Automotive service providers should recognize the importance of a thorough visual inspection when troubleshooting customers' complaints.
Time and again, visual checks have revealed a clue that ends up solving the mystery of the vehicle's condition. One simple detail — perhaps something that looks odd or unusual — steers a technician on the right path.
Mind you, visual clues make a tech suspicious of a problem. Thereafter, an accurate diagnosis should confirm those suspicions.
To put it another way, capitalizing on visual clues may spell the difference between working hard and working smart.
Working smart enhances the chances of repairing a vehicle properly the first time.
Typically, "fixed right the first time" sits atop — or ranks very high on — motorists' list of auto service expectations.
Remember that effective visual inspections require a certain level of curiosity and open-mindedness. After all, evidence such as dirt, stains, fluid seepage, etc., could pique the interest of one tech but elude another.
Similarly, evidence of bees and spiders may raise diagnostic flags for some but not all techs. But as you will see in a moment, "critter-like" clues may save you the blues. Here are examples borne of personal experience.
The owner of a Toyota Corolla said he could not fill its gas tank completely. He found himself relying on a partial tank of fuel; no one could explain the cause of this odd symptom.
The Corolla's engine control computer (ECM) had not stored any trouble codes.
Photo 1 shows the end of an evaporative emission hose located under the rear of the Corolla. During the 2000s, thousands of Toyota vehicles were equipped with that hose setup.