense.’ Make the damn noise!
You might feel a little foolish, but it can actually make the mechanic’s job a lot easier. According to Bob Weber, an ASE-certified Master Automobile Technician for 38 years, it’s better to attempt a funny sound than use terms that might lead them in the wrong direction. They know how cars are supposed to sound, and they’re familiar with a wide variety of car trouble sounds. And at the very least, Weber notes, your mechanic will likely get a kick out of it.
If you’re not willing to make a noise in front of somebody you don’t know, though, Weber also has a list of terms you can use to help explain your car troubles to the technician. If you’re not much of a human soundboard, knowing the difference between a clang, clank, click and clack is important.