Understanding Technical Service Bulletins: How They Can Save You Time and Money on Car Repairs

Dear Mike,

I’ve heard the term “technical service bulletin” thrown around a lot lately, but I’m not exactly sure what it means. Could you explain it to me? I’m curious to know what kind of information or advice I might find in a TSB and whether it’s worth paying attention to.

Thanks for your help!

Best regards,


Dear Stella,

First and foremost, thank you for reaching out to me and for demonstrating an interest in the overall health of your ride. It’s always refreshing to hear from admirers of the industry, especially those who take a proactive approach when it comes to car trouble. You’re absolutely right that the term “technical service bulletin” can sound quite technical. However, once you understand what they are and how they work, the mystery starts to fade.

In essence, a technical service bulletin is simply a document that provides a solution to a commonly known problem with a particular vehicle make or model. These bulletins aim to help auto repair technicians quickly identify and resolve issues with a vehicle. Because they save time on diagnostic work, understanding their contents can ultimately save you money on repairs.

Now, I’m not saying you should go on an hour-long TSB reading binge every weekend, Stella. But it’s always helpful to have a basic understanding of the information contained in these bulletins. If you’re having trouble with a specific component in your vehicle, checking for a TSB document can help guide a diagnostic process or even provide important warranty information that may save you hundreds of dollars in the long run.

It’s worth noting that TSBs are usually generated by manufacturers and written for dealership technicians. However, good service providers including Urban Automotive pay for subscriptions to diagnostic companies that compile these bulletins for technicians in an aftermarket setting. By having access to the same information that dealership technicians have, we are able to provide a more comprehensive and effective service to our customers.

In addition to providing important diagnostic information, some TSBs also highlight specific known problems and the recommended solutions to those problems that will help an auto technician easily fix issues that may be causing problems with your car. Another important aspect of TSBs is the information they provide about warranties. Some TSBs may provide information on manufacturer’s silent or nonpublic warranties that an auto repair technician working outside the dealership network may be unaware of. An honest and reputable automotive service provider should provide you with this information if your vehicle is eligible for warranty repair.

In short, Stella, technical service bulletins are certainly worth paying attention to – although you don’t need to become an expert on reading them. However, the more you know about TSBs and the problems they address, the more effective you can be in diagnosing and repairing your car. At Urban Automotive, we value our customers and aim to take a proactive and comprehensive approach to car repair, including staying up to date with the latest TSBs, so you can trust us to have your back.

Thanks for writing in, and happy driving!

Best regards,
Mike Urban