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Feb 25, 2019

Some vehicle owners wonder why Auto Repair Service and other auto repair shops charge a fee for vehicle diagnostics.

Receiving a diagnostic charge for a tricky automotive problem shouldn't be a surprise. Automotive diagnostics can cover quite a range of possible diagnosis'. If you hear a noise in your vehicle brakes when you slow down in rush-hour traffic on a busy MN road, you pull off at the next off-ramp and take a quick visual check, that may be sufficient to understand what's going on and what may need to be done. On the other hand, if you're having an intermittent problem with your vehicle engine, a more involved diagnosis may be required to figure out the issue.

Much of a driver's confusion comes when the problem involves the Check Engine light. The Check Engine light comes on when the engine management computer has sensed a problem.

There's a common misconception among drivers that the trouble code tells a vehicle service technician exactly what's wrong. They wonder why there is a diagnostic charge because the scanner quickly gave the diagnosis.

In reality, it is not that easy and straightforward. The computer monitors many sensors throughout the vehicle. When one of these sensors has a reading that's out of parameters, the computer will record a trouble code and turn on the Check Engine light.

The vehicle computer's trouble code just tells the technician what engine parameter is out of range, not what's causing it. The technician needs to determine the underlying problem that's causing the malfunction.

There are many problems that could cause a troublesome sensor reading for vehicle consumers. Our ASE Master Certified Technicians make a list of the most likely causes and begin tracking down the source of the problem. This takes time.

Service centers subscribe to databases that document possible causes for all the possible trouble codes. The databases outline procedures for confirming a diagnosis and provide the documented repair. These databases are specific to each vehicle and engine combination.

Some diagnoses are quick and easy. Others are more involved, time-consuming and difficult. Our goal is to figure out what is wrong with your vehicle and get you back on the road as quickly as possible.