Some Thorold drivers wonder why Hartzel Automotive & Marine and other Thorold auto repair shops charge a fee for diagnostic services.
Think about it: When you hire a local Thorold HVAC technician to check out a problem with your air conditioner you’ll probably pay a diagnostic fee. When you visit your Thorold doctor for a health problem, you pay the physician to diagnose the ailment and of course for the tests that go along with it.
So receiving a diagnostic charge at Hartzel Automotive & Marine for a tricky automotive problem shouldn’t be a surprise. In the Thorold area, automotive diagnostics can cover quite a range. If you hear a noise in your pickup brakes when you slow down in rush-hour traffic on a busy Ontario expressway, you pull off the next off-ramp and take a quick visual check. That is usually enough to know what needs to be done. If you’re having an intermittent problem with your pickup engine, however, Hartzel Automotive & Marine diagnosis may be much more involved.
Much of the Thorold car owners’s confusion comes when the problem involves the check engine light. The check engine light comes on when the engine management computer has sensed a problem.
There’s a common misconception among Thorold, Thorold, and Thorold drivers that the trouble code tells the Hartzel Automotive & Marine technician exactly what’s wrong. They wonder why there is a diagnostic charge - because the scanner quickly gave the diagnosis.
In reality, it is not that easy and straightforward. The computer monitors many sensors throughout the vehicle. When one of these sensors has a reading that’s out of parameters, the computer will record a trouble code and turn on the check engine light.
The pickup computer's trouble code just tells the Hartzel Automotive & Marine technician what engine parameter is out of range – not what’s causing it. The technician needs to determine the underlying problem that’s causing the malfunction.
There are many problems that could cause a troublesome sensor reading for Hartzel Automotive & Marine customers. The Hartzel Automotive & Marine service advisor makes a list of the most likely causes and begins tracking down the source of the problem. This takes time.
Thorold service centers subscribe to databases that document possible causes for all the possible trouble codes. The databases outline procedures for confirming a diagnosis and provide the documented repair. These vital databases are specific to each vehicle and engine combination.
Some diagnoses are quick and easy. Others are more involved, time-consuming, and difficult. Of course Hartzel Automotive & Marine wants to figure out what’s wrong with your pickup and get you back on the road as quickly as possible.
On Board Diagnostics For Your pickup
Posted on August 18,15 by napademo
Make an appointment with Hartzel Automotive & Marine to have your on board diagnostics analyzed. 96 Ormond St. S. Thorold, Ontario L2V 4V6 905.684.0050
Today we're going to talk about on-board diagnostics and the questions we hear from folks around Thorold Ontario 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 Thorold Ontario.
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 Thorold Ontario 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 Thorold Ontario 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 one 102 degrees. 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 Hartzel Automotive & Marine 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 Hartzel Automotive & Marine. If the light burns steady – don't panic. Get in to Hartzel Automotive & Marine 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.
Questions To Ask Your Thorold Service Advisor
Posted on March 19,15 by napademo
We find that a lot of Thorold service and repair at Hartzel Automotive & Marine are a little tentative when they talk with their automotive advisors. They want to ask questions, but don't want to be embarrassed or to seem pushy. Cars are very complicated and there's more to know about them than most of us have the time to learn. Maybe it's because cars have become so much more reliable that the average person just doesn't need to know as much to keep their vehicle on the road.
You know, your local hospital has a Patient's Bill of Rights that they post throughout the hospital. We think our Thorold automotive service customers also have a right to ask any question they need to understand what is wrong with their car and what it will take to fix it. They need to feel free to ask the cost and benefits of recommended services. And they certainly have a right to understand the financial end of the transaction.
It's all about the communication. It's a little harder when you're trying to find the right service center in Thorold. But once you've developed a relationship, the communication should come easier.
What are some of the barriers to communication? Well, let's go back to the medical example. When your doctor's explaining something to you, it's something that she understands very well and is very familiar with. So she may use jargon you don't understand or that you don't have the education and training that's foundational to understanding what she's trying to explain.
So you fall behind and get frustrated.
It can be the same with your Thorold automotive service advisors. Most of them are very busy trying to service and fix cars to get their customers back on the road. So, just ask when you feel you need more information.
Financial related issues seem to be most frustrating to customers. If you're not sure, ask what the payment policies are. For example, there's a big difference between giving your car a quick once over and doing a thorough inspection. Diagnosing a problem may take quite a while. Make sure you know what's done as a courtesy and what has a fee. Remember, you still have to pay for the office visit even if the doctor says you only have a cold.
Communication is a two way street. If you have some real budget concerns, ask your Thorold service advisor what he can do. He can give you priorities and options. He can tell you what needs to be taken care of right away for safety or financial reasons. Then you can work out a plan for when to get the rest done. He can also help you with options on the parts. The preference is to always use a high-quality part with a reputation for reliability. But if money is real tight, he might be able to find a rebuilt part or a used part. He should tell you the difference in the guarantee for the part so you can make a good decision.
Ask about warranties for parts and labor. Be sure to get all the paperwork you need to make a possible claim in the future. Your service center and its technicians stand behind their work and want you to understand precisely what that means.
Be sure to ask for and keep a detailed explanation of all the work that's done on your vehicle. These records will help you keep track of service, warranties and document the good care your vehicle has received when the time comes to sell it.