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AUTONET TV

On Board Diagnostics for Your vehicle

Posted January 7, 2018 10:59 AM



Today we're going to talk about on-board diagnostics and the questions we hear from folks around Suwanee, GA, who need answers about diagnostic services. They want to know what diagnostics are, what's involved and what the benefits are. They really want to understand the value of diagnostic scans by a trained technician in Suwanee.

These are valid concerns. If you don't understand something it's really hard to know its value. Let's start with some history.

Since 1996, all cars and light trucks in Suwanee, GA, have been required to use a standardized diagnostic system to help repair technicians determine what's wrong with your vehicle. The diagnostic system works with the vehicle's Engine Control Module – the computer that controls many engine functions.

The computer monitors dozens of components and processes. Depending on what the sensors read, the computer will make adjustments to compensate for conditions and minor problems. When there is a condition that it can't adjust for, the computer will turn on the Check Engine light.

It is also called the 'service engine soon' light on some vehicles. The warning light signals you to get into your local service center so that the trouble code can be read and the problem can be fixed. Your service center will have a scan tool and powerful software that will help the technician diagnose the problem.

If you've searched for Check Engine light on the internet, you may have seen that you can buy an inexpensive scanner or go to an auto parts store to have the trouble code read to tell you exactly what's wrong.

That's a common myth. The code itself doesn't tell you what's broken. It starts you looking in the right place. It tells you what engine parameter is out of range – but it won't tell you what's wrong or how to fix it.

Let's say you think your daughter has a fever. You take her temperature and it reads 102 degrees F/38.9 degrees C. You've confirmed a fever, but you don't know what's causing it. Is it a 24 hour flu, an infection, appendicitis or leukemia? A fever is a symptom of all of these medical problems, but it takes a skilled physician's examination and additional diagnostic tests to find out what is actually causing the fever.

An example of a trouble code could be: P0133, which reads 'Bank 1 sensor 1 circuit slow response.' This means that the front oxygen sensor has a slow response time to changes in the air-fuel mix. If that's all you knew about cars, you would think your oxygen sensor was broken and would replace it. Now, it could be the oxygen sensor – but it could also be a bad or contaminated airflow sensor, exhaust leak, electrical problem, an intake manifold leak or any of a number of other things.

You can imagine a lot of oxygen sensors have been replaced because of that code. So the on-board diagnostics point the way to where the trouble lies, but it takes some skill and high-tech equipment to actually pinpoint the problem. The cheap scan tools that a consumer can buy do not have the ability to retrieve some of the operating history that's stored in the engine control computer. That history's very helpful in diagnosing the problem. Service centers like D.C. Auto invest a lot of money in high-end diagnostic tools to help solve the mystery and get you back on the road as soon as possible without replacing a lot of parts that don't need replacing.

So, on-board diagnostics provide a powerful starting place for a highly-trained, well-equipped technician to get to the bottom of your problem. When your Check Engine light comes on, get it checked at D.C. Auto. If the light burns steadily – don't panic. Get in to D.C. Auto soon to have the engine scanned. A flashing Check Engine light means that there is a severe engine problem. Get in as soon as you can – waiting too long can lead to very expensive damage.

And try to not drive at high speed or tow or haul heavy loads with a flashing Check Engine light.

Make an appointment with D.C. Auto to have your on board diagnostics analyzed.

D.C. Auto
7120 McGinnis Ferry Rd.
Suwanee, GA 30024
(770) 495-0909



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Testimonials

  • Tom and the folks at D.C. Auto are simply the best. I've had a good bit of work done on my vehicles over the years and have always been treated well. They're honest, thoroughly explain the problem and charge reasonable prices; everything that you could ask for in a mechanic.
    -Tony D.

  • Been a DC Auto customer for almost 6 years now. Tom and his crew are top people - never disappointed. Always upfront and honest. Never "pushed" an addon or any sorts like that. One can only smile at a couple of pointed and personal reviews here. Never had "that" problem at DC Auto. Would recommend.
    -Raju S.

  • Always helpful, always cheerful. Honest estimates, and won't recommend work that isn't needed. If the problem falls outside of their ability, they will tell you right up front. I've taken multiple cars there for years and have never had a problem.
    -Charles P.

  • I have been going to DC Auto since it first opened. The staff is highly knowledgeable and courteous. Tom is one of the most honest men I know. He is highly ethical and never tries to "up-sell." The work is always superior. After all these years I can't see myself going to any other auto service company.
    -Louis C.

  • Awesome service at a great price. Always stands behind his work. Tom runs a great shop with great employees and always a smile and a story. Honest no gimmicks what all businesses should be.
    -Ron T.

  • I have been a customer with DC Auto for close to four years. I have NEVER had an unpleasurable experience. They know who I am when I pull in and do their very best to keep me and my family safe on the road! The crew at DC Auto is outstanding and the customer service is phenomenal.
    -Jessica R.

  • 5 stars...the guys at DC Auto have taken care of our family's cars since they opened. I just brought in my 2005 Honda Pilot with an oil leak. They found the leaky oil pan and replaced it. Not surprising on a 205,000 vehicle - drain plug was getting stripped out. She STill runs like new because I keep it maintained (at DC Auto). Fact is they do great work, they're honest and prices are good. No stupid high pressure. I trust them. Highly recommend.
    -Jerry M.

  • Fantastic service shop my husband and I (as well as several friends we recommended them to) have used for years. I know "honesty" isn't often a word associated with car mechanics but Tom and Rob have always shot us straight about our vehicles, and I know it to be true because several times, their advice to us has actually cost them a repair job (and saved us money). They typically get us scheduled same day or maybe the next, and the turnaround time is speedy. For hometown feel, honest opinions about your car, great service techs and reasonable prices, use DC Auto.
    -Megan H.

  • DC Auto is the what every car repair shop should be. These guys are great! They easily find what is wrong and fix it in a timely manner. The other reason I will refer anyone here is because their pricing is very reasonable. This place is better than others and WILL NOT overcharge you for every little and last thing. Go to this place for any car maintenance big or small. Tom and Robert in particular are who I would suggest, although everyone on staff is very good.
    -Dan C.

  • 10/10. Would recommend. Personable and knowledgeable mechanics that don't try to rip you off. Great quality work for reasonable pricing.
    -Kaylee M.