How to Feel More Confident About Car Repairs

Ellie Dyer-Brown, 2 months ago

5 min read

  • Repair
  • How to
A mechanic and customer receiving car keys.

WhoCanFixMyCar provides advice to help you feel more comfortable and confident when it's time for a trip to the garage.

Getting your car repaired can feel stressful and intimidating, especially if you're not sure what's wrong with it. However, at WhoCanFixMyCar, we believe that with the right knowledge, you can confidently choose a garage and leave satisfied with your experience. Here are our top tips to help you do just that.

Guide Contents


Before You Visit

While at the Garage

Garage Jargon

Conquer your nerves with research

You can conduct two types of research - firstly, into which garage you want to choose, and secondly, into your car and its potential problem.

It's a good idea to write down all the symptoms you have been experiencing to give the mechanic a clear picture of what needs investigating. Make a note of any unusual smells, sounds or changes in performance.

Reading reviews on laptop.

It's OK to read online about what might be wrong with your car to help you feel prepared, but remember that it's often hard to accurately diagnose a problem without getting hands-on. This means that the mechanic's diagnosis could differ from what you expected. If you've chosen a reputable garage with good reviews, they should be happy to discuss the problem and the repair in more detail.

The next bit of research involves which garage you want to make a booking with - WhoCanFixMyCar's garage profile pages are helpful for this. You can read customer reviews and check for performance badges to see which areas each garage excels in.

Tips for before your garage visit

  • Make sure you have all your car's paperwork and documentation to hand in case it's needed.

  • Ensure your car is clean and free from clutter.

  • Check that any parts used for the repair will come with a guarantee.

While at the garage

If you don’t understand what you’re paying for, ask. Don’t be embarrassed; it's your right to know what work is being done. After all, it is your car.

Some questions to ask at the garage to ease your nerves and gather info:

  • How long will the work take, and when will it be completed?

  • Can I see the replacement parts?

  • Please can I have a written invoice?

  • Please can you explain how you fixed this?


Garage jargon

Drivers often cite garage jargon as one of the most intimidating aspects of a garage visit. You can certainly feel out of your depth, whether you're a new motorist or someone who isn’t sure of the inner workings of your vehicle. As a quick masterclass, here is a mini guide to mechanic lingo.

A mechanic talking to customers.

“Your big end has gone.” 'Big end' refers to the larger side of a connecting rod, which powers the back and forth motion of the piston. This phrase typically means that the big end bearings, which connect to the crankshaft, are worn, often resulting in a knocking noise.

Find out more about how car engines work.

“Your little end has gone.” This time, it's a small bearing that has worn out, which again can be identified by a knocking noise.

“The clutch is slipping.” A component of the clutch that allows the smooth changing of gears is not functioning properly. When you select a gear, your car may still feel like it's in neutral, and when you accelerate, the revs may increase while the speed stays the same.

This guide explains what to do if your clutch is slipping.

Mechanic repairing clutch

“You need a re-gas”. Your air-con system needs topping up with refrigerant. This is a standard job that needs doing every few years or so - you can learn more about the process here.

“We need to do a pressure test.” The mechanic wants to pump pressurised liquid through the cylinder head to check for cracks and leaks.

“Excessive play." Used when describing a part of your steering or suspension that is moving more than it should be or when it shouldn’t be at all.

“The bushes on the wishbone are going.” Bushes are small rubber components that are attached to the triangular parts (wishbones) on your suspension. Bushes are made of rubber, so they will inevitably wear over time, often resulting in lots of noise from the suspension.

“You’ve got mayonnaise under the oil cap”. A thick white liquid (akin to mayo) can gather when water/condensation mixes with engine oil. Its appearance is an indication of head-gasket problems.

Learn about what happens when your head gasket is replaced.

"Your dampers are worn." Dampers is another word for shock absorbers, which are part of the suspension system.

A car's shock absorber

Ready to book a repair? You're in the right place.

If you found this guide helpful, you might also like:

Written by Ellie

Ellie Author Pic

Ellie is WhoCanFixMyCar’s Content Writer. She has a BA in English literature from Durham University, a master’s degree in creative writing, and three years of experience writing in the automotive industry. She currently drives a Suzuki Swift.

Find Ellie on LinkedIn.