Engine Diagnostics

When your check engine light or maintenance indicator light comes on it is always best to bring it into the shop to have it analyzed right away. This is done by plugging a diagnostic tool into your cars computer to extract specific codes that direct us to where the problem lies.

Once we know what the problem is we give you all of the options available for remedying the situation. Sometimes it can be something extremely simple, and other times there is a big repair job ahead. Let’s take a look at why the diagnostic element is important, and why it should be done at a repair shop and not a parts supply shop.

Time & Expense?

Time / 10 / 100

Expense / 10 / 100

The Check Engine Light

The check engine light comes on because there is a problem with one of your car’s systems. It could be something very minor or something potentially damaging. The problem is that a car’s computer is very sophisticated, and it is able to compensate for a problem in one system by changing the parameters of another system. This results in a ride that feels so similar to how the car normally runs that the owner might dismiss the check engine light and leave it undiagnosed for a few weeks. This can cause stress in the compensating systems and could make the vehicle very vulnerable to damage.

Of course, this is not always the case. Something as simple as not tightening the gas cap enough can cause the check engine light to come on. Since there is no simple way to diagnose the problem without the appropriate tools and knowledge it is best to have it checked, even if it is between your regular maintenance interval.

Why not use a free service?

It is best to pay to have this service done for you by a trustworthy technician and not have it done for free at an auto parts store. Let’s say, for example, the code comes up that it is the Oxygen Sensor, an auto parts store might just sell you a new oxygen sensor, meaning that their “free” diagnostic test actually cost you an expensive part. When you pay a moderate fee to have the diagnostic test done by a trained technician, you get knowledgable analysis of all of the possible causes of that error message. They might be able to see that the oxygen sensor warning has been caused by a simple vacuum leak.

Engine diagnostic test at a shop: $25-45

VS

“Free” diagnostic test + new Oxygen Sensor at a parts store: $150-300.

In the end, just find someone you trust who does not have an agenda to oversell you. If a service is “free” it might mean they are over charging you in another area to make up the expense!

FAQ

The general rule is: if the Service Engine Soon Light is on, and the car seems to be running ok, you can drive it. However, you should have it checked at your earliest convenience.
Probably not. Check Engine Lights often come and go. Even if the light is out, your vehicle’s computer system will retain information that will allow the problem to be diagnosed. To avoid potential long term issues, get it checked out.
Maybe, but I wouldn’t. Removing the battery cable or an ECM or PCM fuse may clear the code, but it is not universally recommended in the industry. Most manufacturers advise against it.

Make an appointment

If your vehicle is ready for maintenance or have any further questions please be in touch via phone or email. You can find all of our contact information and location right here and at the top of each page on this site. You will be greeted by one of the handsome fellas below, who are happy to take your questions any time of day to make you feel confident that you are making sound decisions regarding your vehicle’s health.

Meet The Team

Gerry Brouwer
Founder, Owner

I started learning the automotive trade from my father as a small boy, asking questions, watching...

Kevin Rathwell
Mechanic

Hi, I’m Kevin Rathwell, and I am a mechanic at Parkside Motors. I was born in the Yukon, bu...

Andy Dixon
Mechanic

My name is Andy Dixon, and I am a proud member of the Parkside Motors team. I was born in England...