This is becoming more and more challenging, simply because automotive technology evolves almost as fast as Computers and the Internet. Some of the systems and components didn’t even exist just a few years ago. Knowledge of computers and computer-controlled systems is required today even in doing tires, brakes, exhausts, suspensions, etc. — areas that traditionally required low-skilled labor. Various car electronics work together and often rely on each other — a failed radio may set off your “Check Engine” indicator light, interfere in engine management, and fail your car on emissions.
While it is great to have a friendly neighborhood mechanic or a shop around-the-corner, please keep in mind that their knowledge of modern cars may be somewhat old and outdated. Properly maintained cars last longer, much longer…
But what about scanners and diagnostic computers? Aren’t they supposed to pinpoint car problems?
Sorry, but the answer is NO!!! While scanner is a very useful tool in the hands of a knowledgeable technician, it is, unfortunately, often misrepresented and used as an aid in selling parts. Scanner is a TOOL that allows us to access car’s computer memory and assist in performing some electronic tests. It has no intelligence to diagnose car problems on its own. It’s like a hammer in home construction — a most useful tool but what can it do on its own?
Modern diagnostics involves collection, research, analysis, sorting and recording of data. All of this is paramount to a proper and efficient car repair today. Government regulations and severe competition force car manufacturers to race forward with new technologies. Thousands of automotive engineers design new systems and components everyday. Still, not all of these technologies are proven and/or reliable. It has already become a major challenge to separate symptoms from the underlying problem. Intermittent problems don’t even have symptoms! Replacing parts without proper diagnostics is the most expensive and wasteful approach to solving a car problem today.
Our diagnostic approach involves obtaining complete and reliable information, employing state-of-the art testing equipment, and, most importantly, applying our education and expertise.
Our diagnostics are superior to most of the shops in the area. It often takes more time to do the proper diagnostics than what is reflected in your invoice. This is our contribution to our respected customers as well as to the quality and reputation of our business. Please be considerate and refrain from using our diagnostics for the benefit of the competition.
Standard Plus automotive consulting service – Standard Plus has full-time experts and a large technical library to assist its members in troubleshooting automotive problems.
Alldata – an Internet-based database which is updated every day. It contains diagnostic, repair, maintenance, and estimating data on almost any car and model sold in the US since 1982. It also contains Technical Service Bulletins and Factory Recalls issued by car manufacturers.
iATN – International Automotive Technicians Network – The International Automotive Technicians’ Network (iATN.net) is a group of 75,203 licensed and experienced automotive technicians from 158 countries. The automotive professionals of this group exchange technical knowledge and information with other members from around the globe, sharing 1.7 million years of experience! (January, 2012).
Effective diagnostics require quality diagnostic equipment. Every system or component in the car must be tested (when possible) to pinpoint the source of malfunction. The following is just a partial list of the equipment we own and use:
State-of-the-art computer scanners (Euro, Asian, Domestic)
- Lab and digital oscilloscopes
- Sensor simulators
- Frequency generators
- Specialty multi-testers for the isolation of electrical and electronic problems.
- Computerized engine analyzer to check performance of an engine and its electrical components as well as engine emissions.
- Refrigerant leak testers and a refrigerant identifier to work on the A/C systems.
- Computerized wheel alignment machine.
- Optical headlight adjustment system.
- Various pressure and vacuum testers, measuring systems, load analyzers and leak detectors.
- Smoke generator/leak finder.
- And many, many more …