How Does a Mechanic Diagnose a Car Problem?

March 26, 2020 Published by Leave your thoughts

The first step in getting your vehicle repaired is to have a mechanic correctly diagnose the problem with your vehicle. Of course, this is easier said than done, which is why it’s important that you only work with skilled, experienced and certified mechanics who have a track record of providing excellent repair service. Accurate automotive diagnostics in Patchogue, NY is more than just a matter of plugging a scanner into the vehicle’s on-board diagnostic system and reading the codes it spits out. The mechanic must also be capable of inspecting the vehicle and finding where the problem is occurring.

On-board diagnostic scanners

All vehicles made since the mid-‘90s will have a standard on-board diagnostic system. When the check engine light comes on in your vehicle, this is the diagnostic system telling you there’s something wrong with the vehicle. However, you can’t know exactly what the problem is without scanning the system.

The scanner will retrieve the diagnostic trouble code from your vehicle’s computer, but these codes don’t actually give you a complete diagnosis—they’re only intended to point the technician in the right direction. The code will tell you which system is malfunctioning, but it’s not going to tell you why, or the actual cause of that malfunction. Basically, all the code will do is point out symptoms rather than the root cause.

This is why you can’t solely rely on these trouble codes to diagnose the problem with a vehicle. Any employee at an auto parts store can run a diagnostic scan of your vehicle, but will they actually be able to then investigate the system and find the cause of your problems? Almost definitely not, if they’re not also a certified mechanic.

In one common example, you might get a P0133 code, which indicates there’s a problem with the O2 sensor. A common step people take is to replace the O2 sensor, but there are actually a number of reasons why this issue could pop up that don’t require you to replace the O2 sensor. Maybe you have an electrical problem in the vehicle, or an exhaust leak somewhere. If this is the issue, that means you wasted money replacing the O2 sensor when you didn’t actually need to.

When you go into a reputable auto shop with certified mechanics, not only will they use specialized scanners and programs that are more advanced than those you’d see used at auto parts stores, but they’ll also have the knowledge to properly follow the trail indicated by the resulting codes and find what’s actually causing the problem in your vehicle. Technicians will inspect the system thoroughly to narrow down the potential causes, then use the proper procedures to pinpoint the exact issue and test their diagnosis before declaring what the problem actually is. It’s a much more scientific and accurate process, one that saves you both time and money.

For more information about why you shouldn’t rely solely on your on-board automotive diagnostics in Patchogue, NY, we encourage you to contact an experienced mechanic at Gene’s 112 Auto Service Center Inc. today.

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