Internet Diagnosis

As vehicles get more complicated, the diagnosis of problems is as always, very challenging. It has always been challenging but new twists and more advanced multiplexing and technology adds to the complexity. Somewhere, in the world of diagnosis, some customers don’t think that the perceived valve of diagnosis is worth the money. Throw in the fear of unknown and trust into this equation, it get some customers looking elsewhere for answers.

The results most times are questionable.

Our shops, as some in the automotive business, spend weekends and evening in classes to learn about the new technology. In these specialty classes, just learning how to use new scanner and all the capabilities is time consuming. In the past two weeks, four of techs spent Saturday and Sunday in classes. Newer vehicles are the most complex object that most people own.

We had a customer bring in his European import with a check engine light on and running poorly. We scanned it (hooking up a specialty scan tool) and found a P0301 code, misfire #1 cylinder. We called asking for diagnosis time to find out why. He called back and said he just wanted us to replace the fuel injector in the cylinder, saying that he had read it on the internet. Very seldom do we find an fuel injector causing this problem but he said he was willing to take the risk. $245 later and a new injector, the vehicle still had the same problem. We were then given the permission to diagnosis, turned out to be two bad spark plug wires to that cylinder. Yes, this vehicle has two spark plugs per cylinder. He was very understanding. No, we didn’t take out the injector because by that time it was used.

We had another customer request that we put a clutch switch in a Japanese import because the starter didn’t crank over on occasion even though we have never have replaced a clutch switch on the kind of car. It didn’t fix the problem.

Hammer in Engine

This problem of self diagnosis also is a problem in the medical field I have been told. I must add in, there is very valuable information on the web, we use pay sites, $105 per month, that give us direction. I repaired my motor home refrigerator from information in a blog about the problem I was having. My advice is to trust the professional who is working on your vehicle; most times it will save time, money and aggregation.

- George Rode

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