Could we make some suggestions as to what to start a help-me post with?

There are just too many posts that say “the check engine light came on” that don’t mention codes pulled, problems without mentioning what type of car it is, vague problems, not mentioning what was replaced, etc.

For instance:
If someone’s car is not starting at all, what should he look for and mention in his first post?
What if someone’s car is stalling, how about hearing noises while driving, smells while parked, screeches while braking, etc?

In other words, what do you think should be mentioned when some problem is being described?
Once we have a good collection of things to mention in a first post, maybe we can ask the admin/mod to compile it into a sticky.

I think that would make a good starting point and turn the threads in less of a runaround, being able to help the original poster quicker and making the threads more concise and interesting.

I think a great many people throw out a generic plea for help here and other various automotive forums looking for some indication that their plea will be cordially accepted and someone with an informed opinion will lead them through the initiation and hopefully to a favorable conclusion. The www if full of dead end forums with titles that lead many in but offer nothing but a sales pitch for products and services.

In the past, this has been beaten like a dead horse.

In the past, I have even suggested this as part of reducing the kinds of responses that site admin doesn’t like. This kind of suggestion seems to go nowhere.

Well, that’s a shame.
How many threads can one have that start with “My car doesn’t start”, have people throw out ideas of what it can be without asking what the OP means with “starting” - does he mean “cranking” or does he mean that the engine cranks but does not run. Before we know what is actually going on, 10 posts have flown back and forth.

I’m not suggesting we start an FAQ with a fix for common problems - just an FAQ that describes terminology and what type of things to state in the first post.
Having to go through the same thing over and over again just seems to be a waste of time.

I agree with you 100%, RemcoW. The posters with problems would certainly get a quicker, definitive response if they were required to understand some basic terminology and answer a few preliminary questions but there is apparently some aversion to doing so and my best reasoning for continuing the current and long lasting process of enduring vagueries in initial posts is the entertainment value of the meandering and bickering. And, as said above, a great many throw out their problem to countless sites looking for help and they might get their first reply here and even if it is just an interrogation, that is a direct and positive result. The forum is a lot of fun but I ignore most posts for various reasons, least of which is the lack of even a passing interest or elementary understanding of things mechanical.

LOL…hahahahahaaaa Remco…I’ve tried many X to make a sticky page here to help people convey their issue to us in a concise manner and with some guide lines… Not happening. The only thing I got to STICK around here was my “Credentials” post…its STILL here growing. The moderators found that one useful I guess, but not a terminology post…that was shot down apparently.

We even had a post going here that was trying to get people to use the CORRECT TERMINOLOGY…I posted that a while ago and I THINK its still here …but dying…I called it “Terms of Endearment”…it went nowhere despite the lot of us agreeing… Same thing you are shooting for here… see if “Terms” is still alive…you will see what we went thru. The guys here will remember it…they posted A LOT of funny things that people say when asking for help and trying to describe an automotive issue…LOL

We sited things people say like…“My Check Engine light went off”…we had a laugh…SO…“The check engine light went off” eh? SO the problem is gone then right? …NO no no…I mean the light is “ON now”… Then why did you say it went off ? Some stuff here is like a “Who’s on First” Comedy bit trying to get people to phrase things properly…


"I went to my car and turned the key…“It will TRY TO START BUT JUST WONT TURN OVER” LOL… huh?

Guys…what are the other funny phrases we get here?


Maybe a funny phrases thread would be a fun subject…

I believe that most people who come here for the first time with a problem are just trying to get our attention with their opening post. Once they get the attention, the problem is usually explained clearly enough to get intelligent answers.

Only those who come here often would know that the “experts” here would like to know every detail about the situation in the opening post.

That’s not a realistic expectation, in my opinion.

There is a thread asking for suggestions regarding seeking help here. I guess that I have given up making suggestions and haven’t looked at that thread lately. What are the chances that anyone really cares to read the suggestions?

A realistic expectation is to at least state what make, model and year you have. Another one is to know what ‘cranking’ means, etc.
You don’t have to know anything about cars to accurately describe the problem. This stuff isn’t rocket science, Joe.

“You don’t have to know anything about cars to accurately describe the problem. This stuff isn’t rocket science, Joe.”

The majority of people who come here for help aren’t rocket scientists and are definitely not automobile mechanics. They are people who know very little about cars and looking for guidance.

If they knew enough to give a detailed explanation of the problem they were having, they might not need to come here for help.

I’m not saying that “Car is Dead” is the best way to request help here. I’m only saying that most people are just sending out an SOS.

Fortunately, just about all of the regulars here are willing & patient enough to get the needed information rather than just complaining about the nature of the requests for help.

I think folks posting here about a problem w/their car know it is in their own best interest to describe the problem the best they can. If the check engine light comes on, and that’s the only problem, that’s about all they can say. Most drivers just put gas in the car and hope it goes. They only post here when it doesn’t.

Also, it is more interesting for me to see how the car experts here diagnose the problem starting with limited info, which add’l info they ask for, etc.

I don’t see this as much of a problem in other words.

MANY of us here are pretty good Automotive counselors…We usually have the OP lie on the sofa and gently coax what the OP is trying to say about their automotive issues… without strangling them…
“We have Patience with our Patients” is our Motto… LOL


It’s not that your suggestions have gone nowhere. We actually think it’s important, both for new people and for the regulars. But as Doug had said in his post the other day, there’s been a lot of activity trying to smooth out the issues that arose when the new site switched on. We’re going to compile the suggestions that had been given in the previous solicitation for tips for new posters, and there will be a page made. Promise.

HORAAAAAAY…look up “Terms of Endearment”…we listed a bunch of stuff there… LOL

Better watch what we say here guys…Cdaquila is WATCHING…she catches a lot actually. “She” is a “she” right? Why do I think that?