In the early 1980’s most vehicles came off the assembly line with at least 1 on-board computer. By 1996, that number was averaging between 8-12. And in 2015 the number jumped to 30 or more.
You might wonder just what the term automotive diagnostics means. An easy explanation is “the capability of on-board computers to monitor and evaluate various systems responsible for smooth, fuel efficient, safe, and comfortable operation of a vehicle.”
The computers that do this monitoring and evaluation continuously check and recheck the specific automotive system for which they are responsible. They are programed by the manufacturer to identify that the system and its components operate within a specific set of parameters or tolerances. When the system falls outside these guidelines, a fault is determined and a code identifying the problem is set and stored in another computer where it can be accessed and interpreted by a qualified technician.
Another function of automotive diagnostics is to alert the driver of a problem that has been identified. This happens when warning lights or messages are turned on. Most often, these messages appear on the vehicle dash. Below you’ll find a list of the major systems monitored on most vehicles:
- Power steering
- Fuel injection
- Anti-lock brakes
- Air conditioning
- Cooling systems
With some automotive systems, no warning is issued since they are usually not directly involved with the vehicle’s driveability. These systems operate more for convenience or comfort, such as seat heaters, accessories like phones, DVD players, electronic suspension, anti-theft security, air bags, and anti-collision.
In some cases, the driver may not even be aware that the system or component has stopped working. With these minor systems, diagnostics detect a fault and then send a code to be stored for a technician to access the next time the vehicle comes into the shop. These codes tell the repair professional which problem or failure to verify and then repair options are discussed with the vehicle owner.
When you see warning light on your dash, your vehicle’s automotive diagnostics are doing their job. Whether the warning displays intermittently or stays on, it’s telling you something needs to be checked before a small problem becomes a big one.
At Dale’s Auto Care, we’ve been serving the community for over 49 years at our Boise auto repair location. Give us a call to schedule an appointment or visit our online appointment page to request service for your vehicle. Let us be your one-stop automotive repair and maintenance facility.
Advantages of auto repair service at Dale’s Auto Care:
- Napa AutoCare Center
- Customer Satisfaction Guaranteed
- Over 470 SureCritic Customer Reviews
- ASE Certified Technicians and Mechanics
- 24 month / 24,000 Mile National Warranty
- Accepted by Most Extended Warranty Providers
- Conveniently Located in Boise Near the Airport