Your car takes you from the starting point to point B, operates well, and has no odd sounds or issues. It means everything is good and well, doesn’t it? Not necessarily.
There may be a minor problem that isn’t immediately apparent, hiding somewhere in the engine or other systems of the car. However, as you accumulate miles, this sneaky issue will only worsen. Your car may no longer be safe when you finally realize it.
The good news is that a car diagnostic test can help you identify issues early on. Using the engine control unit (ECU), the car’s core computer, this test examines the engine. Continue reading to find out how often should you get a car diagnostic test and what it includes.
How Often Should I Get My Car Diagnosed?
To start with, how frequently does your car require a diagnostic test? It turns out that answering the first question can be the most challenging.
It is not strictly necessary for your car to undergo a diagnostic test. Unlike brake repairs or oil changes, the test doesn’t genuinely maintain any operating-critical or single-safety components. It only checks the systems in your automobile for any potential covert problems.
Nevertheless, getting a car diagnostic test done at least once a year is still a smart idea. Doing a quarterly computer system check is not too much if you genuinely want to be safe.
By doing this, you can ensure that every part and system in your car operates as it should. By avoiding the need for roadside assistance and emergency repairs, you’ll also save money.
Situations in Which a Diagnostic Test is Needed
In addition to the yearly tests, there are times outside the regular schedule wherein a diagnostic test is necessary. Bring your vehicle in for an inspection if any of the following situations happen to you.
- The Check Engine Light Is On: Although it is something we all hate to see, a Check Engine light may inform you of possibly serious issues. Some common causes of check engine lights may include a loose gas cap and a dead battery. Get a check engine light diagnostic as soon as possible if it illuminates, along with any other warning light.
- Strange Noises: You are aware of the ideal sound for your vehicle. Your engine may have issues if you hear strange noises, such as grinding, rattling, whining, or clanking.
- Engine Issues: Does your engine run poorly, smoke, backfire, or consume fuel faster than usual? All of them indicate engine problems that require diagnosis.
- Bought a Used Vehicle: Before you give the dealer any money for a secondhand car, demand that they do a diagnostic test. If they say no, you should look for another place to buy a car.
Regular maintenance that includes diagnostic testing can also contribute to the overall well-being of your car. If you need a mechanic to diagnose your vehicle, call our auto repair shop in Las Vegas at (702) 363-9191.
What Exactly Is a Car Diagnostic Test?
Cars manufactured within the previous thirty years or so have substantially computerized your car. Although it may not seem like it, your car has a network of sensors and chips continuously monitoring the engine’s operation.
Technicians greatly profit from this level of computerization, even though computers are not infallible. They access the vehicle’s computer systems during a diagnostic test to find any issues the ECU has missed.
Nevertheless, the computer in your automobile won’t inform the mechanic immediately that your transmission is broken. Instead, the technician will determine the most likely issue by analyzing several performance reports.
Taking your car to a reputable Las Vegas auto repair shop is essential for diagnostic testing because these procedures require certain skills and equipment.
Which parts will be tested by technicians?
In a comparatively short period, car computers have evolved significantly. Because of this, car mechanics can now use the computer in a car to diagnose issues with a wide range of parts and systems. A diagnostic test will look for:
- Issues with the engine and other specific parts that the computer monitors
- Issues with brake or transmission systems
- Wear or damage to essential parts, such as the fuel injector, ignition, or throttle
- Exhaust system wear or contaminants that can cause issues with emission tests
- Engine oil and coolant levels
The diagnostic test gives mechanics a clear picture of your car’s general health and condition. It cannot, however, check for every potential problem. For instance, it might not be able to detect something like worn brake pads or if wheel alignment is necessary due to the age and type of your car.
What Happens During a Diagnostic Test?
When a diagnostic test is performed, experts connect to your car’s computer system to find hidden issues. Of course, there’s more to the entire process than that. While there are differences in the working processes of various auto repair companies, the general process is as follows:
- The technician starts the test after attaching the scanner to your vehicle.
- Any potential error codes from your car will be fed into the scanner, allowing the mechanic to decipher and examine them.
- The mechanic identifies which vehicle parts require repair using their knowledge and experience.
- The technician will identify the trouble spots and then physically examine them to determine the underlying source of the issues.
- If your vehicle needs maintenance or repairs to address the issues, the mechanic will discuss the necessary actions with you.
- To ensure the error codes have vanished, the technician could do one more diagnostic test when the repairs are complete.
How Long Does a Car Diagnostic Test Take?
An automotive diagnostic test typically takes one and a half hours. However, it’s challenging to determine how long the engine diagnostic test will take, so this is simply an approximate estimate.
It usually takes a few minutes to retrieve the error codes from the car’s computer, but that’s just the start. Technicians will need to use their own eyes to visually inspect the most probable areas, as the codes won’t pinpoint the specific location of the issue.
The diagnostic test may take several hours or even days, depending on the problems they find and the required repairs. The following factors could make the test run longer than an hour or so:
- Extensive wear or damage to the car
- The number of issues
- The technician’s unfamiliarity with the make or model of your vehicle
- Difficulty in determining the cause of error codes
Benefits of Getting Your Car Diagnosed
The automation of cars has simplified life for both auto technicians and owners. Everyone benefits greatly when a quick diagnostic test is performed with a handheld scanner, and these benefits include:
- Cheaper and Quick Maintenance: Before car computers, diagnosing any issues with the vehicle was both time-consuming and expensive. Thanks to computers, the money and time needed for maintenance has drastically decreased.
- Extended Car Life Span: Diagnostic tests assist mechanics in identifying minor problems before they become serious. You can prevent major component failures that could ruin your car entirely.
- Improved Car Performance: Regular tests keep your car’s systems and parts in peak operational condition. Properly maintained parts maximize engine power and improve fuel economy per tank.
- Improved Safety: You and everyone around you will stay safer on the road if you promptly address issues. When every minor issue is fixed, your car won’t suddenly lose control and maybe hurt someone.
- Better Car Care: The diagnostic tests for fault codes give technicians a deeper understanding of cars. They can give you the best service possible and advance their knowledge of the problems that particular cars may encounter.
Get a Reliable Car Diagnostic Test in Las Vegas
You should have your car diagnosed frequently if you reside in a place with unpredictable weather or difficult roads. Las Vegas, unfortunately for your car, is one of those places.
Your car’s interior can quickly become covered in leaves and dirt during the sweltering summer months, leading to various problems. In the winter, your car may sustain damage from the freezing temperatures and ice roadways. For this reason, it’s critical to keep an eye on issues.
All European Auto Repair in Las Vegas provides complete car diagnostics. We’ll offer a complimentary courtesy check if you bring your car in. If our skilled technicians discover any problems, they will notify you, and you will be the one to decide how to solve them.
Schedule a diagnostic appointment online or call us today to have your car tested.