Check Engine Light Diagnosis and Performance Diagnostics
The first step in diagnosing a vehicle performance problem is understanding where the problem is originating. Often, an indicator light is your first clue about what might be wrong. Colony One Auto knows how to handle diagnostic issues, with or without indicator lights.
Warning Lights and Diagnostic Services
When there is a problem with your engine, a warning light will go off on your dashboard. Sometimes it blinks on and off; sometimes it stays on. There are several warning lights, but the most common is the malfunction indicator light, also known as the check engine light.
Today’s vehicles are manufactured with complex, interrelated systems. On-board computers continuously monitor and store information concerning the performance of these systems. A warning light comes on because the computer has sensed a signal from one of the systems or components that has gone outside of its normal operating range. The computer then sends a signal to turn on the light to let you know something with your vehicle is not performing properly.
Causes for a warning light or check engine light range from not properly tightening your gas cap to engine malfunction to braking system performance issues. If the malfunction indicator light is illuminated on the dash, you must decide if you should bring the car in immediately or wait until a convenient time. To determine how soon you should bring your vehicle in, consider:
- Are any of your gauges indicating a malfunction as well?
- Can you feel any symptoms such as a rough idle, lack of power, sputtering or cutting out while driving?
If you answer yes to either of those questions, then your issue is performance-related and you should stop somewhere safe and seek immediate attention. If this happens, you can call Colony One Auto to tow your car to the shop so we can get to work on repairing it.
If an indicator light is on and there are no other symptoms then, in most cases, it’s safe to drive until you can conveniently get the car to the repair shop.
At Colony One Auto Center, we have the tools, training and technology to handle any diagnostic issues. Properly performing a complete diagnostic procedure normally includes the following steps:
Retrieving the Data
A full-functioning scan tool is used to perform an onboard computer system analysis in order to retrieve:
- Computer codes
- Freeze frame data
- Computer software version numbers
- Critical sensor data and status information
Verification tests determine if systems meet proper specifications. These tests may include an analysis of:
- Engine vacuum and backpressure
- Mechanical and electrical engine timing
- Ignition system
- Fuel system
- Emissions system
All manufacturers require that circuit or component pinpoint testing is done in order to make an absolute diagnostic determination. These actions involve:
- Working through wiring diagrams
- Performing electrical and/or mechanical tests
- Performing bi-directional control tests
- Visual inspections of suspect areas
Research Technical Bulletin
Technical service bulletins and hotline information will indicate if the problem has been determined to be a pattern failure, meaning that it is a known issue that occurs with a particular type of vehicle. This does not eliminate the need for testing, as other systems must meet specifications before a service bulletin procedure should be performed.
This may involve multiple actions such as:
- Parts replacement
- Cleaning of passages, connections and/or components
- Performing manufacturer technical service bulletin updates
- Updating of vehicle’s computer software
- Wiring repair or replacement
All of the parts we install are guaranteed to meet or exceed manufacturer standards, and if you wish, we’ll return all of your old parts to you. If you have a diagnostic problem that needs immediate attention, contact Colony One Auto today.