Understanding car diagnostic testing

Most luxury car service centers offer what is popularly known as car diagnostics services or testing. While the name is straightforward and means just what it says, are you, as a customer, fully aware of the benefits and what the service provides you? Read on to get an in depth understanding of why diagnostic testing services are an important part of the maintenance and upkeep of your car.

How does your car let you know that there is a problem?

Every luxury car comes equipped with an electronic control unit or what is popularly known as an ECU. In layman terms this is basically your car’s on-board computer. The job of this little chip is to monitor the various systems in your car and sound an alert the moment one or more of them has a problem. What the ECU cannot tell you is the seriousness of the problem. This is where car diagnostics testing comes in. So, the moment you see that alarm on the dash board, head straight down to your authorized service center to have your car checked.

How is the problem diagnosed?

Now that you’ve taken your vehicle to have the car diagnostics done, how does it work? Each service center is equipped with automotive diagnostics tools from the manufacturer. This is connected to the ECU of your car and diagnostics is run. In most cases the ECU can send the error code to the tool enabling the service center to understand the problem that set of the warning light system on your car dashboard. The diagnostics system can also check your vehicle’s emission levels, manifold vacuum, engine temperature, fuel system pressure, throttle response and idle speed. However, one must keep in mind that this technology serves merely as a guideline. You still need a trained technician to look at your vehicle.

Should you ignore the warning light?

Most drivers tend to ignore the warning light and the need to run car diagnostics if there is no apparent problem with the car. There could be no bigger mistake. The ECU of the car picks up the slightest anomaly and indicates it. This anomaly may not be affecting the performance of the car in an apparent way, but it could lead to bigger or more expensive problems later. Therefore, manufacturers advice that you get your car checked at the earliest if you see a warning light on your dashboard. Prevention is always better than cure.

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