Car Diagnostics & Check Engine Light Service
Today, most cars are controlled by computers. The fuel injectors, the spark plugs, the steering system and more are all told when to fire and when to move by an on-board computer system. If something’s going wrong with your car or engine, your on-board computer can tell you about it. If the computer senses something is wrong with one of your car’s systems, it will turn on a dashboard light, like “ABS Brakes” or something less specific, like “Check Engine.”
Some people try to disregard their Check Engine light. And some have even gone as far as disabling it and that could be a costly move. The best thing to do when your check engine light appears is to bring your vehicle in to a Driver’s Edge location for a professional ASE Certified diagnostic service.
Driver’s Edge has the latest automotive diagnostic equipment to identify what part of your engine or vehicle needs service. Often, it has something to do with increased emissions. Once we determine what the problem is we’ll carefully review with you what (if any) work needs to be done and exactly how much it will cost. With Driver’s Edge, there are never any unpleasant surprises. We do our best to keep you informed every step of the way.
Reasons Your Check Engine Light Comes On
It is common for your check engine light to illuminate momentarily when you first start your vehicle. But if the light stays on, your vehicle’s internal computer system is trying to tell you that there is an issue.
A steadily illuminated check engine light indicates that there is a problem but it may not yet be serious. Your vehicle could simply require an adjustment or need a part replaced. If the light is flashing, this is indicative of a serious problem within your vehicle’s ignition, fuel, or emission systems and should not be ignored. Whether the light is steady or flashing, bring your vehicle into your closest Driver’s Edge location as soon as possible for a car diagnostic test. We can pinpoint and address the issue and perhaps help you avoid costly repairs.
It can be hard to say for certain what is causing your light to come on without having a check engine light diagnostic service done. There are some common causes of a steady or flashing check engine light, including:
- A loose gas cap
- Failing oxygen sensor (O2 sensor)
- Bad spark plug or ignition coil
- Bad spark plug wires
- An issue with the catalytic converter
- Bad mass airflow (MAF) sensor
- System running too rich or too lean
- EGR valve problem
- Engine vacuum leak
- Excessive fuel consumption or release of air pollutants
These are just a few reasons that your check engine light may be on. Our ASE-certified technicians specialize in diagnostic services and can help identify any issues and you get back on the road.
Book an appointment now for a check engine light diagnostic service at Driver’s Edge.
What Car Diagnostic Scans Tell Us
Modern vehicles are highly computerized with computer processors, microchips, and sensors throughout the engine and other components. All of these things can signal problems within the transmission system, exhaust system, ignition system, oil tank, gas tank, and more. During a car diagnostic scan, our auto technicians hook a car diagnostic computer to your vehicle and determine which engine or component parameters are out of normal range. Any abnormal variances will produce a trouble code. These codes, which point to specific systems or components, make it easier during further diagnostics to zero in on exactly where problems may be.
The car diagnostic scan of your vehicle is almost like having a detailed physical done at the doctor. It will tell us very specific things about your vehicle, including:
- Ignition and timing issues
- Performance of the fuel injectors
- The level of buildup in the combustion engine
- Whether the ignition coils are firing properly
- Air and coolant temperatures
- Engine rpm levels
- Crankshaft and camshaft position
- Throttle opening
When the car diagnostic test is complete, the computer will produce any specific trouble codes for any issues that need to be corrected. Those codes then direct the technicians to look in a specific area for the problem.
The diagnostic tools used can also scan the vehicle’s computer system for manufacturer-specific notifications and stored information about the vehicle’s history. This gives us a more complete picture in order to determine exactly what should be done and be able to perform the best repair possible.
Common Diagnostic Codes
On-Board Diagnostics, Version II (OBD II) diagnostic trouble codes will range from P0100 to P1899. Each letter and number in the code refers to a specific part of the vehicle. Most often, the first letter is often a “P,” which refers to the power train. Other codes that start with a “B” refer to the body, a “C” refers to the chassis and a “U” means undefined.
In the second placeholder, the number zero is a generic code shared by all manufacturers. But, some manufacturers use a specific code in this place so the number 1 may appear here. The third digit determines the specific area of the problem. More specifically:
- 1 = fuel or air problem
- 2 = a problem with the injector circuit
- 3 = an ignition problem or the engine is misfiring
- 4 = an emission control problem
- 5 = a vehicle speed or idle control problem
- 6 = a computer or output circuit problem
- 7 or an 8 = a transmission problem
The fourth and fifth digits of the diagnostic trouble code refer to more specific information to further identify which system is malfunctioning. These digits vary by vehicle make, so the technician can decipher what the rest of the code means for your vehicle.
The Benefits Of Having Car Diagnostic Service Done
One of the biggest benefits of having a car diagnostic service done is the time and money that can be saved. Today’s diagnostic capabilities now make it possible to catch problems before they become larger, more expensive issues. Also, having a diagnostic test done using an auto scan tool takes out almost all of the guesswork of the past. It saves you and your technician a lot of time troubleshooting a problem, and it saves you money.
With a computerized car diagnostic check, the specific problem is highlighted so that the technician will fix only what needs to be fixed on your vehicle. Also, because it is simply a matter of hooking up your car’s computer to the scanning device, a car diagnostic check can be performed rather quickly. So the test itself is not something that will keep your vehicle at the auto service center all day.
Frequently Asked Questions
You don’t have to wait until your check engine light comes on to have a car diagnostic service done. If you start to hear or feel something different when driving your vehicle, bring it in for a diagnostic test to accurately determine what is going on.
It is a good idea to take a proactive approach and make car diagnostic tests a regular part of your preventative maintenance routine. Bringing your vehicle in for diagnostics at least once a year will help uncover minor problems that can’t be seen or heard yet and will not yet cause a check engine light. This saves you more money by helping you avoid costly major car repairs in the future.
Another instance where you should have a car diagnostic test done is when you are checking out a used car to purchase. This can help give you an idea of what kind of shape the vehicle is truly in before purchasing it.
Book your appointment online now for a car diagnostic service at your closest Driver’s Edge location. Make sure to check out our coupons page for the latest deals to help save you money on vehicle diagnostics or other repair services.
Comprehensive car diagnostic tests, like the ones we perform here at Driver’s Edge, analyze all of your vehicle’s most important systems. They can help pinpoint problems within the vehicle’s engine, transmission, exhaust system, brakes, and other major systems and components, as well as performance issues with the ignition coils, fuel injector, timing, airflow, coolant, and throttle.
No. The code tells us where in the engine or components that the fault was measured, but not exactly what’s wrong. You will still need to bring your vehicle into a service center for professional diagnostic services to determine just what the problem is.
Book your appointment online for a car diagnostic service at Driver’s Edge today!