Dialogue with a Mechanic

Hello Fellow Tutors,
My student indicated an interest in buying a car. When I asked if there was a problem with her current car, it became obvious she did not have the confidence to speak clearly enough or have enough mechanical knowledge when talking to a mechanic. She also wanted someone she could trust. I felt a skit would be a good way to help her so we played it out and then I asked her to explain which mechanic was better and why. She loved it!
Ron Hovis,VEP tutor

ESL Training Tool: These skits are 2 examples of typical dialogues anyone might have with an auto mechanic. The intent is to guide the student who may have a language/cultural problem to ask the right questions and then evaluate the mechanic’s response. (Discuss the 2 examples and describe the differences. Which one might be more satisfactory and why?)

ESL – Role Playing for Visit to Garage for Auto Mechanical Problem

Hello. I am Mary and I’m having a problem with my car.
Hi, Mary. I’m Butch. What’s your problem?
Well, a couple of things: when I put on my brakes I hear a loud screech and my steering wheel shakes.
OK. We’ll put your car up on the lift and check your brakes. What else?
Well, this is a pain! Almost every time I stop at a red light or stop sign, the engine dies.
So, when you turn the key – you know…start the car – does it start up right away?
Usually.
Tell me this: when you slow down just before stopping, does it idle smoothly or shake a little?
Oh, gosh. I don’t remember that. I have to admit, I really don’t know anything about cars – you know I get in, turn the key on, turn the radio on and just go. Oh, yeah… seatbelt, of course (ha ha)!
That’s ok, Mary. That’s what we do – most people aren’t much better than you. When can you leave the car? This may take 2 – 3 hours depending upon what we find.
I need my car by 12:30 every day, so any morning would work.
Good. We are really busy this week. How about next Wednesday? Can you have it here by 8:00 AM or the night before?
Yes. Maybe the night before at 5 – 6 PM.
Good. Let’s get your name and contact information… phone on the Wednesday morning schedule.
Wait. How much is this going to cost me?
As you might appreciate, until we get in there I can’t give you an accurate quote. The brakes could go from $200 to $400. The engine stall could be simple or take more parts and labor. How about when we check things out I’ll give you a call Wednesday morning with a pretty close quote. I would suggest the brake is more critical. You can decide then. By the way, my dad started this business. I’ve been here since I was a kid.
That’s good. How do I pay you?
Credit card, debit or cash. No personal checks. OK?
OK. I’ll talk with you Wednesday and I’ll drop the car off Tuesday evening.

ALTERNATE CONVERSATION:
Hello, I’m Mary and I’m having a problem with my car.
Hi. What’s up?
What do you mean?
Well, you came here. What’s your problem?
Well, a couple of things: when I put on my brakes I hear a loud screech and my steering wheel shakes.
OK. We’ll put your car up on the lift and check your brakes. What else?
Well, this is a pain! Almost every time I stop at a red light or stop sign, the engine dies.
OK. Sounds like you need new brakes and brake rotors. The engine may need a tune up including new plugs.
Really? All that?
Maybe. Where’s the car?
Right out there.
First thing I see – you need at least 2 new tires up front. They’re dangerous. Who knows what we’ll find with the stalling deal. When can you drop off the car?
Any morning, but I’ll need it back by 12:30.
Well, that’s hard to guarantee.
How do I know your bill? Can I get an estimate?
That’s touchy, but you know once we take everything apart, there will be a labor fee, but you can’t drive with bad brakes. May it will be $400 to $500 for that alone. Tomorrow then. We are not too busy right now.
Don’t you want my name and phone number?
Oh, yeah. Good idea. By the way… cash only.
How long have you had this garage here? I don’t remember seeing you.
Been here for months. I’ve been a great mechanic for years. Tomorrow then… leave it now??
I’ll have to check my schedule. I’ll call you when I’m ready. Can you give me your name and phone number? Thanks for your time.

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s