Some car owners wonder why and other auto repair shops charge a fee for diagnostic services.
Think about it: When you hire a local HVAC technician to check out a problem with your air conditioner you’ll probably pay a diagnostic fee. When you visit your doctor for a health problem, you pay the physician to diagnose the ailment and of course for the tests that go along with it.
So receiving a diagnostic charge at for a tricky automotive problem shouldn’t be a surprise. In the area, automotive diagnostics can cover quite a range. If you hear a noise in your brakes when you slow down in rush-hour traffic on a busy interstate, you pull off the next off-ramp and take a quick visual check. That is usually enough to know what needs to be done. If you’re having an intermittent problem with your engine, however, diagnosis may be much more involved.
Much of the car owners’s confusion comes when the problem involves the check engine light. The check engine light comes on when the engine management computer has sensed a problem.
There’s a common misconception among , , and drivers that the trouble code tells the technician exactly what’s wrong. They wonder why there is a diagnostic charge - because the scanner quickly gave the diagnosis.
In reality, it is not that easy and straightforward. The computer monitors many sensors throughout the vehicle. When one of these sensors has a reading that’s out of parameters, the computer will record a trouble code and turn on the check engine light.
The computer's trouble code just tells the technician what engine parameter is out of range – not what’s causing it. The technician needs to determine the underlying problem that’s causing the malfunction.
There are many problems that could cause a troublesome sensor reading for customers. The service advisor makes a list of the most likely causes and begins tracking down the source of the problem. This takes time.
service centers subscribe to databases that document possible causes for all the possible trouble codes. The databases outline procedures for confirming a diagnosis and provide the documented repair. These critical databases are specific to each vehicle and engine combination.
Some diagnoses are quick and easy. Others are more involved, time-consuming, and difficult. Of course wants to figure out what’s wrong with your and get you back on the road as quickly as possible.