Last month we did an article about companies that offer free scans of your vehicle to let you know why your engine light is on. I wanted to continue on that conversation, so you get good understanding on the difference between the tools the Auto parts stores
Now all of you are aware that Auto parts stores are well known for doing free check engine light diagnostics. It is so simple to go into the store and ask someone behind the counter to scan your vehicle. They will use a simple OBDII fault code reader and will provide you with a print out listing of the OBDII trouble code(s) definition, an explanation of the potential problem, and probable causes and test routines to pinpoint the problem.
Keep in mind, this is all done from a simple OBDII fault code reader and is not comprehensive!
Often times “non” OBDII systems can cause check engine lights to illuminate and most simple fault code readers will not display those codes.
This is only meant to give you an idea of what the problem may be and will help you narrow down the troubleshooting process.
Now remember that auto parts stores are in the business of selling parts, not repairing cars, and while many of their staff may be knowledgeable, they may not diagnose the problem correctly on the first try or even be able to at all with just an OBDII scan tool.
OBDII or “On Board Diagnostics, second generation” It is mandated by the US EPA for vehicles sold in the USA to monitor exhaust emissions that cause pollutants and DO NOT monitor every function on the vehicle. For this reason those free “checks” can turn into spending money on parts that will not fix your problem or turn off the “Check Engine” light.
Professional hand-held scan tools (which cost $1000’s of dollars) possess advanced functions and have the ability to retrieve all of the manufacturer specific fault codes as well as the OBDII codes. They also give the ability to monitor in real-time the engine parameters to facilitate diagnostic testing. With professional scan tools we can also access and control other modules and control units, such as air bag, transmission, body control or ABS.
Silverdale Autoworks has invested in several professional vehicle specific scan tools and information systems for their ASE Certified technicians to test and resolve your problems quickly and accurately, ultimately saving you time, money and stress.