What is a Diagnostic Service?

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As the name suggests, a diagnostic service is when an automotive repair technician diagnoses an issue with a vehicle that needs repair.  Like going to the doctor, often times customers come in and don't know precisely what is wrong with their vehicle, but they are able to describe the "symptoms" of disrepair that they have witnessed or experienced.  These so-called "symptoms" can include:

  • Illuminated Dashboard Indicator Light: There are numerous dashboard indicator lights in use by various automobile manufacturers, but some of the most important universal symbols include the Check Engine Warning Light, Oil Pressure Warning Light, Anti-Lock Braking System (ABS) Warning Light, Engine Temperature Warning Light, and Tire Pressure Warning Light.  If one of the indicator lights is solidly illuminated in a yellow, orange, or red color, it generally means to seek service soon, whereas a flashing symbol is an indication that you should seek immediate service.  In the event that you have an illuminated dashboard indicator light, you can refer to the owner's manual to determine what the symbol represents, or you can go to your local automotive repair shop and request a Dashboard Warning Light Diagnostic service.
  • Unusual Smells/Sounds: If your vehicle smells like gas, something burning, or some other unpleasant scent, it is likely and indication that something is wrong with your vehicle that needs to be repaired.  Additionally, any grinding, growling, or screeching noises are often a sign that your vehicle is in need of service.
  • A/C Blowing Hot/Heater Blowing Cold:  These symptoms quite obviously indicate that the air conditioning or heating system are not performing properly, however, both of these systems are comprised of numerous working parts, so in order to resolve the issue, the root cause must first be found. Performing an Air Conditioning System Diagnostic or Heating System Diagnostic can be difficult for untrained individuals, which is why we recommend having your vehicle inspected by a trained automotive repair technician.
  • Puddles Forming Beneath Vehicle: Puddles forming beneath your vehicle while parked is indicative of a fluid leak, and based on the color of the fluid you may be able to determine which fluid is leaking.  However, fluids can leak from a variety of parts in a variety of systems, so it is imperative to have a professional find the source of the leak and repair it.

When it comes to engine-related concerns, which are often the most consequential and lead to the most costly repairs if not addressed immediately, the good news is that vehicles produced in the last 25 years come with On-Board Diagnostic (OBD) Systems.  These systems allow mechanics to perform an Engine Diagnostic service to quickly and accurately discern engine related problems through the use of a specialized tool that reads any malfunctions identified by the OBD system.

Other than engine diagnostics, the other major category of diagnostic services relates to diagnosing electrical issues within a vehicle. While there are tools to assist with this process, electrical diagnostics often require a highly skilled and well-trained repair technician.  At Wilton Auto and Tire Center, we are fortunate to have an automotive repair technician who specializes in diagnosing and repairing electrical issues, and who is committed to continual training to stay up-to-date in his field of specialty.

Rest assured that if you are in need of a diagnostic service, we have the right team and tools to address and repair any vehicle related concerns.

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Written by Wilton Auto and Tire Center