Diagnostics ---The Dreaded Cost
February 15, 2015 / diagnostics
I realize that diagnostics is a thorn in everyone's side. No one seems to understand why auto repair shops charge for diagnostics. Customers sometimes seem to feel that they are being ripped off paying for these charges. The truth is that a correct diagnoses is the most important part of the repair.
Cars today have become so much more complicated with the advancing of technology in the vehicles. What some do not realize is that the modern cars are literally a computer on wheels. Gone are the days when a mechanic could just listen or take a quick look and determine what repair was needed. Complicated systems require complicated diagnostics performed by highly trained technicians using complicated diagnostic tools that are extremely expensive. I guess mechanics could just start changing part after part until they lucked into the fix. However, the customer pays for all these parts/labor that were not actually needed and it ends up costing the customer more than if a correct diagnosis would have been made in the first place. What originally causes the problem may or may not have been found. It can be compared to going to the doctor with a complaint and the doctor just starts removing parts without any tests like x-rays etc, hoping that he will eventually find the problem. YUCK!!! You want to make sure the correct problem is diagnosed and fixed.
Customers also don't realize that with the way some vehicles are made today the part causing the problem may just be a little $10 part that takes 15 minutes to replace. However, it could take the technician using diagnostic equipment several hours to track down the real issue in some of the modern cars. The diagnostic equipment, more often than not, does not pin point the exact problem, but rather just identifies the area of concern. As an example to help customers understand, the codes identified by the equipment tells the techs the right town, but then the technicians must determine which street, which house, which part of the house, and which stair tread is causing the problem. If the customer is only billed for the 15 minutes, the shop could not stay in business for long. Everyone has to be paid for their time. Consumers demand and want more technology, but a price comes with it.