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On Board Diagnostics for Your Engine

Posted August 1, 2021 11:18 AM

Starting in 1996, Lakeside Certified Auto service technicians have been able to use a standardized diagnostic system to help determine what is wrong with a vehicle. This diagnostic system works in tandem with the Engine Control Modules for each vehicle's engine. The Engine Control Module is a computer that monitors and controls many engine functions.

Sensors throughout a vehicle send readings to the Engine Control Module. These readings help the computer make adjustments in various vehicle systems to allow for constantly changing driving conditions and even to compensate for minor problems. However, if the computer encounters a situation it can't adjust for, it turns on the Check Engine light. (The Check Engine light is called the “service engine soon” light on some vehicles.)

If the Check Engine light is burning steadily, it indicates a problem that needs to be taken care of soon. If it is flashing, however, the vehicle needs immediate attention at Lakeside Certified Auto. When the Check Engine light is flashing, the vehicle should not be driven at high speeds, haul heavy loads or tow a trailer. Willoughby drivers need to understand that doing so can cause major damage.

When a vehicle is brought to Lakeside Certified Auto in Willoughby because the Check Engine light is on, a technician will scan the Engine Control Module to learn why it turned the light on. The answer comes as a “trouble code.” The technician has access to software that allows him to enter the code and find out what it means. The software will also let your Lakeside Certified Auto technician know what might be causing the problem and how to diagnose it.

Notice that the trouble code does not tell your technician at Lakeside Certified Auto exactly what is wrong with the vehicle. It can only let him know where to start looking to find the problem.

Scanning a trouble code and determining what it means is fairly simple for the pros at Lakeside Certified Auto. But the ensuing process of actually diagnosing a vehicle's trouble can take a skilled technician some time. Sometimes this can add up to a significant repair bill. Some vehicle owners mistakenly believe  that the “trouble code” is all they need and think they can then fix their vehicles themselves. Some have tried to save money by purchasing an inexpensive scanner, or they take their vehicles to an auto parts store that offers the scan for little or no cost.

These options are often not the money-savers they seem for Willoughby vehicle owners. They can end up costing the vehicle owner extra in unnecessary repairs and engine damage.

For example, the trouble code P0133 reads “Bank 1 sensor 1 circuit slow response.” Translated, that means the front oxygen sensor shows a slow response time in changing the mix of air to fuel. The seemingly obvious conclusion is that the sensor needs to be replaced. The vehicle owner purchases a sensor, installs it and happily goes on his way.

However, read the trouble again: a slow response time in changing the mix of air to fuel. Nowhere does this indicate that the sensor is bad. There are a lot of parts involved in changing the air-fuel mix, any of which could be causing a slow reaction time. Those include a bad or contaminated airflow sensor, an exhaust leak, a problem in the electrical system or a leak in the intake manifold. The sensor is merely relaying that the response time is slow; it doesn't indicate where the trouble is.

So the vehicle ends up with an oxygen sensor it did not need, and the delay in repairing the actual problem may have led to further damage to the engine. Both are added costs for the vehicle owner.

Cheap scanners also don't have the ability to read the history stored in an engine's computer. This operating history contains clues that can help in diagnosing engine trouble since it can indicate a developing problem. Lakeside Certified Auto invests a lot of money in high-end diagnostic equipment so that we have access not just to service codes but also to the operating history of the engine.

On-board diagnostics, then, are a tool to help diagnose what is wrong with a vehicle. They cannot specify what part needs to be fixed or replaced, and they cannot replace a well-trained and well-equipped service technician.

Unless you are a trained mechanic, it's good auto advice to use Lakeside Certified Auto for your car care. In the long run, it can save you time, unnecessary expense and frustration. Lakeside Certified Auto can also help you keep up with your scheduled preventive maintenance, which can also save you on repair bills by alerting you to potential problems before they get expensive.

Lakeside Certified Auto
38525 Lakeshore Blvd
Willoughby, OH 44094
(440) 946-0076
http://www.lakesidecertifiedauto.com



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What People Say About Us

  • reviewicon
    , 03/05/2024

    Good honest folks! Very pleasant and very informative and VERY helpful!

  • reviewicon
    , 01/07/2024

    Awesome shop. Had work done on my 2016 KIA a few times and the work was exemplary and the cost was reasonable. I highly recommend!

  • reviewiconTires, near Willoughby, OH
    , 12/11/2023

    Great service! Very conscientious and highly communicative with car owner. Had tires replace at 71K miles. Tech called about needing rear brakes and rotors. Provided cost and I immediately approved. Picked up SUV a little later. These are great technicians and very honest. I highly recommend and will be back.

  • reviewiconTires, near Willoughby, OH
    , 12/13/2023

    I been having my car worked on there for quite a few years now. My son's child hood friend work there. He a 5 star mechanic. The business there is top notch. The price is very good. I come all the way from the Westside of Cleveland to Willoughby Ohio because it's hard to find a good mechanic shop.

  • reviewicon
    , 11/30/2023

    This was my first visit to this neighborhood business and we were very impressed. They checked my concerns, found nothing wrong, and we weren't charged. What I needed would have required a fair amount of time and effort ... no charge! We will definitely return for any service needs for our 2 cars. Thank you Lakeside Auto.

  • reviewicon
    , 11/18/2023

    Used to live nearby, moved 30 miles east and still make the trip because of fair prices and honest service I trust.

Call us for service: 440-946-0076

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