Service P+us Car Care Centre
Jun 11, 2015

Shop Talk 101: Learn these Terms to Communicate Effectively with your Mechanic

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We like to think we’re different from other mechanics. We try to keep the jargon to a minimum. But we do love it when customers can tell us exactly what they want, and other mechanics do, too. Here is a good primer of shop talk to know if you need serious work done on your car.

Effectively Communicating With Your Car Mechanic


If your vehicle is older, it might not be possible to replace all parts with new identical ones. Instead, mechanics often use parts salvaged from other vehicles. These parts come certified LKQ (Like Kind and Quality), guaranteeing that they will work. Mechanics may also use generic parts designed to fix many models of vehicle. In future repairs, these parts will be called after-market parts.

Paintjob and Dents

Most paint jobs have three layers. The first is the primer, which sticks to the chassis and gives a surface that will bond with the paint. Often, when pain is scratched, it exposes the white primer. Above this is the basecoat, which contains the pigment, and the clearcoat, which locks in the base coat and prevents colour fading. Some manufacturers avoid this with a Direct Gloss, a paint with both clear gloss and pigment that is applied in one layer, or enamel.

Lower panels also have chip guard, a hardened coat to protect against gravel from the road taking the paint off (chipping).

If your chassis is dented, the dent can be filled with putty, a hard plastic substance, then sanded, primed, and painted.

Paint and dent repair means either touch-up repair on one part, or full edge-to-edge repair. Touch-up repair mostly involves fixing small dents and paint. Edge-to-edge repair means we will repair an entire panel.


To fix the structure, a mechanic will put your vehicle on a platform called a bench and bend it back into its original shape.

Engine Function

It helps if you can tell a mechanic exactly what’s wrong with your engine. Your issues could include:

  • Hesitation: power cuts out for a second after the engine starts. Often cause by a misfire where one or more cylinders don’t ignite.
  • Sluggish: poor or jolty acceleration.
  • Bucking: hesitation that kicks in when you change gears.
  • Surge: sudden change that causes the engine’s rpms to jump up.
  • Knocking: knocking sound during acceleration.
  • Dieseling: continued fuel burn after your switch the car off.

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