Many moons ago, I took my vehicle to the dealership to diagnose an electrical gremlin. They recommended a rather expensive repair - replace the fuel pump - which did not fix the issue at all. After re-evaluating the vehicle, they simply cleaned some electrical contacts and the issue went away.

Many people will be in a similar situation of naïvete and despair when Something Bad happens and the site has its fair share of questions along the lines of "Please help!", "Am I being ripped off?", "Does this repair sound reasonable?"

It makes sense to invest some thought into how we can help them to help us help them, especially since many questions can go unanswered due to missing information.


The purpose of this meta post is to craft a list of information which should be included in the question.

Here is what I have so far:

  • identifying information that is crucial to any diagnosis (e.g. vehicle make, model, year)
  • vehicle background - symptoms or events that led to the owner/user to realize that something is wrong (e.g. wheel wobble, misfire)
  • information which would be nice to have (e.g. DTC's, fuel trims)
  • information pertaining to the repair quote (e.g. recommendation, list of parts to replace/repair - a printed copy of the quote would be ideal)

Let's see if we can put together a decent template for such types of issues. Ultimately, I would like to be able to use this post as a guideline for a new/inexperienced user who hasn't furbished sufficient information to show them what crucial information they're missing.

  • 2
    As for your particular issue replace the fuel pump - which did not fix the issue at all you shouldn't have paid for, or should have be refunded for the fuel pump replacement. Only paying for what actually fixed the car. Jun 23 '15 at 15:44
  • Why so many downvotes? Does this question not- show any research effort; it is unclear and not usefull?
    – chilljeet
    Jul 15 '15 at 8:43
  • 1
    @chilljeet : I don't think on meta it means that. It's more an indication of disapproval - "Let's not go down this path"
    – Zaid
    Jul 15 '15 at 8:47
  • I get that. I just think it's incorrect usage nonetheless. More so cause it's in Meta, where one can discuss and question the very identity of the group itself.
    – chilljeet
    Jul 15 '15 at 8:52

Let's not, I don't think those questions should be on topic.

Those questions fall into the same problems as price-shopping assistance, they will become obsolete, and they are unlikely to help anyone else.

I think we do need some sort of information you have mention in the How to Ask portion of the help section for all questions. There are way too many

My car is [insert vague incomplete description here] please help!

that get closed as unclear what you are asking.

As for the am I being ripped off, is this repair reasonable I think a single generic post to address those questions would answer 99% of them. Some of the topics covered in that post would be:

  • Get a second opinion
  • Get a second and third quote
  • Have the tech explain why your car needs what it needs
  • Have the tech show you the old parts
  • It may be okay to have well-moderated wiki posts for questions like these, but I want to say I agree that these kinds of questions are off-topic. Jul 24 '15 at 13:52

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