What happens when something in your car starts acting up? You may have kept up on all your recommended maintenance and repairs with your car, but sometimes problems arise unexpectedly. Often, with this type of problem, the cause or failure isn’t immediately apparent. Our next step is to start a diagnosing the problem with your car. One of the questions I get often is, “Can’t you just plug it in and tell me what’s wrong?”.
It’s true that one of our most relied on tools are our vehicle diagnostic scanners, which are essentially computers with a specialized network to talk to your car. The scanner, or scan tool, can be a critical tool in determining where to start looking for the problem. Even the best factory scan tool has limitations. Scan tools in general can see whether the car’s computer thinks a part is working or not, but even if it sees a part as not working, it can’t tell us why it isn’t working. That’s when one of our trained technicians has to come in and perform specifics tests. Those tests could range from using a voltmeter to check the integrity of a wire, to visually inspecting a part by removing it. The scan tool is a great starting point, but it can’t always give us all the information we need to accurately tell you what is wrong. In fact, an analogy I often make is that diagnosing your car problem is a lot like going to the doctor. The doctor has lots of expensive test equipment that can gather data from, but it still requires their skill and experience to determine what all that data means.
In the age of computerized everything, it seems like it should just as simple as plugging it in. I recently had the speaker on my iPhone fail. I was chatting with Apple’s tech support and found myself feeling the same frustrated thought of, “Why can’t you just figure this out by plugging in my phone?”. Turns out, even something as advanced as an iPhone can’t always diagnose itself. I completely understand that it’s frustrating when faced with the cost of testing, which may or may not be successful in finding the problem. At Smart Service, all our technician’s undergo regular training on top of their real-world experience to make sure that we do everything we can to find the problem correctly the first time. If your having a problem with your car, whether a Subaru, Toyota or Honda, give us a call or schedule online to set up an appointment and we’ll do everything we can to track it down!