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Check Engine Light Vehicle Diagnostics Explained

DIAGNOSTIC SERVICES

We are going to break down the check engine light vehicle diagnostics and walk you through exactly what that means. When you Google “car diagnostic near me”, you will get a list of repair shops and auto parts stores that can run a “diagnostic scan” on your vehicle’s computer. But what does that mean, and where does that get you?

Simply put, check engine light diagnostics gives you a report of what the vehicle thinks is wrong with itself. Since 1996, every model sold in the US has been equipped with an OBD-II system. This is a vastly complicated system and it’s only getting more intense and that’s a good thing for us.
What you should know about these systems, is that they are constantly running car diagnostic tests on your vehicle. Those tests start the second after the vehicle is turned on and often are run when the key is inserted in the ignition.

The moment a sensor or an “input” shows a reading outside of what the car’s computer thinks is normal, it will trigger a code. These codes can be pulled from the car’s computer with an automotive scan tool.

Keep in mind, just because a code points to a particular component doesn’t mean the component is bad. It takes an experienced automotive technician to definitively pinpoint and diagnose the cause of a check engine light, resolve it, and verify the repair.

Car Diagnostic Test

When you bring your car to the experienced professionals at JP Auto and Fleet Services, that is exactly what you get.  A definitive answer to what the problem is, along with a fair priced solution to fix it.

Not all diagnostic codes set by the car’s computer will trigger a warning light on your dashboard. Scanning a vehicle without a check engine light on may still give you a code if there is one saved. 

There are also many issues that will not set a code at all. For these problems, there are physical diagnostic procedures to follow.  In these cases, technicians must rely on their many years of knowledge and experience to further troubleshoot the problem.

Tune Up vs. Car Diagnostics

Anytime an issue with your vehicle arises, there are certain procedures that the technicians at JP Auto & Fleet Services will go through to diagnose the problem. This procedure will vary depending on the system or component that is experiencing the issue.

Check engine light diagnostics differ from your regular vehicle tune up. Diagnostics are geared towards finding a specific problem and solving it. A tune up is geared towards providing normal scheduled maintenance to keep your vehicle running optimally, and to avoid any future issues.

With that said, many times a tune up can fix certain check engine light problems.

What Is An Engine Tune Up?

An engine tune up often focuses on your fuel and air intake systems in order to keep up your engine’s performance. This may include spark plug and wire replacements, distributor cap and rotor replacement (if applicable), cleaning the air intake, and cleaning the fuel injection system. While there may be similarities between a tune up and diagnosing a problem, generally diagnostics only focus on a particular symptom or set of warning signs.

Physical Car Diagnostics

While electrical vehicle diagnostic systems are becoming more encompassing. There are a lot of systems and parts that are not monitored by any kind of sensor.

These often include suspension and steering components, windows and doors, powered seats, and similar features. This is when having a trained automotive technician is best.

A trained eye can spot the issues right away, saving you time and money on lengthy car diagnostics. JP Auto & Fleet will typically credit you the cost of those auto diagnostics if you choose to have us do the repairs.

Vehicle Diagnostics And Knowing When to Ask for Help

An issue with a sensor that is easy to get to and replace can be repaired in the parking lot of an automotive parts store. However, for everything else, chances are you are going to need a few more tools and a little more knowledge.

There are some procedures that are best done right the first time, particularly when it comes to a safety system or suspension component. If your vehicle diagnostics have gotten above your head as well as above the automotive parts store’s pay grade, seek help from your local automotive repair experts at JP Auto and Fleet Services.

We’re standing by to help with your car diagnostics, automotive repairs, and your regularly scheduled engine tune-ups.

Schedule an Auto Repair Or Get a Quote Now.