How do car computer diagnostics work?
Almost every car includes a powertrain control module (PCM), usually found under the driver’s side instrument panel. This module monitors the operation of dozens of car components.
Each component has a normal operating range, and if the car component operates out of that normal range, the PCM registers the issue and stores it as a diagnostic code. This type of code is what triggers the light on your car’s dashboard.
What kind of issues can car computer diagnostics uncover?
A diagnostic code can indicate an electrical issue, a mechanical problem like an engine vacuum leak, or something else entirely. Codes can even be triggered when there’s nothing wrong with the electronics. When your mechanic runs a computer diagnostics test, he or she is scanning the PCM for these diagnostic codes. While these computer diagnostic codes identify the source of the problem, they will not indicate whether a part needs replacing. That’s where the expertise of your car mechanic comes in.
What are my next steps?
When you schedule an appointment now at one of Virginia Tire & Auto’s 14 service centers in Northern Virginia, you’ll get comprehensive car computer diagnosis by a diagnostic expert. Our test includes a visual inspection of related components, a complete system analysis, thorough research of all related service bulletins, test drives, pinpoint testing and finally, the component diagnosis.
Once the diagnostic scan is performed and codes are identified, the technician may have to perform additional checks, such as mechanical or electrical analysis to determine why the light was set off in the first place. Extensive training and experience are necessary to fully understand and determine what these additional tests should be. After the technician knows why the light is on, the technician will recommend the appropriate service and provide an estimate for the work.