Why Is A Car Diagnostic Test Important?

car diagnostic testYou have all the time and money in the world, right? Not likely. That’s why a Diagnostic Test is important. When the Check Engine light comes on in your car or your car is otherwise misbehaving, a diagnostic test can help direct a professional to the area on your vehicle where attention is needed most. If not for diagnostic tests, a technician would likely spend hours trying to determine what the problem is and you would need to shell out the cost for the labor, which could be pretty costly! While most automotive centers and automotive parts distributor stores offer a free scan of your on-board diagnostics, to help determine the area responsible for the code, the only surefire way to determine the cause of the trouble is through a diagnostic test. 

What Does a Car Diagnostic Test Tell You? 

A diagnostic test helps determine the cause of a vehicle’s mechanical issue or why the vehicle has illuminated the Check Engine light. Vehicles are designed today with an internal computer that operates, records, and monitors all major systems and components within the vehicle, as well as notifications from the vehicle manufacturer and performance history. A skilled technician, using an advanced computerized tool, connects to the vehicle and reviews the codes to read the notifications and understand where the vehicle is experiencing difficulties. 

On-Board Diagnostics (OBD II) is a universal interface system that provides information from areas monitored by the car’s internal computer. All sorts of systems are monitored including the engine, cooling system, brakes, transmission, and exhaust systems. The diagnostic helps provide details from the codes stored from various areas on the vehicle including ignition timing, whether ignition coils are firing accurately, engine RPMs, amount of buildup in the combustion chamber, and fuel injector performance. Each code that is part of the OBD corresponds to a certain part of the vehicle and communicating the error detected. Though the advances in vehicle computers have been instrumental in automotive repair, the diagnostic does not pinpoint the cause of the trouble. On board diagnostics indicate to the technician where to begin testing or to which major component that is operating outside of the normal range. However, it does not report the exact component responsible for the error. Having a knowledgeable, certified technician performs manual diagnostics and testing is how a problem is identified and eradicated. 

Why You Should Have a Diagnostic Performed on Your Vehicle

One of the most beneficial reasons for having a diagnostic test performed is the time and money that can be saved by both driver and technician. Before internal computers were introduced, a vehicle owner would need to describe their vehicle’s issue and stand idly by while the technician began the long, arduous task of testing various things to identify the trouble–which was often very time consuming and costly. What’s more, today’s systems are designed to identify even the simplest of troubles long before they grow into major malfunctions. 

A standard diagnostic test can last anywhere between an hour to an hour and a half. However, depending on the gravity of the trouble or underlying issues or where components require removal to gain access for testing, more complex issues could take up to 2-3 hours. 

It’s not difficult to locate home code readers, though drivers are cautioned from using them as they are often very basic devices that do not offer a whole lot of information as to what could be wrong with the vehicle. The scan tools used at automotive repair centers are sophisticated machines that are quite expensive and require a certain skill set to operate. Furthermore, manufacturers of vehicles may have their own set of exclusive codes that are difficult to understand without an advanced code reader.

If your check engine light comes on, unless the scan produces a minor error such as replacing the gas cap, a simple scan won’t be able to tell you exactly what is wrong with the vehicle. This is when a diagnostic test should be performed. Likewise, if your vehicle is behaving differently and something doesn’t feel right, a technician should inspect the vehicle and perform a diagnostic to test major components for failure. 

Where To Get a Car Diagnostic Test

A diagnostic can be performed through the dealer or through your favorite automotive service center, such as Sun Auto Service. We offer a free scan of the on-board computer and can provide diagnostics as needed. Our ASE Certified Technicians will be able to investigate the issues your vehicle has exhibited and complete repairs right away. When your check engine light is on and your vehicle needs a diagnostic service, give us a call at Sun Auto Service. We’ll get you in and get you back up and running in no time! Schedule your appointment with us today.