Most of us will show up at a shop with our vehicle, fill out some paperwork, tell the person at the counter the basic symptoms, and then leave, waiting for the dreaded phone. What we don’t understand is what happens after we leave and why sometimes it cost so much to fix our cars and trucks. Part of the cost is diagnosis time. The technician must first analyze what was written down on the work order, which in most cases is just a few words. Most of the time, he needs to do a road test, then put the car on the lift, and maybe scan for any codes. He then has to use his knowledge to try and match the symptoms with a possible cure. The more time he needs to take to find the symptoms, the more it will cost you.
You can help save yourself money by writing down all the information you can as to what the symptoms are and when they occur. Does the problem happen when the vehicle is cold, or hot? After a long trip or going around the corner or up a hill. What exactly is the vehicle doing. You don’t need to worry about the technical language, just how you can get the symptom to occur and re-occur. The faster the technician can experience the problem, the faster he can come up a solution.