When the check engine light blinks on, your car is letting you know that you might have a problem. But what’s next? Before the computerization of modern cars, a driver experiencing an issue—a strange sound or an “off” feeling while driving—would have needed to describe the problem to a technician. The technician then might have spent hours examining the car, searching for the source of the problem.
Today, instead of simply searching, a technician starts with a diagnostic test. The test uses a tool that links up to the car’s computer system. This allows for a scan of the onboard computer, allowing access to service notifications from the manufacturer and engine or component trouble codes. While the test doesn’t precisely pinpoint the problem, it does give the technician valuable information on where to start searching. This means the car spends less time in the shop and the customer saves money on labor costs.
What is a car diagnostic test?
Cars today contain complex computer systems, complete with processors, microchips and sensors. They track the performance and maintenance of major systems, like the cooling system, transmission, brakes and exhaust system, as well as the engine. Manufacturers can also push notifications directly to the vehicle.
A diagnostic test essentially allows a technician access to this wealth of information. The test can reveal maintenance codes relating to the fuel injector performance or the ignition timing, for example, but it doesn’t provide all the information needed for a repair. After the test is complete, the technician begins the hands-on detective work of locating the specific problem and determining a solution.
When do you need a diagnostic test?
Diagnostic tests are somewhat like checkups for cars. If the check engine light comes on, that means there’s a problem. Thankfully, today’s systems are designed to flag small maintenance issues before they become major maintenance issues. Ideally, by quickly responding to a check engine light with a diagnostic test, you’ll be able to head off larger, more expensive repairs.
But because diagnostic tests are so simple and fast (they typically take under 2 hours), it’s not a bad idea to have one done periodically, even if your light hasn’t come on. Taking a preventative approach to auto maintenance is a great way to keep your car running as safely as possible.
If your check engine light is on, contact Bavarian Body Works to schedule a diagnostic test
Our trained technicians can quickly run a thorough diagnostic test of your vehicle. After identifying the problem, we’ll then evaluate the repair and replacement options with you, always with a focus on your safety. Contact us today for more information.