Check Engine Light
“Why Should I Pay For Diagnostics?”
So I get a call from a prospective client this afternoon, “How Much to Replace An Oxygen Sensor?”
Good Question? Yes, but is it the correct question?
I proceeded to ask, “Why do you want to replace your oxygen sensor?”
Client responded “I got a code for it.” Here is where the problem begins.
Do we go into a Doctor’s office & demand procedures or prescriptions? Do we tell the dentist to extract a tooth? The answer should be NO. But if it is YES, the first thing any doctor would say is, what’s the problem, let’s run some tests. The same thinking applies to your car & Check Engine Lights.
A code may come up for an oxygen sensor, but that may not be the issue. Before we start throwing parts at a car let’s do our due diligence & diagnose the problem. First of all there are multiple oxygen sensor on modern cars, 2 to 4 on most cars. Which one picked up the code? There are Multiple codes for each sensor; heater circuit, Mixture too lean, Mixture too rich, Short to positive, Short to ground….. There may be an internal problem with oxygen sensor, but most of the time there are other issues. This is where a diagnostic flow chart comes into play. We need to check where to problem lies.
Diagnostics of check engine lights includes tests like; pin out tests, fuel pressure test, scoping sensors, reading live data, smoke tests (forcing smoke into intake systems to check for air leaks), other codes that might be related to the problem, Technical Service Bulletins related to the code, & most important, putting eyes on the vehicle. We have even found rodents building nests in cars & chewing through key components including fuel tanks.
Most of the time the problem is not the component but an external issue (air leaks, broken wires, bad or dirty connections, blown fuses). Replacing the oxygen sensor will not solve the problem in these instances. The same codes will return & money was spent on “Not Fixing The Problem”.
This applies to all codes. We believe in diagnosing & verifying the problem first before we start replacing parts, especially expensive parts. Most of the time we find it’s the simple things that cause the biggest problem. So the best way to save money is let the professionals do their work. Let us figure out what is the root of the problem. Fix that instead of replacing something that you may not need. Because the most expensive part on your car is the part you didn’t need.
So, “Why Should You Pay For Diagnostics?”
Because, It Could Cost More You If You Don’t.