Blog Post

6 Common Misconceptions About Car Diagnostics

Modern vehicles utilize extensive computer networks called the onboard diagnostics (OBD-II) system. The OBD-II continuously captures information about your engine, transmission, brakes, and other systems. Car diagnostics involves retrieving the information saved on your onboard computer. Once the data and trouble codes are retrieved— preferably— by a mechanic, they can interpret the information and offer insight into your vehicle’s performance. 

While car diagnostics is relatively straightforward, several myths have developed about the process. And with every car diagnostics myth, there is some level of truth cloaked in lies or misconceptions. This can make it difficult to discern facts from friction. Fortunately, the team at Modern Auto Service in Fruitland ID are experts in car diagnostics. Let’s explore some of the most common car diagnostics myths and uncover the truth underneath.

Myth #1: A Car Diagnostic Test Is Never Worth It

Few things can be farther from the truth. Similar to an annual physical exam by your physician, car diagnostics can be beneficial for your vehicle. Car diagnostics can be instrumental in detecting problems early — well before they display any symptoms. And the earlier you can detect minor problems, the sooner you can begin the repair process. However, if a minor problem goes undetected, it will snowball into a much more expensive repair. Because of this, a car diagnostics test is always worth it and can save you thousands in repairs.

Myth #2: A Car Diagnostics Test Is Nothing More Than Reading Codes?

While anyone can read codes, only an experienced mechanic in Fruitland ID can effectively perform car diagnostics. Using a code scanner and retrieving codes is the first step in determining what’s wrong with your vehicle. If you were to retrieve the error code and stop, you may incorrectly assume certain parts of your vehicle need to be replaced. This common assumption can lead to costly and unnecessary repairs.

Instead, the mechanic at Modern Auto Service will always take it a step further and ask “Why?’ For example, if your error code indicates something amiss with your oxygen sensors, this doesn’t necessarily mean you should replace the sensor. Far too often, it means that something else is causing the problem, which requires additional expertise and investigation.

Myth 3: All I Need to Fix My Car Is a Code Scanner

Just like a wrench or screwdriver, a code scanner is a tool. Any tool is designed to enhance the ability of the mechanic. Simply put, the code scanner can’t effectively diagnose or repair your vehicle. It can offer clues and tips on the underlying problem. More so, the code scanner can offer guidance and help a mechanic know where to look. To effectively use the code scanner, you must understand how your vehicle works and how each part interacts. 

Myth 4: I Should Only Have Car Diagnostics When My Check Engine Light Comes On

If your Check Engine Light or any other dashboard indicator is illuminated, it’s always a good idea to have car diagnostics. However, that’s not the only time you should have vehicle diagnostics performed. Like your annual physical exam with your doctor, most automotive experts suggest you have car diagnostics at least once every year. In addition, you should have car diagnostics any time your vehicle displays any out-of-the-ordinary symptoms. 

Myth 5: I Should Have Car Diagnostics Done at Every Maintenance Interval

Due to the costs associated with car diagnostics, it’s not feasible to have one performed at every oil change or every service interval. At the same time, it’s usually not needed. As such, we suggest car diagnostics at least once a year or whenever their vehicle displays signs, such as:

  • Power outages
  • Check Engine Light comes on
  • Any dashboard indicator is illuminated
  • You hear unusual sounds
  • You detect weird smells
  • Your engine runs roughly
  • Your car stops and requires a restart
  • And any other strange or out-of-the-ordinary performance

Myth 6: Diagnostic Tests Can Only Scan Certain Parts of Your Vehicle

Because Modern Auto Service utilizes the latest and most advanced digital vehicle diagnostics equipment, our mechanic can scan virtually every part of your vehicle. Some of the most common areas our digital vehicle diagnostics tool reveals problems with include:

  • Exhaust system
  • Transmission
  • Engine
  • Brakes
  • Airflow
  • Coolant
  • Fuel injector
  • Throttle
  • Ignition coils 
  • And more

To maximize your car diagnostics, it’s best to focus on a specific area or problem. In doing so, we can drive the most accurate results and resolve problems more efficiently.

Contact Modern Auto Service in Fruitland ID for Car Diagnostics

At Modern Auto Service, we provide vehicle diagnostic services for Asian, domestic, and many other vehicles. In addition to vehicle diagnostics, we offer a full range of automotive repair and maintenance solutions. Whether you have an illuminated Check Engine Light or need an oil change, Modern Auto Service in Fruitland, ID, is your one-stop shop. 

Call us at (208) 452-2886 or drop by our full-service auto shop at 1225 S Pennsylvania Ave., Fruitland, ID 83619.