Cars run on computers that help with navigation, ease of entertainment operations, and internal environment control. Running on the same technology as your computer at home, your onboard car computer is preloaded with various applications that help make your relationship with your car more user-friendly. 

That computer system has service features as well. The onboard system monitors how the other systems are functioning, which allows vehicle repair technicians to get a readout on how the car is performing—a diagnostic test.

What is a vehicle diagnostic test?

Vehicle onboard computer systems, at a minimum, will monitor the car whenever you turn it on, checking the engine’s health, the transmission system, the oil tank’s level, and much more. The computer compiles and retains this information and creates data reports that can be downloaded and analyzed. This process is called a car diagnostic test.

Though you can run car diagnostics at home, most tests need specific equipment and the knowledge to understand the printed data. The data may tell the technician the system has a problem, but it doesn’t tell them why. 

Many car owners wait until a warning light comes on. Still, a diagnostic test should be run as part of a regular car service and is often run at the beginning of a maintenance session to “take the temperature” of the vehicle. The diagnostic test takes a few minutes, but if the data suggests a severe problem, a complete diagnosis of the reason behind the data might take some time. Many service technicians will run a diagnostic test after performing maintenance, as well, to check to see if the work has fixed the problem.

Why you need to run a car diagnostic test

A car diagnostic test is similar to going to the doctor once a year to check your health. Because the diagnostic test checks on systems critical to the safety of your vehicle, these tests should be taken regularly. A diagnostic test will catch problems with your brakes (responsiveness and wear), exhaust system issues (contamination or faults), problems with key individual components or significant components such as the ignition, throttle, or fuel injection system, or issues with your car’s transmission.

Keeping these systems working correctly can improve fuel efficiency, which means you’ll save money at the gas pump, and those savings can add up over time. A car in good condition means the driver experiences an improvement in the performance and feel of the vehicle, making it more pleasant to drive. Finally, a fully maintained car is less likely to break down, which is a pain at best and could cause an accident in the worst scenario. Catching these issues when they’re small also saves on large repair bills later or before a system breaks down on the road.

Full diagnostic test results

A full diagnostic test will tell you a lot about your vehicle, including when it needs its next tune-up and the history of engine tune-ups and repairs. 

  • Oil and filter changes
  • Computerized diagnostics
  • Brake service and repair
  • Factory scheduled preventative maintenance
  • Steering and suspension
  • Engine tune-ups and repairs
  • Heating and cooling service
  • Transmission repair
  • Exhaust system repair
  • Tire and wheel alignment
  • Custom vehicle accessories

A trained mechanic can sift through this data to get a complete picture of how your car is running and, if there is a problem, will know what to do about it.

How Simplicity Car Care does diagnostics

We know cars inside and out. Our team is there to provide regular, reliable car diagnosis giving you the peace of mind that you’re driving a vehicle in top-notch condition and running at the manufacturer’s recommended specifications. 

Making sure your car is safe and running at top efficiency is part of the responsibilities of owning a vehicle. The cost of a diagnostic test is reasonable, giving you peace of mind knowing that your passengers are safe. Contact Simplicity Car Care today to schedule a diagnostic test of your vehicle.