What is an engine diagnostic check? When you see a warning light come on that says: “Check Engine,” or just an icon of an engine, an engine diagnostics check will pinpoint the problem before it becomes more expensive. Modern vehicles now have on-board computers known as an Engine Control Unit, or ECU. This unit monitors the performance of the vehicle. This light acts as a warning, and is your first indication of something not right.
Engine Diagnostic Check Made Easy
In 1996, all vehicles sold in the US required a common standard. This made it easy for the small business repair shops to scan different makes of vehicles without having to buy expensive equipment for each brand of car or truck.
The standard is called OBD II (On-Board Diagnostics, version II). Computers now control the automatic transmission, ignition and fuel injection systems on most new cars and trucks.
Sensors monitor data from the engine and other systems all over the vehicle, and send commands to the fuel injectors and ignition coils to fire the cylinders. The data also controls the combustion process, providing the correct amount of fuel and the correct engine ignition timing that result in strong power, economy and low pollution.
These computer systems have also made tune ups a thing of the past. The tune up process is simplified to a few basic items that are easily replaceable.
How Do I Check for Codes?
Scan tools used to be cost prohibitive. Now, Anyone can have one in their glove box. Prices start from $40 or so for a mindless code reader that only shows trouble codes. Most auto parts stores will also check codes for you if you ask.
Some auto repair shops charge for auto diagnostic services, but if auto parts stores offer to scan your vehicle for free, you are probably wondering, “Why pay?”
As more people are price shopping than ever before, the cost of getting what you pay for seems to be left out of the equation. You might get a good guess as to where the problem is. An auto parts store is in the business to sell you parts for your vehicle, and not fix them.
Certified mechanics, on the other hand, invest thousands of hours in training and tens of thousands of dollars on specialty equipment and tools. Their business is working on cars every day. You can bet safely that their equipment investment alone will be superior to anything available at the auto parts store or one you can buy inexpensively.
Avoiding Serious Problems
Is your check engine light blinking? A flashing Check Engine Light is an indication of an engine misfire, which could severely damage your catalytic converters. Engine misfire is a severe condition that can result in a car fire or other expensive repairs. If your check engine light is blinking, get to a auto repair facility immediately. An engine diagnostic check is necessary.