Does your car seem more sluggish than usual, maybe when overtaking another vehicle or trying to climb a hill? Have you noticed warning lights appearing on your dashboard but you’re not sure what they mean?
These are all signs that you should consider scheduling a car diagnostics test. It’s better to identify the problem now before more serious damage occurs, potentially landing you with a big repair bill.
Why are your car dashboard warning lights on?
Most modern cars carry an on-board computer known as an Engine Control Unit (ECU) which continually monitors the car’s performance. The ECU is connected to sensors all over the car which will send alerts if there are issues such as low fluid levels or increased engine temperature. Each issue carries its own unique error code which triggers a corresponding warning light on your dashboard.
Why do you need a car diagnostics test?
Carrying out a car diagnostics test can reveal any problems associated with the engine, transmission, fuel tank, oil tank, exhaust system and other components. With the use of specialist vehicle diagnostic equipment, a trained mechanic can pinpoint the location and nature of the problem. This will enable the right repair to be made in a quick and timely manner before the problem gets bigger and more expensive to correct.
What will a car diagnostics test tell you?
Your car diagnostic test will provide information about the following components.
- Ignition timing
- Fuel pump and filter
- Fuel injectors
- Ignition coils
- PCV valve
- Engine RPM
- Points and condenser
- Air and coolant temperature
- Crankshaft and camshaft position
- Spark plugs
The test will tell you if each component is in good working condition and free from unwanted deposits and leaks.
Benefits of having a car diagnostics test
Having a car diagnostic test can save your mechanic a lot of time in finding the problem. This also means it will save you money because you won’t need to pay for a complete mechanical check.
When a “Check Engine” warning light appears on your dashboard, you should bear in mind that your engine is made up of hundreds of parts. Therefore it’s hard for you to tell exactly what’s causing the problem. But your mechanic can run a computerised diagnostic check to identify the root of the problem, and then he can fix only what needs to be fixed. Most diagnostic checks can be done in under an hour.
How often should you have a car diagnostic test?
You shouldn’t wait for the “Check Engine” warning light to come on to get a diagnostic test. If you hear or sense something’s not quite right, you can ask your mechanic to use diagnostic testing to investigate the problem. Most mechanics recommend you take your car in for a diagnostic check at least once a year, which will uncover minor problems that you might not have seen or heard.
Diagnostic testing is also a good idea before you purchase a used car. Any honest private seller or professional car dealer should be happy to agree to a diagnostic test before you seal the deal. If they don’t, that’s a pretty good sign you need to walk away.