Sully’s Auto Repair

Providing Huntington Beach car owners with quality automotive services and repairs since 2003

Sully’s Auto Repair - Providing Huntington Beach car owners with quality automotive services and repairs since 2003

On Board Diagnostics For Huntington Beach Motorists

Some Huntington Beach auto owners wonder why Sully’s Auto Repair and other Huntington Beach auto repair shops charge a fee for diagnostic services.

Think about it: When you hire a local Buena Park HVAC technician to check out a problem with your air conditioner you’ll probably pay a diagnostic fee. When you visit your La Palma doctor for a health problem, you pay the physician to diagnose the ailment and of course for the tests that go along with it.

On Board Diagnostics For Huntington Beach Motorists

So receiving a diagnostic charge at Sully’s Auto Repair for a tricky automotive problem shouldn’t be a surprise. In the Buena Park area, automotive diagnostics can cover quite a range. If you hear a noise in your SUV brakes when you slow down in rush-hour traffic on a busy CA interstate, you pull off the next off-ramp and take a quick visual check. That is usually enough to know what needs to be done. If you’re having an intermittent problem with your SUV engine, however, Sully’s Auto Repair diagnosis may be much more involved.

Much of the Buena Park auto owners’s confusion comes when the problem involves the check engine light. The check engine light comes on when the engine management computer has sensed a problem.

There’s a common misconception among La Palma, Cypress, and Stanton drivers that the trouble code tells the Sully’s Auto Repair technician exactly what’s wrong. They wonder why there is a diagnostic charge – because the scanner quickly gave the diagnosis.

In reality, it is not that easy and straightforward. The computer monitors many sensors throughout the vehicle. When one of these sensors has a reading that’s out of parameters, the computer will record a trouble code and turn on the check engine light.

The SUV computer’s trouble code just tells the Sully’s Auto Repair technician what engine parameter is out of range – not what’s causing it. The technician needs to determine the underlying problem that’s causing the malfunction.

There are many problems that could cause a troublesome sensor reading for Sully’s Auto Repair customers. The Sully’s Auto Repair service advisor makes a list of the most likely causes and begins tracking down the source of the problem. This takes time.

Buena Park service centers subscribe to databases that document possible causes for all the possible trouble codes. The databases outline procedures for confirming a diagnosis and provide the documented repair. These vital databases are specific to each vehicle and engine combination.

Some diagnoses are quick and easy. Others are more involved, time-consuming, and difficult. Of course Sully’s Auto Repair wants to figure out what’s wrong with your SUV and get you back on the road as quickly as possible.

Ethics of Automotive Repair in Huntington Beach

We’re going to be talking about the ethics of automotive repair. It seems like news outlets really like hit-and-run reporting; they hit everyone from groceries stores to retail to physicians. And the Huntington Beach automotive service and repair industry hasn’t been given a pass either.

Unfortunately, every profession in Huntington Beach has some bad actors that hurt the reputation of everyone else. On the automotive side, industry associations and professional licensing organizations are very committed to high ethical standards.

Yet some people remain uncomfortable with Huntington Beach automotive service and repair. It may start with the fact that our vehicles are a big investment and we rely on them for so much in our lives. That alone guarantees our attention. And how well we understand the recommendations really impacts our comfort level.

If we understand what’s recommended and the benefits of taking care of the work – and the pitfalls of putting it off – we’ll have more trust in the recommendation. So communication is key. It’s like going to the doctor; If she’s using medical jargon and takes a lot of basic medical knowledge for granted, we have a hard time following her train of thought. It can be like that with your Huntington Beach service advisor too. He’s so familiar with all things automotive, he may forget you don’t know a PCV from an EGT.

If you don’t understand what your doctor’s talking about: ask some questions. If you don’t understand what your Huntington Beach automotive advisor’s talking about: ask some questions.

Let’s go back to those ethical standards; when we hear a repair recommendation, we always ask ourselves, “Is this really necessary?” Well, here’s the industry standard:

If a technician tells you that a repair or replacement is required it must meet the following criteria:

  1. The part no longer performs its intended purpose
  2. The part does not meet a design specification
  3. The part is missing

For example, it you take your car in for a grinding noise when you step on the brakes, you may just think you need new brake pads. After the inspection, the technician at Sully’s Auto Repair says that you have a cracked rotor and need to replace it.

If you tried to get him to simply put new pads on, he would say that if you didn’t want to replace the rotor; Sully’s Auto Repair would ethically have to refuse the repair.

To just put pads on a cracked rotor would have been very wrong. The brakes could’ve failed at anytime and needed to be repaired – not just have a band-aid slapped on them.

Now, looking at something not so serious, the technician may suggest repair or replacement if:

  1. The part is close to the end of its useful life – just above discard specifications or likely to fail soon
  2. To address a customer need or request – like for better ride or increased performance
  3. To comply with maintenance recommended by the vehicle’s manufacturer
  4. Based on the technician’s informed experience

Of course, the technician has the burden of making ethical recommendations and properly educating their customers. For the customer, if you are uncomfortable with a recommendation, ask some questions. More information is always a good thing.