How Much To Diagnose My Car Problem?

First, let’s remember why we diagnose...

It's so we can prove out the problem and give an accurate repair estimate, nothing more.

**Diagnosis and testing to isolate specific failure points on most vehicle problems, range from $100 to $200 per fault, per symptom, per system, for hard faults**

Pin-point diagnosis and analysis of a fluid leak, exhaust noise, air conditioning is warm, a vibration on freeway, why a power window is stuck, a transmission is not shifting right, or why the car won't start can take some time. Diagnosis of the car, is not about a magical box you plug into the car, and it tells you everything wrong with it... The auto mechanic IS the magical box... Also, diagnosis is not about guessing a fix based on symptoms or a code pull alone, or using a common failure database, whether in the mechanic's memory or web-based database... It's the same as going to a doctor, dentist or veterinarian. They wouldn't just start operating and replacing stuff on you or your pet, with guess work. First they ask you the symptoms, then do a basic inspection, then based on the symptoms and basic inspection, they do specific testing to isolate the specific failure. Also they go after the most obvious or critical problem at hand first. If there is many problems that have been ignored for some time or the vehicle is a recent purchase... This can take more working through it...

** Per fault, Per symptom, Per system (Meaning, a failed power window has nothing to do with a transmission acting up and are considered separate systems and types of diagnostic routines, testing and pinpoint analysis). Unless they do happen to have overlap from a common connection of either, fluid, electrical or fastener. Usually, multiple diagnostic routines are needed when a car is recently purchased with unknown history, or has neglected failures that have cascaded into multiple symptoms. (check engine light on for months or years)

** Hard Fault (Meaning, the problem is always present, or VERY easy for the mechanic to duplicate the concern or symptoms, as it happens at a predictable, consistent, run time, speed, load or heat cycle).

** Intermittent (Meaning, maybe symptoms happen a couple times a day, a week, a month, or longer). This is a complete different diagnosis strategy and can be very hard to isolate with budget restraints on testing time. "Usually", only electrical flow problems are intermittent in nature. Many times, intermittent problems get guess work from the demand to prove out the failure by all parties involved.  With not enough time paid to the shop or mechanic. One can easily 'over repair' the car w/o fixing it. Again, it's usually caused by budget and time restraints placed on the mechanic because of expectation’s that it’s a simple problem for the professional and their "magic diagnostic box' that has all the answers... I can assure you, there is NO such magic super diagnostic box... No really, there is not... It's just a human, that interprets the data across the screen of the diagnostic box and has to make sense of it, logically. Are we clear about the super diagnostic machine yet? Just kidding, but again, there is no such a machine :)

Please read if you want more understanding of a diagnosis or estimate.