Breaking down diagnostics. When we Albuquerque residents get a car repair bill, we really shouldn’t be surprised to find “diagnostic fees” as one of the line items. When we get a computer fixed, there is usually a charge for the time it takes to diagnose the problem. When we go to a medical doctor, most of his fee is for his ability to diagnose what’s wrong. It’s no different with our vehicles.
Some diagnoses are fairly simple. Brake repairs at Christian’s Automotive and Tire usually require only a visual inspection, for instance. But other problems are much more difficult to diagnose. Check engine lights. An intermittent engine problem, for example, takes time and expertise to pinpoint.
Modern vehicles have multiple computers that monitor a variety of sensors throughout the vehicle. When one of those sensors has a reading that is higher or lower than the standard parameters, the computer turns on the Check Engine light. Technicians at a service center such as Christian’s Automotive and Tire in Albuquerque can scan the engine’s computer for a trouble code. This code tells the technician which reading is too high or too low.
That’s where some Albuquerque residents get confused. They think that this reading concludes the diagnosis, and they don’t understand why the diagnostic fee is as much as it is when all the technician did was to scan the computer. But the truth is the trouble code is only the beginning of the diagnostic procedure.
Remember, the trouble code only tells which reading is out of parameter. It doesn’t say what is causing the reading to be too high or too low. Your Christian’s Automotive service technician still has to find the underlying problem. It’s a lot like going to the doctor. He can take your temperature and discover that you have a fever, but that doesn’t tell him what is causing your fever.
Automotive diagnostics technology can cut down the time it takes to figure out what’s wrong with a vehicle that isn’t running right. But it doesn’t do away with the need for your friendly and knowledgeable Christian’s Automotive and Tire service technician to make a proper diagnosis. Car care, like medical care, still requires the human touch.