How to Describe Car Problems with Sounds

by Don Stec

Several years ago I did a radio commercial about a woman who gave the following description of her car problem, she said. “My car makes a loud scream like noise when I accelerate, then I hear a loud ka-plunk and the warble starts. Can you help me?”

The words you are using are not typical automotive descriptive words. Could you describe the problem in another way? I pride myself in communication skills she said, and the words I am using are the most descriptive. Perhaps I had better test drive your car I said. I got in the driver’s seat and she sat in the right front seat.

As I accelerated I heard the loud screeching sound of a bolt being pulled through the car body. There’s the scream she said. Then I heard a loud clunk as the bolt bottomed out. There’s the ka-plunk, but I don’t feel the warble she said. I felt it and I think I know what the problem is. Let’s go back to the shop.

As I expected, I found 4 loose bolts and tightened them. I asked her to test drive the car. She came back all excited. She said, it’s perfect. I explained it well didn’t I? I pride myself in communications skills. Yes you did I said…that’s how I knew to tighten the seat.

Well I thought it was a good commercial describing a real life problem that had a humorous explanation. I got three phone calls shortly after it ran. That’s a very sexist commercial the voice said. Another asked, why are you making fun of women? The third was the worst. You are a woman hater and I will never bring my car to you for repair, and I will be sure to tell all my friends not to also. All the voices were female. I explained, it was a woman’s true experience. I simply wanted our female listeners to know we will relate to your car problem no matter how the descriptions are presented. It was a waste of time.

I got many more calls that day and through the week about how enjoyable the commercial was...Little did I know I had not heard the last about it from some other ladies.

I attended a political fund raiser one evening shortly after the commercial ran. We were given name tags to wear. It was a social evening with lots of good conversation. I waited in anticipation of the candidate’s speech when a woman approached me. Apparently she saw my name tag, and she asked. Are you the guy who does the commercials for Coachmaster? Yes I replied. You did the one about the woman who had a warble in her car? Yes, I nervously replied. She immediately did an about face and walked away from me. I could feel my face turning red as my blood pressure was going up. I wondered if I should leave, I did not want to be in the middle of a scene in front of all the guests and the politician I was supporting. This could be bad for him too.

As I looked across the room I could see the same woman approaching, only now she had two other women with her. I felt like running but I didn’t want to look as foolish as I felt. Where was my Wife when I needed her?

That’s him, she said as she was approaching, still several feet away. They started speaking in unison. I took a step back. We would just like to thank you for that commercial about the warble. They took turns telling me how their husband disregarded their explanations when the car has a problem. They poke fun at us and imply we know nothing about cars. That woman in the commercial uses the same words we use. Now we can tell our husbands we use the correct words and they better stop poking fun at us. We just want to thank you. Except for the first minute, we were laughing during the entire conversation, as each one told her story and we were still laughing when the candidate was about to speak. After all these years it has become common for people to ask if we can fix the warble in their cars. Oh yes, my wife did come by to see why I was having so much fun with three ladies. I explained we were talking about warbles.

Coachmaster Collision repair* -- founded in 1969 is the best equipped body and paint shop in the North valley. Specializing in “Total Body Alignment.” Contact Alan Gordon for an estimate on your vehicle. Call 530-243-1310 or visit the business at 6851 Eastside Road, in Redding California. *Click here if you are using a smart phone or other mobile device.