How Much for a Diagnosis?
The Code Reader is Not the Magic Bullet
What is really involved in an accurate and cost effective diagnostic process? The vast majority of the vehicles on the road today have numerous computers or control modules, all linked together and communicating with each other.
- Detailed information from the customer regarding the nature of the concern
- A well trained and highly skilled technician to navigate the process
- Information specific to the vehicle being diagnosed, and
- A variety of diagnostic equipment and the knowledge on how and when to use these machines
A customer came to me recently and asked the price to replace her EGR (exhaust gas recirculation) valve. She felt that service was needed because a quick lube had scanned her computer and the code indicated that the valve was bad. This particular model is notorious for plugged EGR passages. Without further testing, beyond the computer scan, there is a good chance that replacement of an expensive EGR valve would not have fixed the problem, the same computer code would have returned, and additional expense would be incurred to finally repair the problem.
The Doctor vs. the Automotive Technician
We often use the analogy of the doctor’s office for how and why a diagnostic process should be performed.
We accept that a doctor will need to schedule some time for us to come into the office so that he/she can examine us. We need to provide some detail as to what is ailing us, so the doctor can focus on the source of the problem. We understand that research and the use of specialized test equipment is necessary, and it will require a trained technician to analyze the data from the specialized equipment.
And yet, we have trouble accepting that all of the above statements are equally true when substituting the word automotive technician for the word doctor…But they are!
We don’t go to the supermarket pharmacy for a free MRI so why do we go to the cut-rate parts house for a free computer scan?