Diagnostic procedures on modern vehicles, particularly those that involve electronic systems, can throw home mechanics for a loop. Working on your own vehicle is a point of satisfaction for gearheads everywhere. However, many modern technologies require a lot more than wrenches and screwdrivers to repair.
Check out these three car diagnostic issues that are likely to send you out of your own driveway and into the garage of a professional technician.
Hybrids present some definite car diagnostic challenges for two specific reasons. First, the electric propulsion systems and batteries in these vehicles operate at very high voltages. Working with this type of electrical power is dangerous and requires special training that’s not easy to get outside of a dealership. Then there’s the question of the computer controls that handle the complex balance between the gasoline engine and the electric motor(s), and how they regulate both propulsion and charging during driving. The equipment required to interface with these systems is typically beyond the financial reach of any one individual.
Tight Spaces, Strange Places
With so much technology stuffed under the hood of cars today, it’s not always easy to access parts that must be changed or repaired. In fact, some car diagnostic issues, such as inspecting timing belts or spark plugs, may require extensive disassembly and even removing the engine from its mounts to get at the necessary components. This isn’t something you want to tackle at home, unless you’ve got unlimited time and a flatbed car carrier to take your vehicle to a shop should something go wrong.
If you your car is less than 20 years old, chances are it’s equipped with a wide variety of electronic sensors. Not just in the engine bay, either — sensors may be used to measure wheel speed, body yaw, internal cabin temperature, exhaust gas composition and dozens other vehicle parameters. Trying to diagnose problems that are sensor-based requires proper training and expensive equipment. If you are unable to track down a problem that involves an electronic control system and its sensors, a visit to a professional repair facility is in order.
Simply put: No one looks forward to taking their car in for repair, but sometimes it’s necessary.
Photo courtesy of Morguefile.
Source: NAPA Know How