Online advice may not be the solution.

Back in the days of carburetors and leaded fuel, there was a little thing mechanics referred to as “Tim Horton’s Diagnostics” (Dunkin’ Donuts Diagnostics for our American readers). A group of friends would be sitting together drinking coffee and discussing life. One friend would talk about the problems they’d been having with their car… Another friend would speak up, saying, “The same thing happened to me, the problem was…”.


These conversations still take place today, and not just about vehicles. Everything from home improvement to health advice are frequent topics of discussion. However, rather than a trustworthy friend telling you about their personal experiences over a cup of joe, majority of advice is now taken from the internet, supplied by folks that you’ll probably never meet.


There are many experts online; doctors, lawyers, plumbers, carpenters, mechanics, etc., who have credentials and experience in whatever field you are seeking information on and who are happy to offer advice on your individual situation. However, there are many cases where it is difficult to tell the difference between someone who knows what they’re talking about and someone who sounds like they know what they’re talking about…


As an example, let’s say you’ve been getting frequent headaches and have no idea why… You jump on the internet and type into your search engine “cause of headache”… For what it’s worth, Google yields about 52,700,000 results. Apparently, there are a lot of people out there that can give you advice on what’s causing your headache. Depending on your unique situation, there may be more than one solution to your problem. So who do you trust? The internet or a licensed physician?


As another example, let’s say your vehicle’s check engine light is on. Your car seems to be running fine, but out of curiosity you go online and search for “cause of check engine light” in your search engine… Google shows about 59,900 results… Not as many as the headache scenario but still quite a few. Depending on your unique situation, there may be more than one solution to your problem. So who do you trust? The internet or a licensed automotive technician?


(FYI; A check engine light can turn on for any one of over 1000 different reasons.)


The nice folks of the automotive repair profession tend to use medical analogies fairly frequently, and for good reasons. The automotive landscape has changed quite dramatically over the years. Vehicles today are built and equipped with many advanced computers, sensors and switches, and every sensor or switch is controlled by a computer, and every computer communicates with each other… Repairing vehicle problems isn’t quite as ‘cut-and-dry’ as it used to be. Automotive technicians, much like doctors, require years of classroom, hands-on, and continuous training to hone their skills and perfect their craft. A great technician, much like a great doctor, has processes and procedures they need to adhere to (commonly referred to as ‘diagnostics’) in order to properly identify and cure ailments properly without ‘band-aids’.


So why leave the problem solving to the internet? Is it the cost? Is it fear of the unknown? Maybe a lack of trust?

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